Proptech (short for 'property technology') is having a bit of a moment right now. As more businesses launch in a bid to revolutionise the property market, and more investors hunt for the next big thing, we thought we'd take a look ahead to see what else we can expect from proptech this year.
The movers and shakers
Investors are putting their money where their mouth is when it comes to Trussle. The online mortgage broker has opened up and democratised an area that was often confusing and costly for buyers. After securing £1.1 million in seed money last February, this month they've raised a further £4.5 million from existing and angel investors.
We don't often toot our own trumpet, but at HouseSimple.com we've also played a big role in shaking up the estate agent sector over the past year. Our hybrid model means homeowners can sell their homes through major property sites like Zoopla and Rightmove without the middlemen getting involved.
Tech to watch out for
OneDome has been slowly rolling its Local Reality tool across the UK, giving its users instant information about postcodes. They quickly score areas on aspects like quietness and crime rates so buyers can see at a glance whether a property would be right for their lifestyle. It's also useful for sellers, as they can check what they need to know about their local area before writing their listing. Another newly launched proptech startup worth talking about is Bricklane.com. The company offers ISA savings accounts, with returns coming from a Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT). They then invest the money into rental properties in Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds, sharing the profits with their savers.
What to expect in 2017
Proptech is still a very young industry, so although things are changing fast it's not likely that they'll change a lot over the next year. Expect to see more data-driven technology that can help buyers decide where and which type of property to buy. It's likely that more brick-and-mortar agents will start experimenting with virtual reality, while 360-degree imaging could add an interactive twist to online listings. Aside from that, we've got an inkling that this year proptech will go from niche to mainstream with a shift from high-street estate agencies to companies like our own.