The survey found virtual tours to be one of the top proptech innovations being adopted. Source: Bradley Hook from Pexels.
  • 'Proptech' is expected to boom in Australian real estate
  • Yardi Systems and PCA survey results show increased uptake of proptech
  • Despite some barriers and concerns for new technology, Yardi System Regional Vice President remains optimistic

As reported on The Property Tribune, the pandemic propelled ‘proptech’ in Asia, with data from software company Yardi Systems finding that 70% of real estate companies in Asia are scaling up investment in innovative property technologies.

Now it looks like Australia’s turn to go through a proptech revolution.

Proptech, defined as an innovative technology that reimagines a property’s core processes and business models, has seldom received attention in research.

Now this is set to change, with Yardi Systems in collaboration with the Property Council of Australia (PCA) conducting a long-term study into technology adoption and attitudes to innovation in Australian real estate.

According to a new survey (which is the first installment of the study) of 216 Australian property companies (a third of them with asset portfolios valued at more than $1 billion), the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated proptech adoption.

It found that big data analytics, business process automation, and virtual tours are the top new technologies being pumped with funds.

Furthermore, early-stage proptech venture capital firm Metaprop predicts proptech innovation will deliver $205 billion of new value to the global real estate industry over the next 5 years alone.

Property companies are also turning to technology to support the safe return to offices, with track and trace (23%), touchless access (22%), and social distancing technologies (15%) the top three solutions.

Despite the massive gains in innovation expected from these new technologies, barriers still remain. The biggest obstacles found from the survey respondents were:

  • Solutions must specially be developed or customised (34%).
  • Changing existing behaviours over time is difficult (26%).
  • Costs are too high at the moment (23%).
  • Time constraints (11%).

However, Regional Vice President of Yardi Systems, Bernie Devine remains optimistic that 2020 was a tipping point for adopting proptech.

“Australia’s property industry is upskilling rapidly. Big hires from other sectors are bringing in new skills in automation, artificial intelligence and customer engagement. These fresh perspectives are shaking up the tree, and propelling proptech forward.

“Investing in technology is like building. Get the foundations right and then everything else will be solid. This is the approach we are seeing from Australia’s real estate leaders.”

Finally, while 30% of respondents believe Australia is lagging the leaders in proptech adoption, PCA Chief Executive, Ken Morrison said he expects to see a very different result in future installments of the survey.

“It is early days for proptech in Australia. But our local industry enjoys a world-leading position on sustainability, supply chain transparency and social value. We expect Australian leadership in proptech to follow a similar curve.”

Locally, proptech looks to be off to a good start, with a proptech hub opening in Perth city in early February.

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For anyone further interested in specific proptech, one of our contributors wrote an interesting article on the various proptech innovations “allowing buyers to snap up properties unseen.”

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