proptech, digital revolution
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Housing Minister, Esther McVey, has revealed plans to release data held by local bodies to enable the UK PropTech sector to “bring about a digital revolution in the property sector”

McVey held a roundtable discussion with some of the 700 UK PropTech firms who are helping housebuilders all over the country.

The UK PropTech sector is a growing industry, potentially worth £6bn in the UK. It is leading the world in the property building and buying market, and the sector already receives 10% of global PropTech investment.

Roundtable participants included:

  • Urban Intelligence – a tool that helps developers and landowners to locate development sites more easily
  • The Future Fox – which is transforming community engagement in the planning process, enabling developers and local authorities to engage a much larger and more diverse range of voices in creating positive planning outcomes
  • Wayhome – which aspires to make home ownership more realisable for many more people by co-investing in property with its customers

McVey said: “We’ve had revolutions in the way that financial services, online banking and transport are provided, turning once unimaginable possibilities into everyday realities. Now it’s the turn of the UK property market.

“Whatever homebuyers prioritise, whether it’s the quality of local schools, the probability of getting a seat on a train, or having easy access to leisure facilities, this technology could transform the way we find and purchase homes.

“The UK property sector is on the cusp of a digital revolution. It’s time to harness new technology to unlock land and unleash the potential of housebuilders in all parts of the country and to revolutionise the way in which we buy homes.”

New technologies could allow:

Communities to:

  • See models and interactive maps of planned development rather than one or two pictures
  • Comment on planning applications online, on phones and on the go (in the same way that they use online banking services)

Prospective home buyers to:

  • Use commute time calculators when they are looking at properties
  • Explore financing options to help buyers afford their new home or enable gradual home ownership
  • Receive step-by-step assistance to help them navigate the buying process

Developers to:

  • Identify sites so that more houses are built more quickly
  • Quickly locate suitable brownfield sites suitable for development

SMEs don’t often have the resources for dedicated teams to find sites, appraise them and craft planning applications. Therefore, access to tools that analyse multiple datasets to do this for them could save them valuable hours.

It has been reported by SME builders that ‘lack of available and viable land’ was the most commonly cited barrier to increasing output for the fifth year in a row, despite there being capacity to build 1 million homes on brownfield council land.

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