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AI adoption in property up, but not everyone is on board yet, survey shows

Yardi/Property Council Digital Transformation Report unveils the nuanced perspectives of real estate professionals

The adoption of Artificial Intelligence continues to accelerate in the property sector, but not everyone is shifting gears, according to the latest Yardi/Property Council Digital Transformation Report.

In the survey of 341 property professionals, 35 percent believed AI would usher in a “revolutionary impact” on the sector, with 58 percent recognising it would have some impact.

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However, the impact varies across sectors, with 63 percent of respondents from financial institutions seeing AI as revolutionary compared to only 18 percent of fund managers.

Property Council of Australia Chief Executive Mike Zorbas said 2023 was a breakthrough year for AI and the property sector is actively looking for ways to implement these systems.

“The AI genie is out of the bottle,” Mr Zorbas said.

“AI will transform the property sector for the better. With the disruption caused by automation, artificial intelligence, smart building systems and intelligent devices at every stage of the real estate value chain, business as usual is shifting.

“While strategy is needed to boost productivity through chatbots and co-pilots, leading organisations across the real estate industry are now seeking to harness AI’s capabilities to streamline processes and offer better services,” Mr Zorbas said.

Despite the interest in AI, roughly one-third of survey participants have not yet implemented AI, with an additional 28 percent uncertain about their next course of action. Just over 40 percent are preparing to leverage AI while 26 percent have been implementing systems.

Yardi’s companion survey of Asian property professionals revealed significant anticipation for AI’s impact. In Mainland China, 56 percent foresee groundbreaking changes, while in India 67 percent anticipate dramatic shifts.

Yardi’s Bernie Devine, Senior Regional Director of Asia-Pacific, said despite three years of disruption and pandemic-driven acceleration in property’s digital transformation, 62 percent of respondents still see the property industry lagging in technology adoption.

“This number has risen 12 percent since our 2022 survey, showing that the industry is feeling that the property sector is missing out on the current boom in technology,” Mr Devine said.

“Only nine percent of respondents feel our region is leading the way, in stark contrast to our neighbours in Asia.

“However, we are clearly seeing the swift advancement and implementation of AI and tech solutions prompting companies to reassess their technology strategies to keep up with the pack.

“While there is no question real estate companies must proceed with caution when it comes to AI, most respondents to our survey acknowledged AI as a game-changer and are looking at ways to implement these systems into their business.

“AI chatbots are simplifying lease negotiations, rent collection and maintenance scheduling. These are merely a glimpse of what lies ahead,” he said.

In contrast to the 62 percent who thought real estate lagged other sectors in technology, 31 percent thought it was on par with others and seven percent felt it was leading the way.

The real estate industry is prioritising organisational improvements, with 45 percent aiming to streamline business processes and 30 percent focusing on enhancing data timeliness and accuracy as their top information management priorities for 2024.

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