Over the past few weeks, we have been liaising with 17 industry professionals to curate an in-depth thought leadership e-book titled “The Future of Property.” Divided into 3 chapters, the conversations range from PropTech, housing and infrastructure and property as an asset class. We hope that this collaborative e-book will be the first of many, and that these 17 articles encourage further discussions around what is an increasingly exciting sector.
“The initiative behind this collaborative e-book is to encourage discussion in a way that inspires, innovates and invites people to talk about the future of property – not only from a technological perspective, but from a housing perspective, and from an investment perspective, because we believe that conversations can catalyse change.”
An Introduction by Ben Grove, Head of Property Moose UK
Since the turn of the millennium, I believe that property has been seen to embrace change – slowly but surely dipping its feet into the PropTech wave. Though the nature of the asset has been (and perhaps still is) stubborn to innovation, we are seeing a shift in the way that property transacts. Failures in traditional systems are catapulting the market towards a tipping point, with the impending arrival being one of necessity, driven by attempts to escape inefﬁciency.
The fact that the world’s most valuable asset class has operated on such a manual level for so long may seem astonishing. It is, however, a testament to the perseverance and appeal of property. I believe that it has continued to hold its own in terms of popularity and global charm, and it’s easy to understand why. From a psychological perspective, part of our obsession with property takes root in the concept’s familiarity, otherwise known as “cognitive ﬂuency.” We gravitate towards what we know. You’re likely to have once said the term, “The house I grew up in.” The place we call “home” can even help construct the architecture of our social identity; rendering our attachment to the asset to be somewhat emotional.
Likewise, it can be viewed as a beginner’s asset class, free from jargon. For example, explaining how you can make money from property to an inexperienced investor is easy. They’re likely to know the terms house, rent and sale – the terminology is not novel, it’s incredibly familiar. But the simple nature of the asset class contradicts the very mechanisms it operates upon. Whilst an inexperienced investor is more likely to understand the basics of property than the lingo of the stock market, explaining the ins and outs, the logistics, the paperwork, the back and forth correspondence and the snail-pace of exchanges, is a far more painful conversation to have. Because despite property being a beautifully simple thing, it is buried beneath old and complicated systems.
As such, I believe that it’s clear that the future of property needs to be driven by the customer. For too long now, workings have favoured systems and disregarded the actual individual navigating through the world of real estate. Again, a beautifully simple asset class has locked out ﬁrst-time buyers, mass-matched lenders to borrowers with little regard for personal circumstances, and can leave sellers waiting for several months – the list goes on.
The adoption of PropTech has been slow. Even some of the largest and most respected traditional estate agents in the country still use applicant cards and keep ﬁles full of paper. I believe the friction around PropTech needs to be alleviated, and those who are reluctant ought to approach it with an open mind. Understanding that the asset now has access to a very sophisticated world of technology, upon which it can be streamlined, democratised and simpliﬁed, may be crucial to driving growth.
Talking about where we want to be, or, more speciﬁcally, why we want to be there, is one of the simplest forms of improvement. Asking the right questions can help to construct the industry’s future framework. The big “Why?” needs to act as the momentum. Why do we need to disrupt? Why has this industry taken root in market failure? Why must we keep innovating? Narrative can be fueled by motivation; “Why?” has the power to drive change.
At Property Moose, we’re on a mission to democratise property investment. With 26,000+ members in 130 countries, our reach is a testament to the global demand for our service: an affordable and hassle-free way into the property market. In being one of the ﬁrst property crowdfunding platforms in Europe, we believe our growth has been driven by our appreciation and understanding of technology.
Every corner of real estate can be enhanced by the digital transformation upon us and if we strive to work together, great things can be achieved. The initiative behind this collaborative e-book is to encourage discussion in a way that inspires, innovates and invites people to talk about the future of property – not only from a technological perspective, but from a housing perspective, and from an investment perspective because we believe that conversations can catalyse change. The easiest way to move forward is to talk about where we want to be – especially considering the scope for further growth, the sheer volume of new players entering the market and the evolution and access to cutting-edge technology.
Ben Grove has spent the last 16 years working for some of the largest property and advertising brands, including the REA Group, Property Finder, and Newsquest. He has a passion for property portals, technology, and digital media. Alongside the founder of Match.com, Ben cofounded Estates Direct, a national online estate agent, in 2009.