Emerging Tech Takes Center Stage at REALTORS® Conference and Expo

SAN DIEGO (November 13, 2021) – Realtors® have a tremendous opportunity to capitalize on the use of emerging technologies in the real estate industry, according to experts at the 2021 REALTORS® Conference and Expo in San Diego. Multiple educational sessions centered around the role of new technologies in the real estate landscape.

On Friday, members of NAR's Strategic Business, Innovation and Technology group discussed artificial intelligence, 5G and other real estate tech trends. Dan Weisman, NAR's director of emerging technology, told the audience that $25 billion per year is being invested in proptech across the globe and $10 billion of that is being invested in the United States.

"There are no signs of real estate tech investments slowing down," Weisman said. "We expect technology to continue to play a critical role in the growth of the industry."

Dave Conroy, NAR's director of emerging technology, explained how artificial intelligence is poised to transform the real estate sector.

"Nearly everyone involved in a real estate transaction is getting value from artificial intelligence," Conroy said. "Automated valuation models are helping Realtors® quickly and easily identifying price comps. Brokers are also using AI to analyze huge amounts of public and private information to make predictions about the likelihood that someone may move in the near future."

Jeb Griffin, NAR's director of strategy and innovation, wrapped things up by showing the audience how consolidation in real estate tech is impacting Realtors® and their businesses.

"Consolidation will continue to benefit the agent, brokerage and brands by reducing costs and lowering the barrier to entry while driving innovation," said Griffin. "We will also see an improvement in efficiency as consolidation will allow agents to work within products, services and technology that will all be able to talk to each other."

On Saturday, at the Emerging Business and Technology Forum, Jane Dzielski, Google's principal analytical lead, shared real estate trends from Google's research team.

From March 2020 to March 2021, Google Maps data showed a 32% decrease in distance commuting to work, compared to a pre-pandemic baseline. Retail and recreation travel were also down by 21%. During that same period, Google searches related to moving were up 21%, which is three times the typical annual growth rate of 7%. There was also a 42% increase in searches related to remodelling.

"Many of us only used to hang out in our home at night," Dzielski said. "Then we realized that this home doesn't meet our needs once we were forced to be in it all of the time."

The forum also featured a panel with three technology companies discussing the best ways for Realtors® to help their clients track and realize the best value of their home. The panel was moderated by Heather Elias, CEO & Founder of Artisan Consulting, and Rodney Helm, Realtor® with Coldwell Banker Burnet and chair of NAR's Emerging Business and Technology Forum.

Ernie Graham is the CEO and co-founder of Homebot, a platform that keeps clients engaged with agents, brokers and lenders by keeping them informed about the value of their home. His company has found that homeowners have changed how they view their homes.

"The biggest trend we've seen over the past five years is that homeowners used to use words like 'liability' to describe their home," Graham said. "More recently, new tools and technologies have helped homeowners understand that their home is absolutely an asset."

Brian Lent is co-Founder and CEO of Plunk, a platform that empowers owners to build wealth through their homes by helping them determine the best value-add remodel work that can be done through heavy analytics. He stressed the importance that home valuations will have on future real estate technologies.

"The total housing stock, as an asset class, is the largest in the world, but the pricing is not very transparent," Lent said. "It gets priced when the homes are sold. To enable these new technologies and blockchains of the future, we need real-time valuations for homes."

Teresa Grobecker is the head of Growth of Milestones, an end-to-end platform that creates collaboration throughout the entire home buying and selling process. She urged the audience to add a new piece of technology to their real estate arsenal next year.

"There are so many new tech companies with a primary focus on data and the science of real estate," Grobecker said. "I want everyone to explore these companies, including those that NAR and Second Century Ventures have invested in, and figure out a way to make one new piece of technology part of how you do business in 2022."

The National Association of Realtors® is America's largest trade association, representing more than 1.5 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

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