‘Ubers’ of real estate a worry for researchers

The global digitally driven explosion of the residential property market has housing researchers concerned.

Senior lecturer and housing researcher in the University of Sydney’s School of Architecture, Design and Planning, Dallas Rogers, says millions of residential homes world-wide are listed on thousands of digital real estate sites.

He called this one of the most significant changes in the housing industry in five decades

“It takes the housing market into unchartered territory,” Dr Rogers said, adding that international property portals are creating a new “international digital real estate” space for the 21st century globally mobile investor.

Dr Rogers warned that while real estate investment created significant housing wealth for many Australians during the second half of the 20th century, it also exacerbated housing disadvantage.

“We can’t afford the housing affordability problem it created in our cities to be fuelled by unregulated digital real estate.”

Dr Rogers said the industry is using the internet’s global reach to create new international real estate markets, while pushing local regulation and investment compliance on to their users.

The larger digital real estate companies are looking to carve a monopoly on local markets with little concern for the impact on communities.

“We need to pay closer attention to digital real estate practices, and have effective government policy and regulation in place to protect local citizens and communities,” Dr Rogers said.

In a new book, Geopolitics of Real Estate, he traces the history of foreign investment in real estate.

“As an Australian researcher, it is interesting that one the most important, yet never raised, questions in the foreign investment debate is – whose land is being traded when we are talking about foreign investment?”

The topic will be addressed in a keynote address by Dr Rogers at the 2017 Australasian Housing Researchers conference at RMIT University in Melbourne on Thursday.

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