How Connectivity Has Changed the Real Estate Game

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How Connectivity Has Changed the Real Estate Game

by Sachin Shenolikar
Shutterstock image; CBRE Blueprint
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Monday, July 27, 2015 - 7:05am

CAMPAIGN: CBRE Environmental Sustainability


The three most important attributes for any property are location, location, location—or, at least, that’s what we’ve heard for the past many decades. But does this hold true in today’s globalized, hyper-connected economy?

Technology is transforming the way we live and work and the decisions we make. Location is still important, but in an age of improved mobility for businesses and customers, the relationship and interdependence between physical and virtual spaces has changed drastically. As technology continues to evolve, its impact on the real estate industry will get even stronger.

One area that has seen major change due to improved mobile connectivity is e-commerce. The U.S. Department of Commerce reported that e-commerce sales for the first quarter of 2015 were estimated at $80.3 billion, a 14.5 percent increase from the first quarter of 2014.

Retailers are looking to balance the number of physical stores that provide strong reinforcement of their brand characteristics while also expanding their online platforms. Futurist and author Scott Steinberg maintains that it is crucial for these two components to complement each other.

“Many people assume that e-commerce is a complete and total replacement for brick-and-mortar shopping,” he says. “But in actuality, there’s room for both to play.”

Steinberg says technologies such as augmented reality are changing the way we shop. The Layar app, for instance, is an augmented reality platform that uses cameras on devices like smartphones to inject virtual elements into real-world images in real time.

However, there is still value in researching products online and then either trying them out or purchasing them at a brick-and-mortar retailer.

“Our children have been born into a digital environment where technology offers them an extension of—never a substitution for—their physical spaces,” says Adolfo Ramírez-Escudero, president, CBRE Spain and recent author of El Nuevo Paradigma Inmobiliario, published in El Mundo.

Technology has also changed the way consumers find accommodations. Today, most people younger than 30 find housing to rent or buy only through online portals such as Airbnb or Trulia.

This has resulted in a major shift in the decision-making process. For example, a greater number of people have switched from buying summer homes to exchanging accommodation with strangers in other countries. The reason: The latter offers broader, more flexible options that can be tailored to the consumer’s desired lifestyle.

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Keywords: Technology | Business & Trade | CBRE | CBRE Blueprint | Environment & Climate Change | Real Estate | Social Innovation & Entrepreneurship | connectivity

CAMPAIGN: CBRE Environmental Sustainability