Written by Ramesh Nair
In the current technology-driven market environment, data rules. For India’s real estate market, the importance of data was underlined by the implementation of the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act (RERA). Now, data related to realty projects will be available to all.
As more and more projects are registered under RERA, there will be a lot more data on real estate projects and markets — earlier classified or confidential with developers or real estate consultants — available in the public domain.
The data now being made available provide insights on projects as well as their promoters. It includes previously vague or hidden information such as project construction status, number of apartments completed, booking status, proposed date of project completion, project infrastructure status in terms of water supply and internal roads, available car parking, among others.
Apart from RERA websites, data is appearing online through new technology tools and social media. Here’re three fundamental shifts:
The market will yield headline numbers, which all major market stakeholders will accept as they will be corroborated
by the government data. These will be big picture numbers like the aggregate city-wise absorption, upcoming supply and vacancy levels.
Like inflation and census, these numbers, which emerge for residential markets, will be universally accepted. Data discrepancies among existing data owners will be addressed through a new reference point — government data.
Deeper and more accurate analytics will become the order of the day. With easy data availability, firms will now be
able to crack the code by analysing granular data for better business decisions. The analysis and interpretation of this data will become the subject matter of debate at various forums.
This will bring with it increased importance of field surveys, which highlight possible future trends — an input most investors will look for more keenly. Surveyors will be equipped with the right kind of big data to use in on-field surveys to analyse trends in the real estate sector. For the consumer, the availability of such data will obviously mean much better-informed decision making.
Social media analysis
The ability to predict human behavior through qualitative data analysis of social media like twitter feeds and likes on Facebook and YouTube videos, and similar trends, will be the next big game changer for the real estate sector. Social media data will help in understanding and evaluating data coming from formal sources, and guide researchers towards a more predictive approach. For example, the average number of tweets originating from a city related to food and entertainment over a specified period can guide food and beverage operators to build more in this direction
To be effective, intelligent analysis will necessarily require a mix of both social media and conventional stock, occupancy, vacancy and price data. While the retail and FMCG sectors have already become very active in analysing social media, real estate players will also benefit from getting aggressively into this domain.
Empowerment via data
Google Maps is probably the most widely-used app as it addresses a core need. Similarly, map and satellite images provide 3D, real-time experience of office spaces provided to clients. While walk-throughs by developers are now commonplace in
India, higher forms of information technology (IT)-led experience are already available in other countries and will soon make inroads into India.
The look-touch-feel factor, currently much talked about in retail spaces, will soon have a stronger presence in other real estate segments. While drones to capture 3D views and images will gain popularity, customer relationship management (CRM) tools for capturing data, business development tracking tools for brokers and new apps for capital markets should all become a reality soon. Use of predictive analytics and data science, coupled with modern-day BI tools, will be used more and more to analyse, self-serve and visualise the data.
With new technologies, consumers will be increasingly empowered to experience the spatial dimension of real estate like never before. Between acceptable headline market numbers, more accurate social media analyses and technology-driven real estate experiences, we are indeed on the verge of a tectonic shift in the market.