Even a staunchly brick-and-mortar industry like real estate is no stranger to disruptive technology. If there's a technology out there that can make real estate commerce more accessible, safer and less expensive, chances are it will be a disruptive presence.
These three trends fit that bill. Here are three disruptive real estate technology trends to keep an eye on in 2022, whether you're a buyer, seller or developer.
Big Data and Predictive Analytics
Real estate decision-making used to run on gut feeling and conventional wisdom - a sometimes-right, sometimes-wrong application of retrospective data tinged with traditional preconceptions. For instance, if a commercial real estate developer wanted to target areas for development, they might consult the MLS for transaction history, an unsubtle and incomplete picture of where future trends might appear.
Big data is upending all of that. Real estate trends are not cut and dry, depending instead on myriad nonlinear relationships and hyper-granular trends. And it takes a machine learning algorithm to sift through these mountains of data to arrive at concise, consistent forecasts.
Big data takes into account hyper-local, non-traditional variables like work-from-home trends (gleaned via cell phone data), restaurant turnover in the area, the popularity of local public pools, etc. Alongside insights from traditional data, these unexpected variables provide developers with a clearer picture of what's happening on a local level, and where to develop.
Digital Marketplaces and the Rise of the Consumer
It isn't just CRE developers that benefit from tech trends; home buyers and sellers also reap the rewards of an increasing technological presence in real estate.
Look at Nobul, a digital marketplace that foregrounds buyers and sellers. At Nobul, real estate agents compete against one another for a client's business - a far cry from just 20 years ago, when consumers settled for whoever would take their call. Using a proprietary algorithm, the digital marketplace matches buyers/sellers with real estate agents based on their needs, wants, and personal criteria.
Speaking to Medium, Nobul CEO and founder Regan McGee calls it 'the world's first end-to-end technology platform for real estate transactions.' He adds: 'We're finally giving consumers power in this industry. Real estate transactions have the single largest fees people pay and the average person pays those fees 11 times in their lifetime. For us to be disrupting this market is extremely exciting.'
Blockchain and Real Estate Tokenization
The first two items in this article concern how people approach real estate - how CRE developers approach forecasting, and how consumers approach representation and intermediary actors. The third trend follows suit, but takes things a step further: Blockchain may transform the entire process of saving for, paying for, and gleaning insights from real estate transactions.
Mark Zilbert, executive vice president of Brown Harris Stevens Miami, argues that with blockchain, 'real estate transactions could become as easy as online shopping, enabling real estate contracts, escrows and property records to be completed and monies distributed without title companies or attorneys.'
Moreover, blockchain technology enables 'tokenization' or fractional ownership. Buyers no longer rely on traditional bank financing or cost-prohibitive down payments to invest in the real estate market; they can buy fractions (or 'tokens') of properties quickly and easily from the comfort of a mobile device.
These three tech trends are already disrupting the real estate industry. You can expect them - and similar tech trends - to continue transforming the way people buy and sell properties in the future.