Why the commercial real estate sector needs proptech solutions now

Despite the pressures created by COVID-19, Asia Pacific continues to be an important and vibrant real estate hub. In fact, there is over USD $40 billion in capital waiting to be deployed into real estate in the region, according to JLL research. Recent industry data also suggests that Asia Pacific will rebound quicker than other global regions.

Equally encouraging; a recent JLL survey reveals that 82% of investors in Hong Kong were committed to investing the same amount or more in 2020 than in the previous year. If we look to Singapore, this percentage increases to 96%.

But despite the optimism of the sector, the situation for investors as they prepare deals can be challenging. Until now, this group has lacked immediate and up-to-date insights into commercial properties, meaning that they have been reliant on time-consuming and often only partially-accurate methods of information gathering – from physical visits to properties, to pouring over complex data-filled reports and spreadsheets. In short, they lack real-time, actionable insights into commercial real estate.

This problem is not limited to investors. Corporate occupiers and CRE brokers face similar challenges when brokering deals. Due to a lack of data transparency, they may not always be able to make the most advantageous leasing decisions for their business, or for their clients.

 

New technologies can help

There is a consensus that the commercial real estate industry needs to change. And fast. It is our long-held belief that technology holds the key to this transformation. 

Both JLL and Risk Integrated firmly believe that technology is set to shape the future of real estate, and that tech-enabled companies will capture market share over the next 10 years. While many in the industry recognise the importance of property technology – or proptech – they have been slow to invest.

JLL and Risk Integrated have come together to bring about an industry-first proptech suite of tools set to transform commercial real estate leasing and investment. OfficeBlocks does this by putting powerful data into the hands of CRE professionals and empowering them to make smarter decisions – reducing risk and maximising return on investment.

The two companies first began working on OfficeBlocks in 2017 driven by client demand. The solution taps into JLL’s comprehensive 25-year industry data sets and overlays this with the cutting-edge AI, machine learning and advanced analytics of Risk Integrated, to give users access to actionable insights that were previously out-of-reach. 

OfficeBlocks takes millions of data points and processes them in a meaningful manner so users uncover commercial real estate data – from rental performance to property availability – at the touch of a button, across all major cities in Asia Pacific.

 

Decision-making even from afar

The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic earlier this has driven increased demand for tech solutions. Much of the cross-border travel that has been a staple of CRE professionals’ work lives is – for the time being at least – out of the question. Even physical in-market visits have been difficult or at times impossible. 

OfficeBlocks is able to give users the data and insights they need remotely, from the comfort of their own home or office. Thanks to AI and machine learning, gone are the days when in-person visits were the only way to ascertain facts about a real estate asset or to assess comparable properties.

In addition to the existing availability of OfficeBlocks in markets including Hong Kong, Singapore, Shanghai and Seoul, we are also looking to roll-out the platforms in key developing cities like Shenzhen and Ho Chi Minh, where the commercial sector is on the rise and tech adoption is very much a way of life.

OfficeBlocks is also continuously gathering customer feedback and using this to further develop our offering. For example, customers have asked for more context to the data in OfficeBlocks to help them compare and understand the buildings and rental performance better. 

With this in mind, we are currently building the ability to see how rents have performed historically and using that data to forecast how rents may perform over the next three to five years in the enterprise Market Intelligence Platform. We expect that this will be available to customers within the next few weeks.

The commercial real estate industry is undoubtedly ready for change. Through OfficeBlocks, JLL and Risk Integrated are taking the industry’s first big step to applying the power of AI and machine learning to revolutionise commercial real estate investment and leasing.

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