Technology is playing an increasingly important role in real estate, supplementing agent and broker efforts to build relationships and provide value to homebuyers, sellers and investors.
While the last decade has seen significant tech growth, industry experts addressed the future of its applications in real estate at the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) annual REALTOR® Conference & Expo, this year held in person at the San Diego Convention Center in California from Nov. 12-15. The consensus? There are myriad opportunities as the world becomes 5G-enabled, artificial intelligence continues evolving and businesses embrace streamlined tech ecosystems.
The session—Emerging Tech and Strategic Trends You Must Know—featured panelists Dan Weisman, NAR’s director of Emerging Technology; Jeb Griffin, NAR’s director of Strategy and Innovation; and Dave Conroy, NAR’s director of Emerging Technology.
Weisman told the audience that $25 billion is being invested in proptech annually across the globe, with $10 billion of that in the U.S. alone.
“There are no signs of real estate tech investments slowing down,” Weisman said. “We expect technology to continue to play a critical role in the growth of the industry.”
Right now, the role of technology in real estate has largely been consolidation—streamlining several processes into one platform that saves time and incentivizes productivity.
“We’re starting to see larger companies come in and invest, purchase or bring into their ecosystem platforms to leverage that technology on behalf of other products,” said Griffin.
This technology spans across multiple uses for CRMs, marketing, document management, lead generation, e-signature, title and more, he said.
The key is focusing on technology that brings time savings, improves business efficiency, and helps you do more business, said Griffin, adding that the space has a few main players who are standing out right now in terms of tech consolidation: CoStar, Homes.com, Apartments.com and Homesnap, among others.
“Consolidation will continue to benefit the agent, brokerage and brands by reducing costs and lowering the barrier to entry while driving innovation,” said Griffin. “We will also see an improvement in efficiency as consolidation will allow agents to work within products, services and technology that will all be able to talk to each other.”
This year, said Conroy, the industry focused heavily on the internet of things (IoT), as well as big data, blockchain and drones. As far as emerging technology, however, Conroy emphasized we should be focusing on two things: 5G and artificial intelligence.
“Artificial intelligence has the potential to make agents more productive and close more business, and 5G has the potential to change how people choose where and how to live,” he said.
AI is already used across the industry, performing the heavy lifting behind the scenes for essential real estate processes like property valuations, contact management, remodel estimates and more. But there’s room for even more growth in the space, according to Conroy.
“AI is outpacing other technologies tenfold,” he said. “Over the course of two or three years, we will delve into machine learning, predictive analytics and computer vision.”
On the edge of innovation are tech platforms that use AI to identify consumers who are on the fringe of mortgage and homeownership readiness, said Conroy. And if these technologies combine with the speed of 5G, the opportunities will be endless, helping to bridge the tech gap in rural areas where coverage is currently slim to non-existent.
Liz Dominguez is RISMedia’s senior online editor. Email her your real estate news ideas to email@example.com.