Tech experts say London is the leading city in Europe when it comes to the usage of technology in the built environment, according to research from Osborne Clarke

The report ‘Future Proof Real Estate – is the property sector ready for the 2020s?’ builds a picture of how the technology sector thinks innovation will change the face of the built environment in Europe over the next three to five years.

Over two fifths of experts (42%) believe that London is leading the way, well ahead of rival cities from the continent. Amsterdam (28%), Berlin (26%), Paris (23%) and Stockholm (23%) follow London to rank in the top five cities for PropTech in Europe. More importantly, experts still believe London is most likely to rank number one in five years’ time (39%).

Conrad Davies, Head of Real Estate and Infrastructure at Osborne Clarke said: “The UK capital has a long, successful history with the property market, attracting developers, investors and landlords from all over the world.

London is also the technology capital of Europe, largely driven by the fact that it attracts the most venture capital investment in Europe and has a mature tech ecosystem. These two factors combined mean it is understandable that London is fast becoming the PropTech capital of Europe.”

There are also a number of trends helping drive an increased interest in technology in the built environment. Davies explains more: “Real Estate in London is also vulnerable to a number of trends driving the PropTech agenda; co-living (driven by housing shortages and London prices) and co-working (driven by the increased demand for flexibility) both of which rely heavily on technology.”

Despite London ranking number one now, Amsterdam, Berlin and Paris are expected to close the gap in the next five years according to technology experts. Technology experts believe London will still lead the usage of PropTech in five years (39%), but the gap between it and other capitals will become less significant as the likes of Amsterdam (33%), Berlin (32%), Paris (32%), Stockholm (29%) increase the use of technology in the built environment.

The reason for this is other cities witnessing accelerating digital innovation in the property sector. The Netherlands, for example, is already developing a number of smart ‘neighbourhoods’, including Strijp-S in Eindhoven and Slim Seingraaf in Duiven, whilst increasing investment into automated vehicles and intelligent travel systems.

Germany, too, is seeing changing attitudes towards digital innovation in real estate, where exciting business problems have now been solved, such as using new technologies to revolutionise portfolio management or logistics and fulfilment. Similarly, in Paris government programmes are helping to drive the acceleration of PropTech investment.

Davies concluded: “The real-estate sector has been criticised in the past for being an industry that has failed to embrace technology and innovate. However, this is changing rapidly and the market is starting to open up to the opportunities technology brings. It is a good thing for the sector – allowing those in the property industry to capitalise on new income streams and emerging asset classes. The next five years will certainly be an exciting time for as we continue to see accelerated growth in the use of PropTech in cities across the globe.”

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