Monday 15 Jul 2024
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PETALING JAYA (Jan 21): In the Rehda Institute’s CEO Series sessions held on Thursday (Jan 20), Juwai IQI Holdings co-founder and non-executive chairman Georg Chmiel reckoned that the Covid-19 pandemic has significantly changed buyer behaviour in terms of the requirement of a home office or second home.

Juwai IQI is an international real estate technology group.

“People tried to avoid crowded places back then and do not like to use public transport, leading to a rise in demand for cars. There are people in the western countries who also move to remote places. All of these happened two years ago and people predicted that city centres would be empty, but this has not happened. In fact, people have come back but kept their places outside the cities and tend to have multiple locations to live in, as living spaces have become a birthplace to many,” said Chmiel during his presentation of “Emerging Asia-Pacific residential housing and technology trends post Covid-19”.

He noted that mental health was also quite a challenge due to the isolation of the pressure system of having children getting schooled at home. Hence, having spaces in the property to make it more liveable is extremely important

Meanwhile, there has been an increased number of virtual tours since the pandemic and this proves that videos have become an important part of marketing. "Now, the metaverse is starting to open up in the early stage and numerous people who are getting used to working from home while still working in the company in a kind of virtual world are more open to other virtual concepts," said Chmiel.

With stronger demand for ESG and the rise of 5Gs, Chmiel said certain things are now possible and better bandwidth will allow a number of things in smart housing. For instance, companies in China are rising very strongly in getting significant investments for smart housing related features such as energy efficiency, digital twin, building management, smart building, smart home and package storage.

He stated that the demand for business partners of the developers have also shifted. “In the past, it was sufficient to provide leads but nowadays, especially during the pandemic, a lead does not really help much because if the lead could not be converted, what is the purpose of having a lead? Thus, the demand for classified portals is far more into results, and just paying for an advertising space is no longer attractive, which also means that the old practice of portals that will one day replace agents is not true.”

There is also a rise of technology on mobile users and new marketing channels whereby a vast majority of people, especially in Asian countries, will soon be running around with mobile phones and because the way property is being sold in future is changing. “Spurred by the pandemic and lockdowns, live streaming has been adopted by traditional industries as a major new and effective marketing channel. For example, Taobao live attracted over 5,000 estate agents from more than 500 brokers, across nearly 100 cities in China,” said Chmiel.

Another trend would be the ASEAN super application, which is an extension to a normal application that one usually has on his or her phone. Chmiel explained that these apps are required in the real estate space because certain other infrastructure elements do not exist. “If you think of the average agent in the country, they do not have funds or the means to have a full blown customer relationship system. In other countries, people still operate with different systems. For example, an individual has a fully scaled back-office system, stock management system, billing system as well as an assistant to sign contracts, but some of these signatures are in development because certain legal hoops have to be overcome.”

That being said, the entire landscape will change because hundreds of people with mobile phones hold a real estate office in their pocket and do not need to invest in a complex building.  

Chmiel highlighted that, however, what is still missing is a good solution for financing. The main hurdle is always access to financing, which slows down the real estate market. It was not just the inability to visit the property during the pandemic, but also to get the property financed. This is where the rise of blockchain technology will make the financial industry more transparent as participants are able to have a decentralised recording system and track what is happening in the system. “The two key aspects are the crypto and non-fungible tokens (NFTs). An NFT is a non-interchangeable unit of data that can be stored on a blockchain and cannot be traded or exchanged at equivalency. This differs from fungible tokens like cryptocurrencies, which are identical to each other, and as such, can be used as a medium for commercial transactions,” he said.

Crypto, meanwhile, refers to any form of currency that exists digitally or virtually and uses cryptography to secure transactions. “It is beneficial for financing and title transfers as these cryptocurrencies do not just trade money but also trade any types of contract faster. Cryptocurrency with higher transaction speed leads to the most efficient cryptocurrency. This means that the higher the transaction speed of the blockchain is, the better its ability is to transfer data from one party to the other and confirm transactions,” Chmiel added.

Edited ByWong King Wai
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