Housing minister calls for PropTech digital revolution

The housing minister Esther McVey has detailed plans to release data held by local bodies to enable the UK PropTech sector to thrive and “bring about a digital revolution in the property sector”.

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

The government will also introduce a national index of all brownfield data, simplifying and improving the quality of Brownfield Land Registers to help developers find brownfield land to build on.

Yesterday, McVey hosted a roundtable discussion with some of the 700 PropTech firms in the UK.

The 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 per cent of global PropTech investment.

McVey said: “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.

“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.”

Her department explained that 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.

Prospective home buyers could use commute time calculators when they are looking at properties; explore financing options to help buyers afford their new home or enable gradual home ownership; and receive step-by-step assistance to help them navigate the buying process.

Finally, the moves could help developers to identify sites so that more houses are built more quickly, and locate suitable brownfield sites suitable for development.

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