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Property Natter - This is a time when PropTech means business

Well as week’s come and go, this one’s been a bit of a downer but it is always worth remembering that they do just that – they come and they go. The economic storm clouds are gathering just as they’ve gathered many times before. It’s going to be a tough old time over the next few months but I’ve no doubt we’ll get through it…..but more of that later.

In the meantime, I want to set the gloom and doom aside and talk about something that gives reasons to be optimistic about the future – PropTech.

And strangely, the rather daunting economic forecast provides the perfect backdrop to see just how far we, as an industry, will go to win business when the going gets tough.


Whether we’re involved in planning, designing, building, letting or selling homes, that is the challenge in today’s market and to succeed we have to use every weapon at our disposal and that means embracing innovation and technology, using it wisely and squeezing every last drop of advantage and efficiency that we can gain from it.

Why? Because if we don’t, our competitors surely will. And then they will have the edge, they will have the margin, they will have speed of reaction to survive the slings and arrows that we currently face.

Tomorrow’s marketplace

Hats off this week to Neil Cobbold, MD of automated rental payment and client accounting specialists, PayProp UK, for his crystal ball gazing in a PropTech Today column that we featured on Thursday.

Neil was reflecting on just how far we’ve come in grasping technology and, as he wrote in his article, we were a bit slow to get off the mark!

Since the early 2000s, however, we have seen technology infiltrate every nook and cranny of the housing journey and the digital transformation has only just begun.

Only last week we announced the launch of ValPal AI – which uses the latest generative AI technology to help agents create property descriptions in a fraction of the time it used to take. This new tool is available to test drive at https://valpal.magictools.ai/. It will save agents loads of time, hours of painstaking, head-scratching effort – time better spent chasing leads and finding new business.

ValPal – owned by Angels Media which also owns the ‘Today’ titles – is forever looking to find ways to make things easier for agents to automate, to take the drudge out of daily tasks – helping to create modern, streamlined, businesses that are prepared for tomorrow’s marketplace.

And ValPal is not alone. Whatever your niche in the property sector, technology is being developed that will improve your performance. See what’s out there, find out what works best for you and embrace it because today’s innovation is tomorrow’s necessity.

O still small voice of calm

The extent of the challenge ahead was laid bare when the Monetary Policy Committee of the Bank of England raised the base rate for the 13th (unlucky for everyone) time this week. It now stands at 5%.

Why? Because inflation – which was 8.7% in April – remained exactly the same in May. Economics pundits used to call it ‘sticky’, now it’s being called ‘stubborn’ tomorrow it might be ‘relentless.’

The move cast many commentators into despondency although there are still some voices of calm out there.

Here’s Rightmove’s mortgage expert, Matt smith, commenting on the rise:

“The Bank appears to have opted for a larger Base Rate rise this month than some commentators predicted to try and address the underlying issues driving inflation, and it continues to forecast that inflation will drop sharply in the second half of the year. Based on this message and the action taken, we wait to see the impact this has on swap rates as this will have a direct impact on mortgage interest rates and whether or not we see further increases in the coming weeks. If today’s news does provide some reassurance to the markets, then we’d hope to see some stability return to the mortgage market which will help those looking to take out a mortgage this year to plan ahead.

“Our real-time data still shows that more people are sending enquiries to estate agents to view homes for sale than at this time in 2019. We’ve also seen daily visits to our Mortgage in Principle service increase by 53% over the last month as more people look to understand what they can afford to borrow and repay on a mortgage. This indicates to us that for many people right now, higher interest rates are leading them to assess their budgets and what they can afford rather than put their plans on hold.”

Encouraging. And spare a thought for the poor souls in Turkey who, this week, endured a Base Rate rise of almost double, to 15%, in an effort to combat 40% inflation.

The grass isn’t always greener.

Until next time,



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