Housing Minister announces digital revolution for the property sector

Housing Minister Esther McVey had announced plans to bring about a digital revolution in the property sector by releasing data held by local bodies to enable the UK PropTech sector to thrive.

The measures will open up Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) data for the first time in a transparency drive and enable PropTechs to obtain things like energy performance certificates and the square footage information of properties.

A national index of all brownfield data will be published, simplifying and improving the quality of Brownfield Land Registers to help developers to find brownfield land to build on.

She is holding a roundtable discussion with some of the 700 PropTech firms in the UK who are helping house builders and communities all over the country.

The Government believes that the UK PropTech sector, a growing industry potentially worth £6 billion in the UK, is leading the world in the property building and buying market and the sector already receives 10% of global PropTech investment.

Roundtable participants include Urban Intelligence, a tool that helps developers and landowners to locate development sites more easily, the Future Fox which is transforming community engagement in the planning process, enabling developers and local authorities to engage a much larger and more diverse range of voices in creating positive planning outcomes and Wayhome which aspires to make home ownership more realisable for many more people by co-investing in property with its customers.

‘We’ve had revolutions in the way that financial services, online banking and transport are provided, turning once unimaginable possibilities into everyday realities. Now it’s the turn of the UK property market,’ said McVey.

‘Whatever home buyers prioritise, whether it’s the quality of local schools, the probability of getting a seat on a train, or having easy access to leisure facilities, this technology could transform the way we find and purchase homes,’ she pointed out.

‘And new technology will link builders to brownfield sites more easily, enhance how developers engage with local communities, help builders deliver new homes and modernise the way we buy and sell land and houses, cutting the time it takes to get housing from the drawing board to families getting the keys,’ she explained.

‘The UK property sector is on the cusp of a digital revolution. It’s time to harness new technology to unlock land and unleash the potential of housebuilders in all parts of the country and to revolutionise the way in which we buy homes,’ she added.

In addition, new technologies could allow communities to see models and interactive maps of planned development rather than one or two pictures, and comment on planning applications online, on phones and on the go in the same way that they use online banking services.