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Proptech is the latest buzzword on everybody’s lips today. Often called the new innovation driver and disruption power in real estate, it is also said to be the modern remedy for real estate specialists suffering from piles of paperwork and a high-yield asset class for investors looking for fresh opportunities.
In this real estate prop tech research, we provide a comprehensive proptech definition, property technology types, and the proptech market map in an attempt to dispel any confusion about the emerging real estate technology, its present and future.
We also look at real estate AI and reflect on how technology has changed the real estate industry, what real estate technology trends are there, and what startup proptechs are at the forefront of real estate innovation.
Proptech, or property technology, is all the tech tools real estate experts use to optimize the way people buy, sell, research, market, and manage a property. These innovative technologies are also known as Real Estate Tech, Retech, Realtech, Commercial Real Estate (CRE) Tech, depending on which lens you’re looking through. However, at its core, prop tech always means robust alignment between real estate and technology.
Examples of disruptive technology in real estate can be investment platforms for matching retail or commercial real estate investors and assets or property management platforms for running residential (both single-home and multifamily buildings), office and retail properties (we talk about it a bit more in the next section).
If prop tech in real estate seems somewhat distant from the individual consumer, think of your last vacation spent in a lovely Airbnb apartment or a boutique hotel, which you had picked among numerous other gorgeous locations generously listed on the platform – and at a much lower price than you would have spent on a hotel in the same area. If you can relate, you have firsthand seen how technology has changed the real estate industry.
By far, Airbnb is one of the first proptech tech companies disrupting the real estate industry, along with Zoopla, Causeway, and Purplebricks – they all once took the plunge and married technology and real estate, pretty much in the same way Uber has transformed the transportation business.
The proptech software development sector is relatively new, as it came into being in the late 1990’s during “dot-com boom.” Today, proptech industry is present in 64 countries worldwide, with a soaring number of innovation-driven tech companies estimated at 8,000, according to PropTech Global Trends 2020 (source).
Speaking globally, the US holds the lion’s share of property technology companies accounting for 59.7% worldwide. Continental Europe (27.2%) comes next with Proptech UK as the largest market outside of the USA. The Asian Proptech real estate industry (3.5%) is dominated by China.
So, the two biggest Proptech markets are the US and Europe, and they are rather focused on residential proptech real estate accounting for 60% and 55% respectively on the national scale, according to Unissu (see the charts below).
This breakdown is perhaps motivated by the areas’ growing population, most of whom are, at some point, spending money on renting, buying, and living in homes. The prevalence of Residential Proptech solutions in the US and Europe can also be driven by investing purposes. Residential property gives better returns and doesn’t require a significant starting capital as opposed to commercial real estate.
However, both the US and European real estate prop tech are dominated by B2B (business-to-business) services.
Here are the most recent findings defining the state of technology in real estate today:
If you google ‘technology real estate,’ you’ll find out that, surprisingly, more than 9000 proptech companies have popped up across the globe. Yes, 9000. And most of these startup proptechs, for the sake of marketing or due to the lack of panoramic view of the prop tech industry, “self-categorize,” making it absolutely unclear which category they’re in.
Numerous real estate and technology thought leaders made attempts to classify the newborn property technology, but due to different proptech definitions as well as the types of real estate markets, the exact parameters of prop-tech space may vary.
Having been in the real estate industry for almost two decades, Ascendix has witnessed the evolution of technology in real estate and is well positioned to provide our outlook on proptech ecosystem.
So here it is – our analysis of the three most popular approaches to categorizing proptech ecosystem, as well as our conclusion on which classification best reflects the modern proptech landscape.
This is a traditional and very general way to classify the proptech landscape that outlines its basic elements and relationships. It is especially helpful for those just trying to comprehend what proptech actually is and how it correlates with other industries.
Let’s take one step further and answer ‘What is proptech industry’ according to the property type – residential (e.g., apartment buildings, houses) and commercial (e.g., office buildings, retail spaces) properties.
Residential Property Tech
Residential Proptech Sector is all the digital products developed by real estate tech companies to facilitate the way people own, manage, or rent apartments and houses, e.g., short-term rental platforms, like AirBnB or Lyric.
Please note that some of the solutions, currently present at the tech scene, like property management tools and smart home solutions can be used both for residential and commercial real estate.
The landscape of Residential Property Tech is defined by:
CRE Proptech stands for Commercial Real Estate technology and means the use of all the innovative tools companies and individual commercial real estate professionals use to efficiently run, search, rent, and sell office buildings as well as industrial and retail property assets. The brightest illustrations of this realm of proptech real estate in action are marketplaces for brokers and real estate agents like LoopNet and Biprox.
The CRETech space is shaped by:
So, whereas residential proptech is aimed at facilitating owning, renting, buying/selling and investing in single-family homes and features tools both for individual landlords and agencies, CRETech is all about driving efficiency in the commercial real estate sector and includes tools designed for businesses, rather than solo landlords and investors.
Recently, we’ve researched the proptech market and developed the newest classification of real estate technology and, by far, the fullest one, as it captures the reality of today’s proptech space and basically sums up the previous two schemes.
Our proptech market map consists of seven distinct segments and considers the workflows and needs of all real estate professionals:
Contact our team to start your custom real estate software development.
Real Estate has always been a stranger in the world of innovation and technology. However, property tech startups, popping up here and there over the last decade, started to bridge the gap between technology and real estate.
To get a full picture of the recent technology development in property management in 2023 and answer what is proptech and how it will change, we’ve analyzed a few predictions for the property tech in real estate sector made by the world’s visionary leaders, such as Forbes, KPMG, and JLL.
Here are the 6 Technology Trends in Real Estate shaping the future of Proptech and answering what is proptech industry and what to expect from it soon:
With artificial intelligence and machine learning revolutionizing industries worldwide, companies have invested around $100 billion in AI-powered real estate tech development, whether the creation of new solutions from scratch or the addition of AI-powered modules to the existing software.
Whereas Big Data in Real Estate is about structuring large amounts of data and has gained huge popularity in the last few years, artificial intelligence and machine learning is about leveraging data with automation and as a trend have won the races.
From robust search prediction functionality to autogenerating personalized email sequences to customers based on their life events, AI will do the job for you!
Currently, the development of the AI real estate market has gone into the following directions:
For more data, please consult our article on AI in real estate where we’ve conducted research on who are the main players at the forefront of AI in real estate, what are the most innovative solutions and how you can benefit from them.
Big Data is about collecting and analyzing real-time and historical data about all kinds of real estate assets, from residential households to complex commercial properties like corporate facilities and telecommunications. With structured data sets, real estate companies and individual Proptech realtors can then come up with accurate insights on pricing, home-value trends, and even potential risks and failure.
According to a report by Goldman-Sachs, Virtual Reality will be at the top of Proptech disruption by 2025, with an estimated 1.4 million realtors relying on the technology by that time. This number makes up the bulk of the total professionals in this area today.
The application of VR in Real Estate may vary, from virtual tours of properties to augmented reality solutions for digitally adding furniture to the existing interior (like in roOomy).
The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to a “smart” network of devices and sensors that are constantly sending and receiving information about residential and commercial properties to track their overall state and predict failures. For example, property owners can monitor a building’s temperature, security, and maintenance through mobile devices and computers.
As we adopt the new ways of green construction, focused on building sustainable, energy-efficient homes, modern appliances are getting smarter, too, with SmartGrid refrigerators, washing machines, dishwashers, and micro ovens taking up the central place in our homes. However, there is still a lot to come!
With AI taking the lead in real estate tech empowerment, the industry attention on blockchain has waded. Nonetheless, this trend has been on the rise for long enough to prove its potential to innovate the real estate market with decentralized and transparent processes in property buying, selling, and investing. With property as a digital token, blockchain technologies have reduced barriers to entry and offered fractional ownership, overall making investments affordable to everyone regardless of their socioeconomic background.
The number of real estate tech startups is soaring annually, with record-breaking 300% growth over the past decade, according to JLL. These solutions ease the hassle of listing search, property management, documenting, construction planning, and much more.
Since the number of Property Tech startups categories may go far beyond dozens, here’s our wrap-up list of 7 key types of property technology solutions with the key disruptors representing each subsector:
Name: Locate AI
Type of Product: Brokerage intelligence proptech solution
Headquartered: San Francisco, the US
Locate AI has developed a brokerage intelligence platform that is a complex solution for landlords, brokers, and retailers. The company uses 200 million data points (like consumer profile and demographics) gathered from anonymous mobile devices on the national level to help real estate professionals identify the most high-performing location to invest in.
The main features of the Locate intelligence platform are as follows:
Let tech expert with 16+ years of experience in real estate perform diagnostics and audit your software as well as development and delivery processes.
Type of Product: Workplace and asset management platform
Headquartered: Atlanta, the US
Eptura has developed a workplace and asset management platform consisting of two company’s products, Eptura Workplace and Eptura Asset, that helps companies effectively manage facility hybrid work.
Type of Product: Image analysis and property valuation intelligence tool
Headquartered: New York, the US
One of latest startups in the realm where real estate and technology fuse, FoxyAI leverages AI, machine learning and data science to help users generate valuation reports based on the property image analysis made possible with FoxyAI’s visual property intelligence models.
Currently, the developer offers 2 solutions:
Type of Product: Site management and data analytics solution
Headquarters: Bellevue, United States
CityBldr provides 50 times faster workflows when it comes to the management of site and allows users to make profitable investments by leveraging smart data like zoning information, environmental indicators, parking requirements, etc.
This digital solution offers the following opportunities:
Type of Product: Investment management platform
Headquartered: Houston, the US
Entera is a residential real estate investing platform merging technology and real estate processes like buying, selling, and investing in single-family homes. It acts as a real estate marketplace where one can choose a property and assess the investment risk as well as forecast ROI.
So, what does an Entera solution include?
Type of Product: Sustainability management software
Headquartered: Mesa, the US
Founded by former corporate sustainability directors, Persefoni is a sustainability management software that helps companies get to the net zero destination faster.
To support companies during their decarbonization journey, Persefoni has developed a set of modules:
Yes, some solutions are universal and anyone in real estate can capitalize on them whether they are a fintech specialist, investor, agent, or broker. Let’s take a look at one of such startups.
Name: YORD Studio
Type of Product: VR and AR products for real estate
Headquartered: Prague, Czech Republic
YORD Studio is a custom developer of VR and AR solutions for a variety of businesses, among which are real estate and architecture. How can one benefit from VR and AR solutions offered by a company?
Proptech disruption has brought innovation into the daily routine of almost every player on the Real Estate market, including property owners, tenants, investors, brokers, letting agents, etc.
For brokers and real estate agents, the adoption of Proptech solutions means:
Property technologies have also changed the way landlords, property managers, facility operators, and tenants interact. Here is what Proptech has brought for both parties:
The next are real investors and venture capitalists. Here is what has positively changed at the intersection and real estate and technology for them:
For Fintech specialists, the current state of technology and real estate looks bright.
The last category is construction and property development professionals. Whether they’re engaged in building and developing commercial buildings or residential properties, construction teams can all benefit from the new technology that includes automated budgeting, estimation, planning, and scheduling.
80% of companies implementing prop tech solutions benefit from better operations and deliver services of higher quality.
If you don’t want to lag behind real estate digitalization, you need to nurture your digital capabilities and adopt innovative approaches. With no previous experience in tech, it might not be an easy task to pour innovation and technology into your business straight away.
This is where Ascendix comes into play. We have been in the real estate market for more than 25 years and served the needs for technology in real estate of the biggest industry players, like JLL, Hanna Commercial Real Estate, Cresa, and others.
So, whatever your Real Estate niche is, we’ll fuel your business with Proptech innovation and:
We make sure your proptech platforms, mobile and web applications are downright ready for success — you focus on your business core activities to be at the top of the game. Contact Ascendix and we’ll make your Real Estate Business stand out together.
Check out the overview of the proptech consulting and software development projects we delivered to our clients.
Proptech industry solutions can be residential or commercial with different solution subtypes, such as tools for brokers; solutions for property managers; fintech; construction tech; investment solutions; climate tech; and solutions all real estate professionals can benefit from.
Proptech or property technology is all digital solutions used by real estate professionals to facilitate and streamline processes like selling, buying, property development, and investment. Examples include brokerage CRM, property management tools, home automation, and investment management platforms.
The biggest prop tech companies by funding are WeWork ($22B), Airbnb ($6.4), Opendoor ($1.9B), and Compass ($1.6B). Meanwhile, the biggest proptech startups by funding are EquipmentShare ($1.6B) and Pacaso ($1.5B).
Alina is a proptech technology expert and a storyteller at Ascendix, investigating the real estate market and sharing her insights and tips with up-and-coming proptech startups, established real estate agencies, and industry stakeholders. She talks about real estate technology, business automation, and industry news.