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Regulation the main barrier to implementing innovative tech in real estate, says survey

11 September 2019
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Legal and regulatory concerns around implementing new technology are holding back real estate businesses from driving innovation in the sector, according to a new report by global legal business, DWF. 
Almost half (45%) of the 375 senior decision makers from global real estate businesses surveyed said that they were unclear or worried about the legal/regulatory implications of new technology, admitting that this was their biggest obstacle to implementing new tech within their business. 

Cyber security fears (43%) and a lack of available data (42%) also featured prominently as barriers to technology implementation. 62% of larger businesses, those with revenue of £1bn or more, cite lack of data as an obstacle.

But despite the concerns, the report, Techtonic Shift in Real Estate, also found that financial investment into innovative technology is set to grow substantially in the next 12 months, with 35% of companies intending to spend more than a quarter of their IT budget on new technology innovations in 2020, up from just 12% in 2019.

Over half of respondents to the survey (55%) – which included general counsel, heads of legal/IT, C-suite executives and other senior roles -  said that implementing new technology within their business is a key enabler for growth that will lead to better decision making, with 45% highlighting artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) as their greatest enabler to growth. 

Commenting on the findings, Melanie Williams, partner and global head of the real estate sector at DWF, said: "It’s clear from our new report that the industry is at a tipping point when it comes to adopting new technologies. While technology brings a host of new opportunities to the real estate sector, it also comes with concerns and challenges which, through a thorough approach to risk, can be overcome.

"Our global survey has uncovered a sector on the brink of positive change. While the real estate sector has been viewed by some as being behind the curve, technology has the potential to transform businesses - whether it is through the use of blockchain to provide increased liquidity and transparency on transactions, or the use of artificial intelligence to allow ever more accurate investment decisions to be made. 

"Technology is set to shake up the real estate sector and those businesses which embrace change and invest in new innovation will ensure they're one step ahead in driving forward a more digital future."

Download the Techtonic Shift in Real Estate report available via DWF Group from 11 September for more findings from the global survey.


Notes to editors

DWF surveyed 375 decision makers within real estate organisations specialising in funds, investment and asset management who are either lead decision makers or part of the decision making team when it comes to internal technology transformation investments. 

Those with the following roles were surveyed for the report: 

  • GC (General Counsel) 27%
  • Head of legal 23%
  • Chief operations officer (COO) 9%
  • Chief financial officer (CFO) 9%
  • Operations director 9%
  • Head of finance 7%
  • Chief information officer (CIO) 7%
  • Head of IT 6%
  • Chief digital officer (CDO) 2%
  • Head of digital 1%
  • HR director 1%

Businesses in the UK, USA, China, Australia and Germany were surveyed for the report, Techtonic Shift in Real Estate. 


Further Reading