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Portals and onliners 'force agents into innovation' says global advisory firm

A mergers and acquisitions specialist says traditional agencies have been pushed into becoming more innovative by the rise of portals and online operators.

Quayle Munro, which advises property firms in this country and overseas, has compiled a report on software, data and analytics in the global real estate industry.

It says that compared to other industries such as financial services, real estate has been slow to embrace technological change - but that over the past decade the residential property sector has been driven to change to compete with, and get the best from, increasingly influential portals and now online agencies.


It says agents “have been forced to respond to the changing expectations of consumers who have grown accustomed to the convenience of e-commerce, smart devices and increased connectivity” and singles out Rightmove, Zoopla and Purplebricks as drivers for change in the UK. 

These and other listings platforms have themselves diversified and offer “services that move new aspects of the transaction, such as transaction and financial support, offer submission and valuation booking, online” says the report. 

It says that although this may be seen by some as moving estate agents further away from some processes, “it is also making their operations more efficient.”

The report says: “Software companies such as The Property Software Group (acquired by Zoopla) and [US firm] Contactually and Commissions Inc (owned by Fidelity) are making it easier for agents to increase marketing capabilities, manage databases and automate deal processes.”

It says that around the world listings portals are increasingly diversifying through the creation of digital platforms “to service the entire transaction.”

The report highlights that this explains a growing worldwide trend for mergers and acquisitions in the burgeoning PropTech sector - British examples cited include ZPG’s acquisition of PSG and Hometrack, and the investment by British private equity operator Cinven in the Spanish Tinsa portal.

Quayle Munro says this trend will continue, with the residential property sector continuing to lead commercial property in its enthusiasm for change.

You can access the report here.


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