How technology has changed the real estate industry
Digital transformation in the real estate industry
Technology is pervasive in all spheres of our lives and the property industry is no exception. It has enabled the real estate industry to be more efficient, transparent, and accessible, benefiting consumers, agents, developers and investors. Continued innovation is expected to further shape and optimise the real estate landscape.
As stated in the WOW report on real estate activities in South Africa, two of the main enablers are big data and the new tools that are available to collect and analyse data, providing developers of new property with access to valuable information on supply and demand in specific areas, giving landlords access to information on property values and deeds office records of all sales, and data alerts for information about vacancies, rental demand and price points.
For municipalities, which collect rates on all properties, tech tools like drones, Google Earth and software tools have made it possible for them to have a much more efficient and accurate way of establishing and updating property values.
Benefit of real estate technology for consumers
Consumers can now search any area in most of the world, specify search criteria, and get meaningful and useful information. South Africans who plan to emigrate can buy property in countries they are moving to ahead of their move and save on renting and relocating twice. This is all made possible with the availability of the right information, including visuals and virtual tours of the properties they intend to purchase with detailed descriptions and price comparisons.
That does not mean the old-fashioned cost-benefit analysis is no longer relevant. Everything has a cost and the technology revolution does have downsides. Storing and handling large amounts of sensitive personal and financial data on digital platforms raises serious concerns about data privacy and security. Real estate companies must invest in robust cybersecurity measures to protect against potential breaches and unauthorised access.
The impact of technology on jobs in the real estate industry
Automation and digital technologies have displaced certain traditional roles, especially those involving routine administrative tasks, but have also created new positions in the real estate sector related to data analysis, tech support, digital marketing, and software development.
The architectural field has been significantly impacted by new technology which has transformed how architects design, plan and construct buildings.
Computer-aided design (CAD) and building information modeling (BIM) software allow architects to create precise and detailed digital models of structures, facilitating design visualisation, collaboration, and error detection.
This has streamlined design processes, improved accuracy, and facilitated better collaboration among architects, engineers and stakeholders throughout the design and construction phases.
The downside of technology in the real estate industry
Not all individuals or communities have equal access to advanced technology, and this can create an uneven playing field, potentially marginalising those without the necessary technological resources.
Addressing the various downsides of technology in the industry requires a thoughtful and balanced approach, focusing on leveraging technology’s benefits while mitigating its drawbacks through adequate training, cybersecurity measures, and strategic decision-making.
The world has grown exponentially more populous and the need to be able to keep track of information has grown more complex, and technology has been the saviour.
For now, we accept the drawbacks willingly because the benefits far outweigh those moments of inconvenience, which only happen occasionally, while we almost continuously derive the benefits of today’s technology.
Technology benefits are, however, not to be confused with economic realities. In South Africa, technology gains have not translated into economic gains due to service delivery lagging behind. While efficiency gains made it possible for the valuation of properties to become more accurate due to technology, high rates and costs have depressed the potential value of properties.
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