Property industry at technology tipping point


New Zealand’s property industry has accelerated its investment in technology in response to Covid-19 and embraced new systems and processes at a faster rate than its Australian counterparts, but we still have a long way to go

Six in ten respondents to a survey conducted by the Property Council of New Zealand and software company Yardi still depend on spreadsheets to assess the performance of their portfolios.

The survey of a senior cohort from New Zealand’s property industry sets a data baseline for what is expected to be an annual investigation into attitudes and actions influencing property technology, or proptech.

“Property is New Zealand’s largest industry, generating 15 per cent of our economic activity, nine per cent of jobs and contributing more than $41.2 billion to GDP,” says Property Council New Zealand Chief Executive, Leonie Freeman.

“But until now, we’ve lacked access to information which sheds light on the market saturation and acceleration of the digital tools that drive value in this important industry.”

Almost two thirds (64%) of survey respondents said technology would play a pivotal role in reshaping their real estate portfolios in the next three years. And 95 per cent said the disruption of Covid-19 had driven adoption of digital technology. More than two thirds (68%) are now using Cloud-based productivity suites, for instance.

Eighty-six per cent of respondents thought New Zealand trailed the rest of the world for tech adoption – despite being further advanced than other markets in many areas. For example, 77 per cent of Kiwi property companies use specialist accounting and finance system, compared with 22 per cent of Australian companies.

“Kiwis are always looking to work smarter, and being small, lean and agile means we can pivot quickly towards new ideas and innovations,” Freeman says.

“This report sets a baseline which demonstrates New Zealand’s property industry is proactive and positive about technology and adoption. Technology is now at the core of every successful property business.”

Yardi’s Senior Regional Director Bernie Devine agrees.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has taught New Zealand’s property leaders to prepare for ongoing unpredictability with new systems and processes that simplify complexity and enable flexibility.”

Survey respondents noted business process automation (41%), big data analytics (27%) and artificial intelligence (18%) as the three technologies most likely to be adopted over the next three years.

“This survey gives property industry leaders a clear sense of where they stand and exposes areas for investment and focus,” Devine adds.

“Property leaders have emerged from the crisis with a new understanding of the role of the technology and we can expect investment to grow dramatically in the next few years.”