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McVey backs PropTech

Words: Laura Edgar
Tech / iStock-547419538

Housing minister Esther McVey has voiced her support for PropTech, saying the UK property sector is ‘on the cusp of a digital revolution’.

There has been a revolution in the way financial services, online banking and transport are provided, she noted, “turning once unimaginable possibilities into everyday realities”.

It is now the turn of the UK property market, said McVey.

The government stated that new technologies could allow communities to see models and interactive maps of planned development and comment on planning applications online – on phones and on the go, similar to online banking.

Developers would be able to identify sites so that more houses could be built more quickly and suitable brownfield sites earmarked more swiftly for development.

McVey, who is hosting a round table discussion with some of the 700 PropTech firms in the UK today (21 October), said: “Whatever homebuyers prioritise, whether it’s the quality of local schools, the probability of getting a seat on a train, or having easy access to leisure facilities, these technologies will transform the way we find and purchase homes.

“And 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.

“The UK property sector is on the cusp of a digital revolution. It’s time to harness new technology to unlock land and unleash the potential of housebuilders in all parts of the country and to revolutionise the way in which we buy homes.”

McVey has asked her team to “push forward” work with PropTech firms to consider how more local data held by local bodies can be released to innovative companies.

In addition, the Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government said it would be opening up data about compulsory purchase orders (CPOs) to make it more transparent. It will enable PropTechs to obtain things like energy performance certificates.

A national index of all brownfield data would also be introduced, "simplifying and improving the quality of brownfield land registers to help developers to find brownfield land to build on”. According to the government, new guidance has been written to support local planning authorities in implementing the new standards.

Image credit | iStock