More real estate firms venture into ‘PropTech’ as pandemic continues

THE PROPERTY industry is maximizing digital opportunities amid the pandemic, with more companies expected to incorporate technology in their operations.

“This ‘new normal business model’ integrates technology to property now known as PropTech. Through PropTech, technology is maximized to create new opportunities in real estate,” Christophe Vicic, chairperson of the PropertyGuru Philippines Property Awards and country head for JLL Philippines, said in an e-mail interview.

Like other industries, property companies have to catch up on latest trends and are subjected to new standards of success.

“Adaption of environment, social, governance, (ESG), and sustainability; venturing into real estate investment trusts (REITs); and digitalization will be some of the new ways to measure property resilience and success,” Mr. Vicic said.

Consumers are also watching to see how these property firms are adjusting to the changing business environment.

Before the pandemic, Mr. Vicic said the Philippine property sector “thrived” compared to its peers in the region. However, the pandemic forced landlords and property managers to shift gear as demand plummeted.

Property developers also faced problems in completing projects, as construction activities were limited due to quarantine restrictions.

“While it encountered a few blows due to COVID-19, we are remaining optimistic and we see bright spots that will continue to facilitate the growth of Metro Manila’s real estate landscape,” Mr. Vicic said.

Even as the construction sector is “slow in adapting digital advances,” more industry players will turn to technology to boost operations.

“With the rising costs of materials and labor, construction professionals are looking into using technology and innovative construction materials in managing their costs,” Mr. Vicic noted.

For this year’s edition of the 2021 Philippines Property Awards, Mr. Vicic said one of the key considerations will be on how the industry was able to maximize technology in adapting to the new normal.

“The panel of judges are looking into how PropTech and commitment to ESG policies are being utilized in order to make sustainable progress and mitigate the challenges brought about by the pandemic, whether it is for the benefit of employees or communities at large, or for virtually promoting properties to continue addressing real estate demands,” he said.

The 9th Annual Philippines Property Awards will recognize 12 firms for its developer awards. New categories include the titles of Best Developer (Luzon), Best Developer (Visayas), and Best Developer (Mindanao). Entries for the extensive 2021 virtual gala edition will be accepted until Aug. 20. A virtual gala dinner and awards ceremony for the Philippine edition will be held on Nov. 11.

Two special recognition awards will also be given, as well as 34 development awards for residential and commercial properties, 14 design awards, Best of the Best Awards for Best Condo Development and Best Housing Development, and Publisher’s Choice award for Real Estate Personality of the Year.

The shift to digitalization is expected to be sustained in the long run as property firms realize how PropTech helps their businesses become more efficient.

“[The] possibilities are endless for companies to maximize their investments, business performance, and portfolios,” he said. “We are confident that technology will pave the way in redefining the industry for the better.” — Keren Concepcion G. Valmonte

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