The Future-ready real estate industry
By Barry Money, CEO, REISA
What will humanity look like in 30, 40 or even 50 years?
If you have ever lived in the megalopolis of Tokyo, as I have, you may have already caught a glimpse of tomorrow!
By 2050, it is anticipated that the world’s population will balloon to over 9.9 billion – and keep growing. Overcrowding will be rife.
From an Australian perspective, this country will continue to be a destination for those seeking education, political stability, and the ‘fair go’ for which we are famously known.
Australia’s population is likely to increase by 40%, giving us a 35.9 million population by 2050.
Australia is also becoming hotter and more prone to the ramifications of climate change. We have seen some of the effects of this already, and it is likely that with increased bushfires, extreme heat, droughts, floods, and desertification, certain areas of our great nation may become uninhabitable.
The nature of shelter in 2072 will certainly look very different.
As land becomes scarcer, it is likely that the great Australian dream of home ownership will diminish, or at least become prohibitive for many. Australia’s real estate landscape where people choose to build and/or buy will morph with demographic and climatic changes.
Some changes we are likely to see in the future have already had their seeds planted in the pandemic-driven mini-boom we saw across Australia in 2021.
We are used to “fried egg” urban planning - high density city centres forming the yellow yolk, and the white of the egg resembling suburbia. This will continue to progressively scramble as Australians disperse throughout the country. The dream of living in an inner-city suburb may become less appealing if Australians maintain their mobility by working remotely. As this trend continues, agents may need to spread out too, and diversify their areas and neighbourhoods of expertise to cater to the needs of future generations.
High density, smaller homes built to accommodate multi-generational families will be the norm. Sustainable construction and development will also be the industry standard.
In the future, we may not always see residential real estate as a fixed asset solely for sale or rent. If a trendsetter like the CEO of AirBnB can announce that he will work indefinitely from no fixed abode, others in the changeable and increasingly fickle landscape of the future may choose to follow.
The future is not set, but we can imagine some emerging themes our industry may need to embrace over the next 50 years:
- Seamless Transparency
Transparency during the sales process will be mandated – either through progressive legislation or the inexorable tide of consumer behaviour.
Credit and finance checks will be fully automated, with a buyer’s and renter’s life on display via their hand-held devices.
Cash will also be a thing of the past. Real estate agencies will accept virtual currencies for house deposits. The process of purchasing a home will become seamless; done in a few seconds electronically, with middle-man bank processes fully automated.
- Consolidation and the rise of the mega-agent
Consolidation of agencies will occur organically over the next 50 years. We are likely to see several large real estate cum tech conglomerates dominate the Australian market.
This will be driven by billionaire innovators who embrace the disruption of traditional supply chains.
If Elon Musk or Jeff Bezos can traverse sectors as diverse as communication software, payment gateways, automotive and space exploration, they could easily invest in the disruption of the real estate landscape.
- Technology - Driven
The future consumer views all companies first and foremost as some form of tech company. So be prepared to wear two hats; you will be working in both the real estate and tech industries.
Real estate agents will need to continually innovate and offer virtual services that transcend the traditional bricks and mortar market.
The use of Artificial Intelligence, virtual reality, big data and other advanced technology is inevitable.
Tomorrow’s property agents will not just be transaction facilitators, they will be “ambassadors”. They will bring their client into their cyberspace to navigate collaboratively the purchase process. 3D virtual reality inspections of prospective homes will become prevalent.
Additionally, ambassadors will help buyers with customisation such as importing images of their furniture to listed properties to “make sure it fits” before signing contracts.
- Personal Branding
Trust will become the platform currency in large asset purchases.
An agent’s presence in a crowded cyberspace will be paramount. Consumers will expect to know your score card – with transparent and independent reviews decreed by future information-hungry generations.
Building an online and trustworthy presence through demonstrated integrity and personal branding will be key to a sustainable real estate business.
Part of the role of the future property agent will be to hone “soft skills” that are impossible for computers to replicate.
Given the high stakes of buying and selling real estate, most consumers will continue to need an agent that understands more than just the transaction. Consumers will demand lifestyle consultants who have deep empathy for their chosen way of life. Transcending the transaction to create relationships for life with all segments of consumers will be the holy grail of customer excellence in the future.
Moreover, with high density living more commonplace, skills such as confidentiality, discretion, privacy and respect are going to become professional differentiators. So be prepared to show your clients how much their business means to you.
- Business Adaptation
As Australians disperse throughout the country, agents will need to adapt and learn about markets and lifestyle solutions outside of their own “backyard.”
The future of residential real estate will involve an increased focus on added features in homes such as multigenerational living arrangements, common areas, and designated workspaces.
Homes are also likely to become automated and much “smarter.” While future houses will incorporate smart-tech, retrofitting an existing home will present a market opportunity.
Given the global climate crisis and the fact that Australians are already increasingly concerned about the impact we have on the environment, consumers will demand an environmentally sustainable home.
Agents can expect to see an increase in green building practices and eco-friendly housing features. Energy ratings, self-sufficient solar and battery storage, insulation, rainwater tanks, organic waste composting systems and lush communal gardens will be de rigueur.
Australians will want houses that are constructed with materials that are not taxing on the environment. As ever-changing global dynamics catapult us into a future very different to what we are used to – our knee-jerk reaction may be to resist this change. However, if done correctly, the real estate, development and construction industries could be at the forefront of reducing carbon emissions, evening out housing crises, and even assisting everyday Australians to live and work on their own terms.
If you close your eyes and imagine for a moment, you realise that all of this is not just possible, it’s imminent. The future is closer than we think.
Get a glimpse of the future at the Empowering Future Leaders Symposium and explore the vision of the future real estate industry.
Featuring keynotes from:
"The Image Of Future Citizens And How They Will Impact Real Estate"
"PEXA's Approach to Innovation"
"Innovating For Good: Values For Success"
Don't miss out. Register today!
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- World Economic Forum: This is what buildings of the future will look like: and 5 ways to get there
- Farm Online National: Agents desperate to build inventory to cash in on exodus to regional Australia
- UN Habitat: The climate is changing, so must our homes & how we build them