Technology reinvents the real estate market: from ‘proptech’ to green mortgage

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This article was written and published in Spanish and has been translated into English via Google Translate. Click here to read the original article.

If there is a new mantra that repeats over and over in the real estate sector, it is the need to industrialize and modernize processes. The bad image linked to pitching culture, corruption, and complaints of low-quality construction which is too expensive. Now, the new promoters and construction companies insist that almost everything has changed in this new cycle and the client is the main protagonist.

In this context of absolute reinvention, the appearance of new technologies has revolutionized the different business models and real estate has not been left out of the equation. Consequently, if we address the technological transformation that is taking place in design, construction, marketing, investment and financing of housing, whether in the form of purchase or rent, we talk about proptech, the current en vogue word in real estate forums.

The fusion of property and technology could be defined as technology applied to property. From the search and rental of a property to property management and even investment, everything is changing thanks to the new platforms and startups that emerge to transform the way we have been buying homes from top to bottom.

Moreover, there are experts who predict that in a few years it will be possible to acquire a home with full guarantees without ever having visited the property. Other analysts say that this is an extreme which will never happen. “In the end, the future owner will want to step in the house he is going to buy, even if he is not going to live in it,” they say. Time will tell, but for now, the reality is that proptech has infiltrated the Spanish market at light speed.

Tomás Sánchez Colomer, strategic innovation consultant specializing in proptech at Finnovating explained that at the end of June of this year Spain had 225 companies, while in May 2017 only 107 had been identified, representing a growth of 110% in just one year.

78% of the proptech are concentrated in Madrid and Catalonia, followed by Valencia and Andalusia, with 8% each. Thus, 70% of the proptech have been launched in the last three years.

Sánchez Colomer estimates that these companies already generate around 5,000 direct jobs. The proptech companies are becoming part of a chain that, together with big data or artificial intelligence, have a greater worldwide projection within the real estate sector, especially in relation to energy efficiency, automation, and access control.

What trends can be anticipated, according to the current market? Perhaps the clearest for experts is that thanks to these new tools, the user experience when buying or renting housing has improved. “There is a greater approach to the buyer, and he feels more comfortable in the purchase process”, adds Sánchez Colomer.

Within this context, not only smart cities, but smart homes or smart homes are framed. The tendency is to have the whole house “sensorized” by means of devices that can receive information constantly to know the habits and make improvements in the day-to-day.

It is not about building domotized homes, understanding as such those in which the heating and cooling systems are turned on and off autonomously or the blinds go up and down alone. It even consists in an insurer being permanently connected to the house not only to resolve claims, it is to go one step further and try to prevent them.

Another of the great revolutions that are already evident thanks to new technologies is concentrated in the construction and maintenance of buildings. In this sense, Sensedi proptech has created the Building Information Platform (BIP), a tool that allows the 3D visualization of the building together with all the data relating to the property.

“BIP is an intelligent platform that shows in real time the characteristics and the state of real estate assets, allowing the evaluation of the building’s antecedents and proposing actions that generate savings and welfare for the neighbors while helping to prevent accidents”, explains Pedro Maqueda, CEO of Sensedi.

In short, BIP collects, structures and orders data on whose analysis decisions must be made. Thanks to big data, it incorporates any information coming from different data sources such as the Cadastre, the promoters, the administrators of farms, mediators, insurance companies or architects, among others.

“To be able to make decisions with guarantees of success on a property it is essential to have all the information of it, from its original characteristics to its current state, through the history of actions and interventions to which it has been subjected,” Maqueda adds.

All this and much more will be discussed during the celebration of the ProptechUnconference next September as a meeting point between startups and traditional companies seeking to understand and integrate technological solutions.

Thanks to new technologies the houses of the future may be connected to insurers to prevent claims

But not only is changing the way to sell houses, build them, conserve them; and, in short, live them, crowdfunding or crowdlending have disrupted the way of financing housing, whether to reside in them or as an investment. The revolution has also come to the mortgage market. The international reference organization in accreditation of the RICS real estate sector has become one of the main supporters of a pilot program of green mortgages called Plan on Energy Efficient Mortgages in Europe (EeMAP, for its acronym in English).

A total of 37 banks and 23 other organizations have joined this pilot project that seeks to define a new standardized loan that takes into account energy savings. Among other functions, RICS has been commissioned to implement a guide of good practices that aims to help define a protocol or guide for the valuation of sustainable buildings.

The organizations participating in the pilot plan represent 45% of mortgages in Europe, which in turn equals 21% of European GDP. Their accession demonstrates the willingness of the market to support the European Commission’s Action Plan on Sustainable Finance by defining a common ground of good practices.

The seven organizations that have joined this initiative in Spain include banking representation (Triodos Bank, Caja Rural de Navarra and the Union of Real Estate Credits), valuation (Cohispania and Tinsa) and other entities such as Green Building Council Spain (GBVCe ) and the City Council of Madrid.

“Valuers have been collecting information on energy efficiency or sustainability certificates for some time, and we trust that initiatives such as green mortgages will only increase their relevance and show their impact on valuations,” says Javier Kindelan Williams, spokesperson for RICS. in Spain.

This article was written and published in Spanish and has been translated into English via Google Translate. Click here to read the original article.

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Simon Baker is the Founder and Executive Chairman of Online Marketplaces and Property Portal Watch. Involved with property portals for 15 years, he’s a well-recognized expert and industry consultant.
As former CEO/MD of the REA Group for 8 years, Simon led the group to its current market-leading position. When he joined REA Group in 2001, it had $4m in revenues, $6m in losses and an $8m market cap.
By 2008, the company presided over $155m in revenues, $35m in EBITDA and enjoyed a peak market cap of $1b. Simon is currently Chairman of the Mitula Group and Real Estate Investar and a serial portal founder and, investor.