The digitalisation of the world took on a rapid pace as the coronavirus pandemic swathed through nations, wrecking economic and personal life as people were trapped indoors, waiting for the signal to go out and attempt to renormalise their lives. But, as the pandemic took hold, not only did people have to adapt the changing times, but so did industries.

One such industry was that of the housing market, whose whole essence of showing people round houses was cut off instantly. Rather than being consumed by panic, estate agents came up with new ways of selling homes. Virtual Reality became a big part of that whilst the increase of digital services popping up in the property industry such as http://www.fastcashproperty.co.uk/ helped people get quick quotes and rapid sales.

Virtual Reality came into its own

Virtual Reality is hitting a number of key industries, with gaming, shopping and now even housing taking on the technology to make the job easier. But, VR became instrumental in helping estate agents to survive in such troubled times.

For potential buyers, there is nothing quite like taking a tour of a property to see how it looks and feels. Well, with that being a no-no under the lockdown rules, the only thing that was left for estate agents to do was to introduce virtual viewings – that is, videos that are taken whilst walking around a property to provide a real-life experience, rather than just a simple photograph.

Virtual viewings did exist prior to lockdown, but with the technological developments ensuring an enhancement in quality, it is something which is becoming increasingly popular with potential buyers.

Lockdown made the housing industry explore different ways of working and that old cliche ‘working outside the box’ has perhaps never been more appropriate. Remotely matching homes and buyers without meeting in person enabled companies to keep their sales ticking over whilst ensuring that everyone stays safe.

Online valuations

Another aspect of digital house-selling is that of online valuations. This too was not created during the lockdown, but it was something that certainly took off in the past few months. The first thing to mention is that these are only estimates of what a property should be marketed for. Data from sources as wide ranging as the Land Registry and previous sales in the area are all good indicators for pricing.

Land Registry data creates three prices based on an upper, middle and lower value. And, in some cases, it is possible to partake in a virtual valuation where the seller takes the estate agent on a tour of the property. From that, the agent will have a more precise idea of price, based on what they have seen as well as market data and local sales.

Though agents were unable to visit the property in person, the process itself could still be started.

Why the increase

The lifting of the lockdown has shown to many people that they want to live somewhere different – whether that’s because of the location or style of the house doesn’t really matter. People are being told that it is a buyers’ market, largely because it’s limited to those who dare to risk looking at properties.

And, after months of lockdown, sellers or landlords whose properties have been on the market since before lockdown and who have witnessed deals falling through, are keen to get the ball rolling. That small window of opportunity provided by the property market will not be present for too long as the buoyancy of the market goes up and down. Housing experts have predicted price falls of up to 13% around the UK as the market attempts to rejuvenate following the pandemic.

The housing market is coming of digital age - house image

As such, sellers and landlords have tried their hand at virtual tours to reduce the time it takes between an initial interest and an offer. Investment in state-of-the-art equipment has therefore been a necessity. For example, sales of Matterport’s 3D cameras – which show properties in 360 degrees – increased by 630% in March.

The housing market is coming of digital age - matterport camera

It is this urgency that has stoked the property market’s flames and has enabled the digitalisation of the industry to really take hold.

Written By: Mark Debenham

I do marketing and tech things. Despite my profile picture, I don't live my life in Instagram