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Talking Tech: Real Assets thought leadership

A series of expert interviews by Clifford Chance

12 November 2018

In this piece, we report on interviews we have had with leading players in the market, obtaining their insight into the impact that technology has had and will continue to have on their business and on the market.

For many years the impact of technology on the property market has been hailed as the next big thing. Proptech, as it became known, was going to change the real estate market and drive traditional property players out of business. But in a surprising move, rather than retrenching to the “good old ways”, traditional property companies have embraced proptech. Every sector, including office, residential, retail, logistics and investment, has avidly adopted new technology so that today proptech is mainstream and a critical part of any property business.

We spoke to:

  • TAYLOR WESCOATT, CONCRETE VC
  • JOHN SAROKHAN AND PETER HAYES, PGIM
  • CHARLIE GREEN, THE OFFICE GROUP
  • JAMES POWER, SEGRO
  • JULIE VILLET, URWLab
  • ANIL KHERA, NODE
  • ADRIAN LEVY AND MATT TAYLOR, CLIFFORD CHANCE

The message that comes across loud and clear is that property should not be treated as a static asset but rather a service. End users are demanding changes such as greater flexibility, speed, customisation, community and sustainability. This is driving change in every sector; with the retail sector experimenting with data tracking and monitoring to enhance the customer experience, the office sector with flexible co-working arrangements and the residential sector with communal living in sustainable, intelligent buildings. Not only are end users demanding this change, but in a low growth economic environment the option of sitting back and relying on rental increases and capital appreciation has disappeared. Finding new revenue streams is now more important than ever before.

Changes to the market are raising new legal dilemmas such as, who bears the risk of an error in a property investment algorithm? Should there be greater standardisation and regulation of leases?

What data should property companies be allowed to retain and monetise? The law reacts to changes in behaviour and we expect significant changes to the law and legal practice in the coming years, some of which we have highlighted in the following interviews.

It may seem that everything is changing but one common message from all the interviews is that there is still room for the human touch. There may be a reduction in the number of real estate jobs for routine work but there will always be a place for human value add. If there is one thing that the property market has in abundance, it is a pool of high quality talent and so we remain confident that the property market will continue to embrace technological change until the term “proptech” falls into disuse.

Long live property! 

Read the Report