Evolving technology is a way of life. Systems, protocols, and tangible tech are constantly being developed and improved upon to make our lives easier and more efficient - including in the way we think about and transact real estate. The National Association of Realtors recently met in National Harbor, Maryland where some of the leading technology experts in the field discussed new and emerging technologies that are changing the way we buy and sell real estate now, and how we will in the future.
Google’s head analytical lead, Jane Dzielski, pointed out that their thorough analysis algorithm is making it clear just how active buyers are these days. Their numbers show that 25% of Americans have moved in the last two years - a huge jump from the typical pre-pandemic numbers when just 10% of consumers moved each year, on average. Even more, Google’s algorithm predicts that another 24% of Americans have plans to move within the next year. Using this information gives agents and developers - as well as buyers and sellers - a huge leg up in understanding not only the current market, but allows them to plan accordingly for the future one.
Technology-driven real estate transactions are definitely the future of real estate, according to the head of marketing at Second Century Ventures, Ashley Stinton. According to their numbers, more than $31 billion was invested in real estate technology companies last year alone. These huge numbers shattered records and underscores the rising prevalence of technology in real estate transactions from start to finish. Today, the vast majority of home searches start online and much of the transaction itself is completed via a variety of technologies - from e-signing to desktop appraisals and more. Companies are even emerging to complete all money transactions and closing procedures through online means. By employing a variety of technologies, the entire real estate process can now be managed independently and remotely, and money is pouring into the industries that are making this possible, so it will only continue to grow.
Many experts point to the Metaverse, a branch of Meta, to which $10 billion per year has been promised for the next ten years, when thinking about how technology will impact real estate. You can already buy and sell homes in the Metaverse, and as this grows experts believe it will have a large impact on how we view and trade real estate in the future.
One of the most heavily discussed tech arenas that has been circulating is the influence of the blockchain, cryptocurrencies, and decentralized finance on the future of real estate. Cryptocurrency has already been making headlines as top development projects around South Florida, and elsewhere, have begun accepting cryptocurrency payments on homes. Cryptocurrency mortgages are available in Miami, and are expected to grow widely over the next year. The number of homebuyers who report using profits from sold crypto to finance part of their home purchase or down payment is on the rise, up 3% to 11.6% of buyers from 2020 to 2021, according to Redfin. This is only anticipated to continue to climb as it becomes more widely understood and accepted.
Dave Conroy, the Director of Emerging Technology at the National Association of Realtors, points to the impending importance of the blockchain to future transactions. The blockchain is essentially a new protocol for managing information that provides an undisputable record for events in a transaction. The potential for this to streamline and safeguard real estate transactions is immense and is already popping up in apps being adopted by real estate agents around the country. Along these lines, decentralized finance in the blockchain is a critical growing area that Conroy believes will become an integral part of the real estate process.
Technology is continuing to change our lives everyday. The real estate industry is already seeing huge changes as a result of this changing technology, and buyers and sellers - as well as real estate agents - are on the cusp of a whole new world of possibilities.