Part 3 in a 4 part series examining the next steps for proptech in 2017
by Michael Wolter
Proptech is primed for a disruption in the construction and building markets. Despite the property market's massive downturn in 2008, new homes are now being built at an increasing rate, showing that the building industry is keeping up with demand as best it can. According to new build dwellings statistics from the UK Department for Communities and Local Government, 141,690 new homes were completed from January to September of 2016, up 4% from the previous year. In the US, the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of Commerce reported over 1 million new single family homes were built in 2016, a 9.7% increase over 2015.
With new home construction on the rise, architects and builders alike need a way to set themselves apart from their competition. Key differentiators like affordability or sought-after architects may no longer suffice to engage consumers. We have previously written about how emotions are a big factor when purchasing a new home, so emotions should be an important consideration for both architects and construction engineers. How can homebuilding professionals maximize selling potential when creating new homes? Innovations in proptech may be the answer.
Going green has never been more in vogue. If the 20th century was the age of nuclear energy, then the 21st century is the age of environmentally friendly energy. And not only is it currently in style, the positive public perception a company gains by using sustainable solutions can also help improve a company's bottom line: a Nielsen study found that in 2015 sales of consumer goods from brands with a demonstrated commitment to sustainability had grown more than 4% globally, while those without grew less than 1%. This is evidence that consumers look more favorably upon companies that demonstrate a commitment to going green and are more likely to buy their products or services.
Going green has never been more in vogue. If the 20th century was the age of nuclear energy, then the 21st century is the age of environmentally friendly energy.
Taking these into account, what solutions does proptech offer? The answer is simple: smart home technology.
There have never been more smart appliance options on the market. One one side you have Amazon Echo and Google Home, and on the other is Nest's range of thermostats, smoke and CO alarms, and security cameras. The smart home bounty is there for the taking - not to mention the diversity of products is expanding all the time. And smart homes don't stop at smart appliances: companies are adopting renewable service models as well. UK-based Bulb offers consumers a range of affordable gas and electricity options at lower prices than most nonrenewable sources.
However, the right solutions must be sought - namely, solutions that save the consumer money. OVO Energy's "Brits Keen to Go Green" survey found that although over 2/3 of Brits think it's important to make their home energy more environmentally friendly, a mere one in five would be willing to pay more for greener home energy. That is where innovation by companies like Bulb, mentioned above, must begin to make their mark.
The savings offered by proptech must not only be felt by the customer, but also by the provider as well. Professionals who build smart homes must have a way to save money by using these solutions, another area where proptech can offer savings. Certain types of proptech will add incredible amounts of efficiency to common practices - for instance, Imfuna’s apps can reduce the time it takes to produce a property inspection report throughout the course of construction by up to 75%. By using technology that reduces the amount of time required to make observations requiring corrective actions, the sooner the items can be corrected and the property transaction can be completed.
Imfuna’s apps can reduce the time it takes to produce a property inspection report by up to 75%.
By using smart home products and services in their projects, construction professionals can offer today’s home buyer a property outfitted with the latest modern conveniences, but also the peace of mind that the homebuyer is investing in much more than simply a trip up the property ladder. By knowing their home will be built with smarter home technologies than ever before, not only will they be reducing their carbon footprint but they will also have the opportunity to save money on monthly bills. The construction companies that build those smart homes will benefit from the improved public perception and increased sales as well. Smart builders, smart buyers, and smart homes, all made possible with proptech innovations.
2017 is said to be the year that proptech will make a more widely felt and lasting impression than ever before. Thankfully builders have the opportunity to use proptech to their advantage by investing in the latest smart home technologies. The question is, who will be on the right or wrong side of the trend?