Trends to Watch

By on Jan 2, 2014 in Technology

2013 was quite a year in the world of real estate. Whether your firm was moving forward with new technologies, revamping businesshutterstock_85733252s practices to be more efficient, or raising rents and acquiring new properties, there was much forward momentum and positive change.

Of course, it was only the first step for some of these long term evolutionary projects. Here are a few of the technology trends that will continue to advance widespread real estate industry change in 2014. Some outcomes are obvious, while others – well, we’ll just have to wait and see.

Tablets, meet leasing agents – and executives. In 2013 tablets as leasing tools – whether for commercial or multifamily properties – became not just a much-coveted technology but a reality. Companies who armed their leasing agents with Yardi Leasing Pad reported that the agents loved the convenience of having wireless property data and collateral in one convenient, easy to use device. For the multifamily market, the integration with WhiteFence proved valuable as it was easy to compare utility options from all providers, also using a tablet. For executives, tablets are proving the most efficient way to access business analytics and intelligence while they are on the go. The browser-agnostic, mobile-enabled Yardi Voyager® 7S makes that easier than ever.

Drones take to the sky – with cameras on board. This year we heard about drones delivering packages, spying on people, and becoming useful in real estate – as mobile property photographers. Equipping a drone with a camera for aerial property photography is much less expensive than sending a human photographer up in a plane – and for now, doesn’t impinge on airspace rules. Rest assured that we haven’t heard the end of any of the drone debates yet.

Modular construction for the urban infill projects. This is a cool concept that we came across while reporting for Commercial Property Executive. In New York City, Forest City Ratner Companies is developing a major project at Atlantic Yards, with of 6,400 residential units spread over 15 buildings. Fully fabricated units, supported by a steel brace frame, will be stacked on top of each other to create an apartment community. If successful, the project could drastically alter the way new urban housing is designed and constructed.

Micro-units make studios seem spacious. Micro-units first came on the scene in 2012, but in 2013 they were ready for completion and occupancy, which means that people are actually cramming their lives into their small footprints as we speak – and working out the kinks. Ron Brock, who observes nationwide real estate trends for Pierce-Eislen, observed in an interview that the jury is still out on these units – and whether residents will love them, or if walls need to be knocked down to make them more spacious.

Presenting a single stack solution. As the apartment market returns to post-recession levels, savvy companies are capitalizing on improved business technologies that help them market to prospects, screen future residents, and collect hard data on residents’ payment and retention patterns.  They’re finding that they can get all the programs they need from a single source, which makes workflows faster and easier and cuts down integration hassles. Single stack technology solutions are integral to building thorough databases, better serving customers, and producing dynamic business intelligence, and only a few companies that have developed comprehensive product suites to serve property managers.

You’ll be hearing more about Yardi’s single stack in 2014.