Experts have hailed London as the top city in Europe for using technology in the built environment. The news has been revealed in a report called Future Proof Real Estate – Is the Property Sector Ready for the 2020s? from Osborne Clarke. This research looks into how the technology sector believe innovation will change Europe’s built environment in the next few years. It puts London as the top city for prop-tech in Europe, with 42% of experts saying the capital leads the way. Amsterdam is second with 28% of the votes, and Berlin comes third at 26%.

Conrad Davies of Osborne Clarke says London is already Europe’s technology capital, attracting the most investment of venture capital in Europe. He went on to say that London’s real estate sector is also open to several trends which are driving prop-tech forward – namely, co-living, which has been driven by a shortage of housing and high property prices, and co-working, which is driven by high demand for flexible working. Both of these are heavily reliant on technology. Many experts – 39% – believe London will still be the prop-tech capital in the next five years, but they believe the gap will be narrower. This is because other cities are making huge inroads in prop-tech. In The Netherlands, they are developing several smart neighbourhoods, such as Slim Seingraaf in Duiven, as well as investing in intelligent transport systems and automated vehicles.

Whilst the real estate sector has been slow to embrace technology, things are rapidly moving forward now, and it is embracing the opportunities that technology can offer. The next few years should see greater growth in prop-tech in many cities.

A report by the world’s largest commercial real estate services company, CBRE, shows prop-tech will continue to disrupt traditional real estate business operating models. Three forms of technology – blockchain, augmented reality and artificial intelligence – are having a huge impact on their sector. Augmented reality is having a major impact globally because of the time it saves for tenants, landlords and property buyers. Instead of having to actually be present at a property for viewings, they can use AR to visualise the property. Similarly, artificial intelligence can save time and money when making property-related decisions. It can take a user’s finances, preferences and needs to narrow down choices. Companies such as Zillow can use AI to make a valuation of a property that someone enquires about as well as predict property values in a year’s time. This can also help people when making property-related decisions.

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