Leveraging technology in Malaysia’s housing and property sector

By Adlene Hanna 

In a fast-changing world of technology, it’s a fierce world of adapt-or-die. The property sector has been adjusting accordingly, with online sales campaigns and virtual showrooms, especially in these pandemic times where people are wary of in-person contact. 

Smart home technology is also becoming growing in popularity and is expected to soon become commonplace. 

How will these new technology trends prove useful and beneficial to both developers and buyers? 

Speaking at the KSI 2020 National Housing and Property Summit, Georg Chmiel, executive chairman of Juwai IQI Holdings, opined that it is not technology that pushes progress, but the change in society. 

“There’s a study backed by Microsoft that said over the last two months, we have had more technological change than you normally have over three years. But the key is really, this wasn’t driven by technology. Zoom was always around but nobody used it because there was no need for it. 

“And that at the essence makes a good or “failing” disruptive company. It is really all about solving problems in the real world, making things easier by using technology.” 

He noted that not long ago, many people predicted that the traditional real estate agent will be replaced by portals.

“To be very frank, it’s not true. Neither the portal nor the real estate agency, the traditional path, is the future model. The two things coming together is the future technology solving real business problems. 

“Portals generating leads didn’t really achieve anything because nobody could act on the leads and real estate offices, which are people trying to sell without leads will not achieve anything. I only recommend two things together. There are still a few things to do, but I do believe that the process is almost fully automated.” 

Echoing Chmiel, Veritas Design Group director and group president David Mizan Hashim believes that digital led societal changes have had a profound impact on house designs not just in Malaysia, but in the global scene as well. According to him, there are five very practical areas that every developer who wants to remain with this game will have to think about.

“The five trends that are going to change the nature of this game is number one, big data. Number two is social media. The third one is smartphones, a very practical micro application. 

“On a larger urban scale are smart cities. So especially if you’re a developer, playing a bigger scale of things, understanding what that’s all about. The last one is BIM – building information modelling.”

He said that those were the five areas that people haven’t spent a lot of time thinking about in his own practice. 

“Big data makes it easier for developers to decide what to build, where to build, when to build, for whom and at what price. As for social media, we all know it has an incredible impact on our industry. 

“That is the primary communication of young people today. They don’t read newspapers or magazines, they don’t watch TV, you’re wasting your money on all those advertising. You need to think through this new paradigm of social media. The Y generation gets its information and makes decisions on the property to buy through their friends. That’s how they decide when they’re going to buy your apartment.” 

He also noted that the role of online influencers are becoming very important and property endorsements on their blogs can make a big difference in property sales. 

“Another interesting thing is the mobile app developers provide for marketing, so you can download an app on your phone, and you can hear all about a project. Now, those apps will be used to track the project saving. So you can now track the progress on the site. It’s also great for stage billing.” 

Unexpectedly, another impact of smartphones and social media is that it has even changed the landscape of property development. 

“There are developers out there which are targeted for Airbnb. You know, they particularly tell the buyers if you buy a unit, Airbnb is great for that. And of course, Grab has changed how parking lots will be built,” David said, bringing further emphasis to Chmiel’s sentiment on society-driven progress. 

This article was written by Adlene Hanna of PropertyAdvisor.my, Malaysia’s most comprehensive source of property data, property analytics and insights.

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