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Real Estate Firms Might Not Understand Blockchain, But That Won’t Stop Them Investing In It


2018 was the year PropTech went mainstream: According to a new survey, a majority of real estate companies around the world with assets of more than $250M (£193M) are now directly investing in at least one PropTech firm.

Brokers like JLL and CBRE are investing in PropTech companies and investors like Brookfield and Oxford Properties have set up specific divisions to make investments in companies in the sector. And according to Altus’ latest CRE Innovation Report, 53% of investors with more than $250M of assets are directly investing in PropTech. The report surveyed 400 senior real estate executives across the world.

Globally, the most popular PropTech firms for direct equity investment are those specialising in smart building systems and online lending marketplaces, Altus said. In the UK, money is going into virtual/augmented reality, AI/machine learning, business process automation and online property exchanges.

Altus identified some disconnects between the technologies that real estate firms actually use compared to what they are investing in.

Nearly one in 10 executives “don’t really understand blockchain and what it does,” but 37% of executives expect blockchain to start having an impact on the real estate industry within the next two years, and 38% are investing in the technology either directly or indirectly.

On the flip side, almost 50% of those surveyed are already using artificial intelligence or machine learning technology, but not many more executives are investing in it compared to blockchain.