Emerging Technology

Identifying and researching emerging tech with the potential to enrich or disrupt the real estate industry.

Seize New Opportunities As Real Estate Technology Goes Global

The way global real estate markets interact with technology ecosystems is undergoing dramatic change. Multiple listings services (MLSs) and brokerages across continents are modernizing markets and data systems that were formerly analog and fragmented.

The evidence is everywhere:

  • AI tech from Spain is powering data platforms in the U.S.
  • Canadian brokers are using offer management tools from Australia.
  • Turkey and Ecuador are creating MLS systems built in Georgia and France.
  • Egypt is creating an international marketplace for the Middle East with American software.
  • Floor plan tech from Finland, integrated into MLS software in North Dakota, is powering marketplaces in Romania.

The tech serving these marketplaces isn’t fenced in by borders. And as it continues to make real estate information more transparent globally, the world gets smaller. Trends toward proptech mergers and acquisitions, data standardization, MLS growth, and REALTOR®-led trade evangelization are creating greater opportunities for cross-border marketing, business referrals, and international investment.

Personal Technology Experience, Global Reach

Think about your daily technology experience. Virtually all of the devices you’re using talk to one another. Your computers are talking to cloud services, A/V systems and smart home gadgets. Your phone is connecting to headsets, cars and planes.

These seamless experiences exist across the world because your devices can speak universal technology languages like Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. They’re not inhibited by geography, governments or corporate brands. These universal languages provide you with global benefits.

Real estate systems are beginning their advancement into international technology interoperability. In dozens of countries around the world, new technology projects, partnerships and marketplace organizations are accelerating the interconnectedness of real estate information.

Global Foundations

Over the past 20 years, much of the global financial investment in real estate technology has been focused on consumer-facing websites and apps. While this evolution of advertising portals greatly increased access to visibility for sellers, the underlying information infrastructure of the industry was still greatly fragmented. The display tech worked, but the listing content lacked accuracy, breadth, and timeliness.

At the core of this disconnect between quality data and consumer consumption were professional and technology deficiencies. Many countries lacked then (and still do today) organized real estate marketplaces with rules that ensured exclusive listing information would be accurately distributed to professionals and consumers. And technology systems were generally created to solve proprietary problems in single marketplaces without regard for global opportunities.

A single property in a market like this might be advertised for sale on a portal at multiple different prices by multiple brokers, sometimes even long after it was available. The tech on its own couldn’t solve this professional problem. The data these markets needed required an organized foundation.

NAR Global’s initiatives provide that pathway. Efforts like the NAR Global Ambassador program have made great inroads in helping organized marketplaces grow through professional standards and MLS rules.

As of today, NAR Global has representatives and partners in over 100 international trade organizations. These ambassadors advise on the development of organized marketplaces to ensure the professional services and the property information in these markets fuel quality consumer experiences.

Universal Technology Languages, Local Human Languages

Technology systems need to connect universally across borders. But they also need to connect locally with humans.

Latin America’s property professionals and consumers require technology to cover multiple countries’ unique versions of Spanish and Portuguese. Canadian systems are required by law to display both English and French-Canadian information.

These human languages work directly with new technology systems’ underlying data languages. Like Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, the Real Estate Standards Organization (RESO) Data Dictionary standard is the language that connects property information across borders.

Local languages are layered across the top of websites, apps and reports for brokers and consumers. No matter the human language used to display the information, the underlying RESO Data Dictionary language allows property data from an MLS in Rio de Janeiro to be integrated with a broker’s listings in Montreal seamlessly.

Building the Market and the Tech Globally

The global desire for organized markets is just as clear as the need for internationalized tech. This past year, representatives of 33 countries’ trade organizations, across five continents, convened an international MLS forum in Paris to advance the parallel initiatives of improving professional marketplaces and technology.

New MLS organizations are emerging in these countries, creating a strong foundation of rules that encompass global realities and unique local needs. This baseline for quality marketplace information is growing quickly in Latin America, Europe, Canada and the Middle East.

The uniqueness of these markets is a critical element in developing their marketplaces. While the technology to serve transactions can be very similar across markets, idiosyncrasies of local practices add important differentiation.

For example, a Canadian experience is far different than one in Latin America. The Canadian Real Estate Association provides a national data feed and property portal that include standardized, aggregated datasets. These services are fed from the country’s MLSs where brokers create listings.

In much of Mexico, the Caribbean, Central America, and South America, the brokers are using customer relationship management (CRM) systems to track clients and create property listings. Those CRMs become the suppliers of data to the MLS. MLS as a downstream aggregator of CRM listings might look upside down from a Canadian perspective, but the technology systems for these markets can support the differing practices.

There will always be a need to support the different local, legal, and language-based features of marketplaces across the world as new technology ecosystems grow. Doing so with an underlying universal standardization is what allows for cross-market interoperability so that all geographies can benefit from the global opportunities ahead.

Be Ready for Global Tech to Broaden Our Marketplaces

Transparent information through universal technology continues to make the world smaller. This trend makes the need for interoperable systems across borders not only attractive but necessary. Technology companies from all over the world, certified in the same technology standards, are serving markets on each other’s shores. Competition, innovation and business benefits are growing through this global expansion.

The opportunities for real estate professionals to improve their international relationships, marketplaces and business bottom line will continue to grow alongside our interconnected global technology experiences. If you’re interested in gaining more perspective on proptech from a local, national or international viewpoint, join us at the RESO Spring Conference in Birmingham, Ala., the RESO Fall Conference in Frisco, Texas, and the International MLS Forum in Milan, Italy.


Real Estate Technology

NAR powers innovation in real estate. We champion it, we cultivate it. We support those who are going to change the future of real estate, the way we live and the way REALTORS® work. Learn more.