Accurate information is vital to a functional and prosperous property market. With demand for homes recently reaching soaring levels, a holistic data strategy will help improve the efficiency of the sales and rental processes and in turn the satisfaction of client.
Digitalising the property buying and selling process
The average length of time for a conveyancing process is 150 days. In England and Wales, the Conveyancing Association states that there are 163 different data sets required for review as part of residential transactions.
The Home Buying and Selling Group, which is made up of representatives from the property industry, including Propertymark, has developed the ‘Buying and Selling Property Information’ (BASPI) dataset designed to be the ‘one source of truth’ when it comes to upfront information about a property.
The Geospatial Commission asserts that greater availability of data earlier in the process would lead to fewer failed late-stage transactions, as professionals and consumers would be equipped to make better decisions earlier in the buying process. Additionally, renters’ capability to make informed decisions would be enhanced by being able to check a landlord’s regulatory compliance and access to reliable information about the condition of the property.
HM Land Registry has launched its Strategy 2022+ that aims to cut delays for homebuyers and influence the market to realise the potential of cutting-edge digital tools and solutions.
Renters (Reform) embraces digital development
Through the Renters (Reform) Bill, the UK Government is legislating for a new private rented sector database in England that will support the future Privately Rented Property Portal digital service.
Private landlords letting property in England will be required to register details about the properties they let on the new service. This service will support the government’s aim to reduce the number of non-decent rented homes by 50% by 2030 and provide local authorities with the tools to enforce standards in the sector.
The Privately Rented Property Portal will help landlords understand and demonstrate compliance with their legal requirements, alongside increasing the information available to a tenant before they decide to rent a property and throughout their renting journey.
The Renters (Reform) Bill, published on 17 May 2023 sets out the UK Government’s objectives for reducing the number of poor-quality homes by 2030 which the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities states is critical to levelling up the country.
A cyber-overhaul of the sector
The property ecosystem employs 1.2 million people and contributes over £100 billion to the UK economy each year, but interactions with the industry remain ‘stubbornly analogue’, whether that’s planning, buying, renting or maintenance.
The UK is already home to a fast-growing and innovative Proptech sector, but further opportunity exists. Greater use of location data, services and applications can enable:
- Deployment of green technologies. Location-linked property attribute data, such as building material, height and roof size and orientation can inform effective deployment of solar panels, heat pumps, insulation, and energy efficiency solutions.
- New property development. Data on ground conditions and local amenities can support identification and more rapid approval of new developments.
- More accurate insurance models: The insurance industry is already using location data to build up comprehensive understanding of a property and its surroundings, including things like flood risk, local traffic and crime rates to model the premiums more accurately is charges,
Scottish Home Reports in action
The conveyancing system in Scotland is different to that in England and Wales. Key differences related to location data are that the seller must provide potential buyers with a ‘Home Report’ on their property and searches can be completed within as little as 24 hours. The Home Report has three parts – a single survey (visual inspection by a chartered surveyor) and valuation, a property questionnaire and an energy report (Energy Performance Certificate). The questionnaire covers:
- the home's council tax band
- any issues that may have affected the home in the past, like fire or storm damage or asbestos
- any alterations or extensions that have been made to the home
- details of any specialist works or guarantees
- details of any notices that might affect the home
A five-year review of the Home Report found that this had reduced multiple surveys and valuations being carried out on the same property, although it was noted that lenders often wanted the data to be refreshed if the property had been on the market for more than 12 weeks.