For property tech innovation to thrive in Australia, funding is required to push more tech-prods and to identify audiences, promote platforms and rise above rising market oligopolies, according to one tech expert.
Co-founder of interactive property platform Kohab, Darren Clark said that it is safe to say that operating a property business in Australia in 2018–2019 is a challenge.
“From falling property prices to tightened lending restrictions and greater government scrutiny, the industry is finding itself under pressure to develop competitive points of difference to service an increasingly volatile market,” he said.
“These points of difference must come from innovation, and while Australia ranks in the top five for innovation globally, it lags behind significantly in innovation funding.”
Mr Clark adds that the question then becomes, which side of the property equation is most in need of innovation? Vendors, buyers, renters or investors?
“The likely answer is all of the above,” he said.
“And while there are plenty of new tools available to service these markets individually, it’s collaboration and communication between these disconnected parties that’s most in need of disruption.
“This will serve not only to greatly improve the experience for buyers but also empower real estate agents and property businesses to develop deeper, more meaningful relationships with their customers.”
Mr Clark said that natural market forces will prevail.
“As legacy property portals continue to push further into the fintech space and move closer to the transaction, it creates a blind spot for disruptive start-ups to establish platforms offering a better experience for people actively buying, selling or marketing property.
“In addition, the market for property both in Australia and across the world is becoming more transient — and a generation raised on social media, immediate feedback and digital mobility will expect tools that reflect these expectations.
“Not just to find a home, but find the right area or find the right agent to work with. This creates a need for deeper research and collaboration tools so that those moving can act faster, with better information and fewer hassles.”
He said that, as an example, co-living spaces have been taking off in the US and the UK.
“They provide a turnkey solution for would be renters or short term owners,” Mr Clark said.
“Facebook is moving its marketplace to enable renters to be found quickly through the network, and while purporting to work with existing portals, their history of absorbing audiences and markets is well documented. While this functionality is currently confined to the USA and the UK, Facebook certainly is not, and escalating to property sales in the future is certainly a possibility.”
Equally, Mr Clark said that Google tilted at the real estate market over 10 years ago, and has since prospered in the hotels and flights space — but how long then before they move back into property sales?