How will we be buying houses in 2025? The answer might amaze you…

The Future Laboratory has released a new report predicting the landscape of the Property market over the next few years, as PropTech (Property Technology) takes hold. And it makes for some fascinating reading.

The report anticipates an overwhelming increase in the use of big data, as well as the more widespread use of haptic gloves (which simulate the sense of touch), and drones, in the property buying process.

“The newly emerging PropTech sector,” says Rob Ellice from easyProperty, “is driving innovation at an astounding rate in a market that has been, until now, slow to innovate.”

PropTech: Personalising Search

Big data is set to revolutionise the way we search online in the future. Highly specific, personalised search engines, which crawl our web history and social media, will be able to build an in-depth profile of your lifestyle. In property, this means making it a whole lot easier to find your dream home. The desires you’ve expressed, either explicitly or implicitly, online, will be collected together, allowing property selling platforms to narrow down your choices of homes on the market.

At the moment, online property search is, to put it mildly, an arduous process. Trawling through pages of properties that just aren’t ‘you’ is just how things are. You can filter by budget, location, number of bedrooms, but not really much more than that. But assuming public uptake of this new PropTech is largely positive and widespread, all that will be cut out.

If you’re feeling somewhat doubtful about how much data people are likely to be willing to share, the report also suggests that potential property buyers would be able to trade data access with mortgage brokers, giving them a lower fee with their estate agent.

“In the 2020s,” says Douglas McCabe of Enders Analysis, “[consumers] will expect [an online property system] to plug into their personal data and know that they want a house with a south-facing garden, close to a railway station that serves their office, a school specialising in music for their daughter, and a jazz bar that serves great craft beer.”

Augmented Reality in PropTech

The end of unattractive ‘For Sale’ signs is coming! Instead of agents having to erect cumbersome signs outside homes for sale, augmented reality will take over. Those using wearable technology or a smartphone will see beacons hovering outside properties that are for sale. Prospective buyers will also have the option to have their visible beacons narrowed down, through the use of that personalised search data, to only show houses that meet their criteria.

Furthermore, sellers may be given the option to allow any buyer viewing that beacon to click through to a virtual property walkthrough. If security sounds like an issue, then just remind yourself of the personalised data gathering bit.

Virtual Reality in PropTech

Then, of course, there’s our favourite: virtual reality. CGI architecture and virtual property walkthroughs are an absolute no-brainer, streamlining the property purchase process immeasurably for all parties. The incredibly detailed and lifelike CGI walkthroughs we create at VMI Studio will form a major part of this new movement in PropTech. But as technology grows more advanced, we can also expect to see haptic gloves and olfactory VR coming into play, to create a fully immersive experience.

Augmented and virtual reality is also developing to allow prospective buyers to do ‘virtual refits’ of the property they’re interested in. Virtual furniture is already a ‘thing’, bringing homewares companies and virtual walkthrough software developers together. Buyers will also be able to simulate a full redecoration of the space – even chatting to a holographic version of their builder while they do so.

Housebuilders and developers are welcoming this new dimension (no pun intended) to the property marketing world. When selling off-plan, it can be a bit of a stumbling block for buyers not being able to effectively visualise a property that’s not yet even been built. With CGI property walkthroughs, and the capacity to virtually decorate that unbuilt home, developers can anticipate a bright future ahead.