Technology upgrades have been a story across nearly all industries over the last few years, and the real estate industry is no exception.
The reality is that the pandemic only slowed down financial markets for a few months in 2020, and new technology for real estate management, also known as proptech, grew significantly in 2021, with the sector reaching a record high for venture capital funding.
Jordan Fletcher, who has broad experience with commercial real estate in southern Ontario, said that many of the social changes brought about by the pandemic have promising implications for real estate technology.
“Most everyone in the world has spent more time at home in the last two years than ever before, resulting in more home renovations and increased online purchasing,” Fletcher said.
Here are some of the biggest tech trends coming to the real estate industry.
Tech for Sustainability
Sustainability-related technologies are likely to continue growth within the real estate industry.
These features are often included as side benefits to other technological improvements to property management, construction processes, or building systems.
A major question surrounding these technologies is the probability that new government legislation will mandate the adoption of additional “green” measures for home building, as has already happened in New York.
That’s a very likely scenario, Fletcher said, and could result in a massive boom for the companies already focused on technology that reduces building emissions.
“There’s growing international pressure to do something about greenhouse gas emissions through ESG [environmental, social, and governance] measures,” Fletcher said.
He said that will likely fuel the growth of technologies that assist developers and investors in making a significant reduction of their carbon footprint.
“These changes will end up happening in both residential and commercial real estate, where major reductions in emissions can be made,” Fletcher said.
Smart Home Technology
Many forms of “smart home” technology have existed for years, but it’s more than likely that this is the year the technology becomes mandatory, rather than a special feature.
Smart locks, for example, became ubiquitous during the pandemic as property owners needed a “contactless” way for renters or potential homebuyers to enter buildings.
Anyone who has viewed a home during the pandemic or rented an AirBnB has likely encountered a smart lock of some kind, Fletcher said. While the impetus for this change may have spread with the pandemic, it’s also generally more convenient for clients and renters, who don’t have to worry about scheduling an exact time with the property owner or realtor.
“In 2022, there’s going to be so many more smart locks added to properties, especially residential,” Fletcher said. “It’s becoming something that property owners need in order to stay competitive.”
Providing virtual experiences may have skyrocketed during the pandemic, but it’s another example of a trend that’s likely to continue growing long after the lockdowns and self-distancing are behind us, Jordan Fletcher said.
Even the biggest museums in the world embraced virtual tours during the pandemic as a way of trying to keep people interested when they couldn’t attend in person.
But like smart locks, virtual tours are another example of a tech trend that makes life more convenient for clients – with or without a global pandemic. As one article from Meero recently put it: virtual tours are changing the face of real estate,
“Virtual tours will become completely commonplace in 2022, if they haven’t already,” Fletcher said.
Realtors who keep up with these big changes to tech will also have an advantage over their competitors, Fletcher said.
“The world is changing fast, and those who keep up will reap the benefits,” St. Catharines’ Jordan Fletcher said.