COVID-19 boosts proptech adoption — poll

by Gerv Tacadena26 Feb 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed Australian property companies to ramp up their efforts to adopt and invest in proptech, according to the latest survey by the Property Council and Yardi Systems.

The poll, which garnered responses from 216 property companies, revealed that 27% of these groups have already started investing into new technology in response to the pandemic. Meanwhile, more than half claimed they are improving their investment in existing technology.

Some of the areas that these companies are prioritising include big data analytics, business process automation, and virtual tours.

"This survey sets a baseline for Australia’s property industry to track the barriers to proptech adoption and the big opportunities ahead," said Ken Morrison, chief executive of the Property Council.

The study also found that market players — from owners, to managers, designers, and constructors — are teaming up with proptech accelerators to provide support to start-ups and test new technologies.

However, the property market still faces challenges when it comes to proptech adoption. Some of the concerns raised by the respondents include costs, time constraints, and changes in existing behaviours. The biggest barrier, however, is the perception that solutions have to be specifically developed or customised.

These challenges made a third of the respondents believe that real estate lags behind other sectors when it comes to technology adoption.

Despite this, the past year seemed to be a "tipping point" for proptech adoption, said Bernie Devine, regional vice president of Yardi.

“Australia’s property industry is upskilling rapidly. Big hires from other sectors are bringing in new skills in automation, artificial intelligence and customer engagement. These fresh perspectives are shaking up the tree, and propelling proptech forward,” he said.

Devine furthered: “Investing in technology is like building. Get the foundations right and then everything else will be solid. This is the approach we are seeing from Australia’s real estate leaders."