February 5, 2020



PropTech — what is it and why is it growing?

Technology is all around us and improving all the time. So, it should come as no surprise that, over the past few years, the property industry has become more tech-focussed.

Throwback to 2015, ‘PropTech’ was a relatively unknown term, especially for the country’s biggest developers. But as real estate startups began to introduce more technology designed to make selling or buying a property easier, the whole industry had to sit up and take notice.

What is PropTech?

PropTech is just one small part of a wider digital transformation in the property industry. It considers both the technological and mentality change of the industry and the consumer market.

Spurred by an ever-changing digital landscape, the wider public now wants a more immersive and technology-based experience when buying property. Considering how much you can do on your mobile phone, every day, on-demand, it’s no mystery why consumers often demand more than a simple brochure. 

In short, PropTech companies are tackling the real estate industry to make it simpler by tapping into new technology.

What are the examples?

There are thousands of ways in which new companies are pushing the boundaries of innovation in real estate. Zoopla, for example, is a UK-based real estate company and it launched its new comprehensive iPhone and android app in July 2019. In just a few short months, by improving the interface and enabling users to keep track of agents they have contacted, the company claimed that the rate at which traffic had converted to sales and lettings enquiries about properties had risen by 36 per cent.

Meanwhile, out of the US, Compass is changing how agents and clients navigate the process of finding or selling a home. Via its easy-to-use systems, the growing company offers a clear and easy way for property owners to list, market and sell properties, as well as follow through on the many pieces of complex transactional data that occur before and after the deal is made.

In Australia, new PropTech business Brickfloor recently launched an ibuying platform that has the potential to transform the home selling process in the country. It provides home sellers with a Home Price Guarantee, ensuring 100 per cent sale success during their property sales campaign. The offer sees Brickfloor commit to buying the seller’s home for a competitive price. If the seller receives a higher offer during the sale process, the seller sells to the third party and keeps 100 per cent of the difference. If not, Brickfloor buys the home for the agreed price.

However, PropTech doesn’t have to encompass a dramatic attempt to transform the way developers and consumers view and traverse the property market — it can simply improve the purchaser experience. 

Although only established six years ago, Aqualand, a Sydney-based firm has already generated a portfolio of 23 sites. For one of their most recent ventures, Blue at Lavender Bay Apartments, we helped define and create an offline consumer experience, managing the tech specification and integration of a stunning immersion suite. 

Spanning three facing walls, the 4m x 5m x 3m suite surrounds visitors in a powerful and emotive video and audio experience, which raises the perception of the overall project. The added benefit of this incredible combination of software and hardware is that the sales agent is able to play individual apartment videos and pause at any point via a tablet app to discuss the apartment details. 

Metronome has also worked with Consolidated Property Group to create something similar for an $850 million Brisbane development, Yeerongpilly Green.

“This experience can be fine-tuned to the buyer’s needs at any given point,” says Chelsea Blount, Marketing and Communications Manager at Consolidated Properties Group.

“This is not only a far better experience, but it’s so much easier to use than a big fold-out flip folder where you have to go through hundreds of different floor plans — we can now show customers at the click of a button.”

Both of these examples are displaying how PropTech can drastically improve and simplify the consumer experience — generating more leads and potential sales for the developer in the process.

Why is it growing? 

We all crave for our lives to be easier, quicker and less stressful, and these desires are amplified when buying a property. PropTech is quickly changing the shape of this industry — coming to the aid of the consumer and answering their needs.

But it’s also the growing trust in tech that is allowing this business to grow. Purchasing a property has always been a big deal, so the vast majority were entrenched in the trusted process of going to a real estate branch, talking to a sales representative and holding a physical brochure. 

Over time, however, much like with the banking and travel industry, consumers are accepting the digital platforms that are being introduced. Not only this, they are realising that they don’t have to accept a substandard service anymore. People want to see something new, innovative and impressive and are more likely to invest in a project that represents these facets.

Technology is what helps keep the real estate industry on its toes. New ideas are coming into the market all the time, offering tools and solutions for real estate professionals and consumers alike. PropTech is well and truly here to stay.