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Move over Fintech: Why 2018 will be the year proptech takes hold

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Over the past decade, different industries and markets across the UK have witnessed how new technological innovations can transform the way consumers, investors and organisations are able to conduct their business. While a huge sector in itself, the tech industry is increasingly spawning new niches, resulting in the rise of subsectors such as fintech and medtech, which have grabbed the headlines in recent years.

Once buzzwords, these terms have now become commonplace within the realm of business and general society. Fintech is an ideal case study, demonstrating the constructive role of technology in radically altering the way people and businesses are able to manage their finances.

2017 has sustained the momentum of years past, and there is little indication of the UK’s tech industry slowing down over the coming 12 months. And as we cast our gaze to the exciting prospects on offer in 2018, it’s important to consider the next wave of technological innovations set to grab the headlines next year, and in particular, a sector which has only recently begun to embrace new tech solutions – property.

The UK’s property market is important for two reasons. First, with the total value of all houses in the UK greater than £6 trillion, the market is an integral component of the wider UK economy. Second to this, the sheer monetary value of the market means that significant financial transactions are occurring on a daily basis between buyers, sellers, agencies, landlords and tenants.

Given that the vast majority of UK adults are somehow connected to the property market, be it as homeowners, landlords and/or tenants, it seems natural for the emergence of tech solutions to improve lines of communications and enhance transparency. While initially slow in the uptake, 2017 has been defined by the notable emergence of proptech solutions which are transforming how people are able to rent, buy and sell.

The number of proptech start-ups operating across the nation is rising, with 45% backed by private equity, venture capital or crowdfunding in the 12 months leading to April 2017. Moreover, two UK proptech companies announced fundraisings of over £45 million between them in September, demonstrating the sheer growth potential of this segment of the tech industry.

2017 has laid down the foundations for the proptech industry to truly evolve over the coming year. Not only does it offer innovative solutions for those seeking to buy and complete on a property purchase, it also caters to the rental market by offering effective lines of communication between landlord and tenant, protecting each party’s interest and bringing outdated processes into the digital age.

Digital solutions have a positive role to play in enhancing existing practices within the property space. And these solutions will continue to be driven by the entrepreneurial spirit of start-ups motivated to do away with problems plaguing the industry: huge deposits, unethical gazumping, overlooked tenancy rights and poorly maintained rental houses, to name but a few. 2018 will be a significant year for proptech, and as the sector continues to grow, I’m excited to see where the next 12 months will take us.

This was a guest post by Leon Ifayemi, CEO and co-founder of student lettings app SPCE.

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