Traditionally, the real estate industry was always characterized in people’s minds as resisting any sort of innovation. This however is a thing of the past, as two developments altered the industry to irreversible effect: firstly, the bursting of the housing bubble in late 2007, toppling the belief that real estate could never lose its value; secondly, the transformation of consumer habits and expectations within the sector, that we have already tackled in a previous post.
These two factors together have finally driven the property sector to ditch its traditional passivity, bringing more value to its assets and operations beyond mere continuous revaluation.
In this post, we review the five sources of innovation that have already established a new competitive advantage for a sector that is finally launching its own technological revolution.
This post is also available in Spanish.
Looking to the future: trends in the construction sector
1. Smarter use of data
Real estate is a market with a system for fixing prices increasingly dynamic, subject to constant market fluctuations and which also distribute its offers among several portals and platforms aimed at very different audiences.
Until only recently, real estate firms have tended not to use analytics, but by now doing so, they are able to get a much clearer picture of the market from the huge volume of data they handle.
This increased data use is also widespread in sales: agencies, for example, are able to know the elasticity of demand or anticipate consumer reaction to price-swings by analyzing data, and in the case of the construction industry, an analytical approach to a particular space’s history offers clues as to how to carry out an attractive refurbishment for potential buyers.
2. 3D printing
3D printing seems destined to be the real estate sector’s most disruptive technology in the coming years, principally because it has already been used to print walls, bricks and even insulating materials.
Such an unusual process is advantageous as it leads to savings at unprecedented rates, as demonstrated by several pilot studies: in Shanghai, for example, ten houses measuring 200 square metres were built in 2014 using 3D printing and the total cost of the project was the incredibly low amount of just US$ 4.800!
Although 3D printing houses is still only in its infancy, it looks set to make a great contribution to our planet’s housing problem while posing a great business opportunity for companies in the sector committed to using this particular technology.
|Watch this video: Concrete 3D printer - futuristic architectural technology.|
3. Focus on user experience
Although the purchase of a real estate asset is famous for being a long arduous process riddled with uncertainty for both the seller and consumer, this apparently unshakable fact is now looking to change with the unstoppable progress of the digital economy and its customer-centric culture.
Today, real estate companies are already working hard to redefine user experiences to make them faster, accessible and more personalized, as shown by portal www.homesearch.com, that seeks to bring various conveniences to the sector, such as the widespread practice of buying a property with one click.
Companies like Realty Beacon or FlatAlert already use geolocation in their housing search apps, so that users are alerted when passing by a property for sale or to rent instead of trailing the streets looking for adverts announcing real estate opportunities.
In the same vein, many industry players are adopting technologies that streamline, simplify and provide greater transparency to the endless paperwork that makes up the construction process and sale of assets. Our electronic signature is an ideal solution for reducing the application and signing process from days to a few minutes, allowing customers from all sectors to shorten the time it takes to close a sale.
4. The internet of things
IoT is an intriguing concept for many. We often hear passing references to it without knowing why or how it works. The real estate field is precisely the context in which this is easier to understand. In fact, the Internet of Things in relation to homes, offices or commercial spaces is one and the same thing as a natural evolution of home automation.
The current generation of consumers are in fact characterized by a demand for smart homes: a concept mostly associated with the connectivity of digital, mobile devices in living and working spaces.
For example, there are already smart thermostats in homes that base their intensity according to information picked up by motion sensors, alerting them to whether someone is in the room or not, and mobile phones have become remote controls to turn appliances on or off, raise or lower blinds or to track the growth of garden plants.
5. Virtual reality
Virtual reality is another technology whose use in other sectors is still a distant prospect, but one that is already giving the real estate sector a competitive advantage.
Its main contribution at present is offering virtual property visits: on-site visits that can take place well before the completion of a house and even where the property is still just a few plans on paper.
|Ikea has already developed an application that allows visualizing how the furniture will look in given space thanks to augmented reality.|
Using 3D glasses, a customer can walk around a house on the other side of the world or view an apartment in a housing development when the project is at the bidding phase. Virtual reality employs the latest technology to help us recreate distances, sizes, textures, colors, materials and even panoramic views that appear ever more real.
This post is also available in Spanish.
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- Interview with Jaime Lacasa, founding partner of real estate company ELIX.