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By James Dilgul

Head of Marketing, Fixflo


Proptech and the future of the UK’s economy and property market

Although Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak’s Spring Statement did not include many announcements regarding housing, it did provide a good idea of the direction of the UK’s economy, including tax rises and tax cuts. From this, we can extrapolate what’s in store for the country’s private rental sector.

What did Sunak announce?

A 19% cut to basic income tax and a 5p per litre reduction in fuel duty is good news for homeowners, as is the announcement that those with energy-saving materials like solar panels, heat pumps or insulation will pay zero VAT for the next five years. However, these savings are undercut somewhat by a National Insurance increase from £9,600 to £12,570. Combined with rising fuel bills as a result of the Ukraine conflict, many⁠—both occupiers and landlords⁠—will be looking to tighten their belts.


With a forecast that the UK economy will grow by 3.8 per cent this year (substantially down from a previous expectation of 6.0 per cent), and projections for growth of just 1.8 per cent in 2023, and then 2.1 per cent, 1.8 per cent and 1.7 per cent in the following three years, we can assume that the purchase of property will continue to be out of reach for many. This will place additional strain on the private rental sector, especially in major cities like London, where demand continues to outstrip supply.

What does this mean for agents?

These economic pressures, combined with pending changes to regulation such as EPC ratings that could require substantial investment, may cause some landlords to choose to exit the market entirely. With fewer landlords in the market, we can expect the property portfolios of those who stay to expand. The UK’s shortage of private rented property provides a prime opportunity for landlords who are able to purchase and handle a large portfolio.

Furthermore, thanks to the increased regulation the Government will explore in its forthcoming rental reform white paper, these landlords will want to work with agents that can guarantee high levels of service, continual compliance and fast response to repairs and maintenance issues. To stay competitive, agents will need to ensure they can meet these expectations by delivering consistent, dependable results, keeping properties full and dealing with issues as soon as they arise before they can escalate and cause further problems.

The need for PropTech

With larger portfolios to manage than before, agents should embrace any opportunity to work more efficiently and save time. Proptech solutions for key functions such as repairs and maintenance management can greatly reduce the time taken on manual tasks using features such as works order scheduling, reminders and automation. This allows you to focus on those duties that can’t be facilitated using technology, such as finding tenants and building relationships and trust with both landlord and occupier. This will allow you to deliver dependable results and exceed customer expectations.

*James Dilgul is the head of marketing at Fixflo, the repairs and maintenance management software provider

  • Andrew Stanton PROPTECH-PR A Consultancy for Proptech Founders

    Some good thoughts here - though I think all the micro-parts of lettings can be digitally replicated James, boosted by AI and ramped through by careful UX and the strength of cloud computing, in fact I often wonder exactly what parts of lettings and residental and commercial sales - humans - actually do 'better' than machines.

    And agents spare me that real estate is a people business, of course it is and that is why people doing property get so exasparated by the slow and inefficient level of service, big data should = consumer excellence, not a digital void/silence or perceived indifference. 32-years in those trenches dealing with thousands of members of the public looking to transact business, mostly in the age of human service - was always too few troops and far too many battles to win.

    So here is a thought - JCB's are better at digging than humans with a spade, one is using the principle of oil under pressure to achieve big holes quickly, in fact there are increasingly construction Bots being guided by separate humans with control packs - but you get the picture.

    Well imagine reale state; the plan, build, sale, let and asset management of property was done on paper - you do not have to imagine it still largely is ... hence 20% of construction cost = mistakes.

    Then instead of human labour - men using spades to dig holes, you use software and coding to dig out the gold, you have all the ecosystem running on a very modern framework.

    Obviously as I have had published a couple of years ago - with huge workforces globally, utilising humans is a cheaper option - but for how long? As the 'needs' for the digitally aware consumer beat ever louder on the doors of corporates tasked with e-risking their business models.

    The victorians may have laid lots of railway track with shovel and spade weilding navigators, but in 2023 - I see locally there are a fair amount of robots in the construction mix, and if contech is getting on board maybe it is a sign for all.


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