Is the property sector ready for big data?

Many businesses are extracting value from big data and experts predict that it won’t be long before it makes a huge impact in the property sector. However, despite the potential benefits, are conveyancers and other property professionals ready to embrace it?

What is big data?

Big data is the information a business has access to, which can be used for discovery and analysis. This includes information held in databases, text-heavy documents, social media posts, and more. As all aspects of our lives become more and more data-driven, the potential of big data becomes even more incredible. But it is not just the volume of data that is important, it is also what we do with it that matters.

Big data and the property sector

By leveraging big data, property investors and estate agents will find it easier to spot trends and gain a greater insight into growth opportunities and market forces. For example, technology can interpret where people are moving, what factors spurred these moves, and in turn, where the next property hotspot is likely to be.

For estate agents, big data also provides the opportunity to expand their services, and deliver added value. For example, with an app, buyers could get enhanced access to property information via their smartphones. At the same time, this technology could provide an extra layer of insight to agents, with the ability to capture data such as engagement rates, details on who is looking at their properties as well as how often (with carefully obtained consent of course!).

For conveyancers, big data could be captured from multiple data sources and presented via easy to understand visual dashboards. As a result, firms could uncover trends and insights, and capitalise on these to drive business growth. For example, big data could be used to discover what type of clients are profitable, and legal firms could use this information when deciding who to market to and whether to take on new business.

Could big data help fix the broken housing market?

Earlier this year, the government concluded its consultation on how to ‘fix the broken housing market’. Central to improving the customer experience when buying or selling a home is the relationship between all parties involved in that transaction. However, it is only by unleashing the power of big data and ensuring that everyone has access to the most up-to-date information that we can hope to deliver the considerable improvements in speed and efficiency now required.

Commenting on the potential of big data, Lynne Nicholson, Head of Data Products and Services at Land Registry has said: “New technology and data-driven products have the potential to transform our industry”. Currently, however, there is too little use being made of big data and analytics in the property sector. To get value from our information, we first need to digitise, and while that is happening in parts, many players remain heavily reliant on out-of-date processes.

To succeed long-term, this must change; especially when you consider the growing competition from new and emerging PropTechs. While the possibilities of big data in property are limitless, the market must be ready and able to embrace it.

Do you think the property sector is ready for big data? Let us know.

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