Technology is perpetually improving and altering lifestyles, and it seems that smartphone technologies, which have become increasingly popular over the past few years, have also come to influence the real estate market. Quest Newspapers’ Megan Nell recently reported that an increasing number of Australians are using smartphone apps to aid with their quest for a new home. Statistics harvested from across the country point to explosive growth in the realm of property application use. In what follows, we’re taking a look at what those statistics are saying about the real estate market and smartphone usage habits in Australia.
According to research conducted by an independent real estate portal cited by the same publication, application buyers located in Brisbane have increased their number of property application purchases by a whopping 119 per cent. Similarly, Queensland and New South Wales-based users display that exact same purchase and usage patterns. The poll was undertaken on a monthly basis, and the increase was recorded by comparing figures from February with those posted six months later, in August, 2012. Representatives of said portal also estimate that 34% of all visits to their website are made from mobile devices, compared to the roughly 17% of smartphone and tablet visits recorded last year. Undoubtedly, the digital world is taking over the property market, given such dynamic increase rates.
Mobile applications can provide great help for those seeking to purchase their next home. Not only do they display nearby properties for sale, but some are also able to estimate market prices and function as planners for the entire process. Certain real estate industry experts argue that the price estimation function is still inaccurate, yet the increase in download and usage figures seems to point to the opposite direction. Similarly, many potential buyers are also accessing information available online on property purchase finance.
Most property applications are developed by real estate agencies, which also use them as platforms for communicating directly and in real time with customers or potential buyers and sellers. Peak download times are Sunday mornings, while the most active download time of the year was around Christmas. Statistics indicate that Australia is already a strong market for smartphones, and that situation is only likely to improve and augment over the coming year. According to MarketingHQ, some 42% of Australians own a smartphone, and that percentage is likely to reach 60 over the coming 12 months. June 2011 figures state that there are no fewer than 29.28 million cell phones in Australia, of which 46% are smartphones.
The Telstra Smartphone index report published in June 2012 says that some 23% of all smartphone users are over the age of 50, while 39% are older than forty, which contradicts general assumptions that young, Generation Y members are the core user group. What is more, over 90% of all Australian smartphone owners have accessed the Internet from their devices and the proportion of smartphone users who do so on a daily basis exceeds 90%. For the general population of mobile phone owners, the percentage rests at 60, but industry analysts estimate that by 2014 the telephone will become the number one device for accessing the web.
From QR code scanning to instant messaging with one’s agent to interactive map apps that help you filter out pieces of property according to your preferences, it is obvious that the smartphone is a useful tool. While real estate professionals might regard it with some suspicion, the evolution in technology and increasing availability predicted for the coming years says the real estate industry had better get with the times and embrace a device that stands to alter the way it works forever.
Andrew Roberts is a finance writer and an expert on Australian banking and banks. Visit Bankwest to find out more about buying your own home in Australia.