Mehar Patel sees this announcement as a positive thing for the property industry: “With an ever increasing population, most of whom will, at some stage, want to experience home ownership, it is great to see our government push an agenda on making it easier for the private sector to utilise public sector data, which I expect will make it easier for developers to find new sites with previously unrecognised development potential.
Unlocking planning information and standardising the planning portals across the hundreds of local authorities will, inevitably, make planning applications easier and, ultimately, get approval to go ahead. Mehar Patel, Shoosmiths.
“Unlocking planning information and standardising the planning portals across the hundreds of local authorities will, inevitably, make planning applications easier to make, find and, ultimately, get approval to go ahead. “It’s the perfect blend of the public sector unlocking doors for the private sector, with the common ambition of increasing the supply of homes – and more specifically, homes that are suitable for our future generations – another great step towards the increasing humanisation of real estate.”
David Perry agrees but he also recognises that this isn’t necessarily something that is entirely new:
“From a land perspective, any initiative that helps to drive opportunity has to be welcomed, as there is a continuing shortfall of housing supply to demand.
“We shouldn’t forget the existing Homes England Land Hub that helps identify available public sector land for development, nor that a number of larger land owners already have their own processes (including GIS surveying) to identify surplus land within their stock that could be developed.
“The national and major regional housebuilders already have very developed methods for site identification and appraisal but, by their very nature, the larger developers tend to be interested in the larger sites, and this risks leaving behind the smaller parcels that could still be brought into housing development without the costs of strategic/edge of settlement land promotion.
We are likely to see the output ultimately being monetised by the proptech providers – but it could be argued that it’s better to have reliable data at a price than no data at all. David Perry, Shoosmiths.
“The sector needs to encourage development in the right place, as well as development of the right type!”
The Proptech focus
“What’s interesting with these initiatives is that they are focused on proptech, rather than developers, presumably as an exercise in capacity building for the sectors that support and promote house building rather than just diverting funds directly to the house builders themselves.
“We definitely lag behind tech entrepreneurs elsewhere in the world when it comes to useful data aggregation – San Francisco being the prime example of a location where public records have been turned into ‘big data’ for a greater common purpose.
“Here, we are likely to see the output ultimately being monetised by the proptech providers – but it could be argued that it’s better to have reliable data at a price than no data at all, particularly as this is being aimed at the smaller property developers who can’t afford to build their own data infrastructure for site spotting and tracking.”
Overall, this has to be encouraged as a good step forward – it still has to be delivered, and the take up by interested parties still needs to be assessed, but the initiatives to help the smaller developers access useful data on potential sites should be supported to help the overall goal of housing delivery.”
21 October 2019: A DIGITAL REVOLUTION IN THE PROPERTY SECTOR
Housing Minister, Esther McVey, is announcing plans to release data held by local bodies to enable the UK PropTech sector to thrive and for them to “bring about a digital revolution in the property sector.”
The Housing Minister announced measures to:
- Open up Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) data for the first time in a transparency drive and enable PropTechs to obtain things like energy performance certificates and the square footage information of properties.
- Introduce a national index of all brownfield data, simplifying and improving the quality of Brownfield Land Registers to help developers to find brownfield land to build on.
Esther McVey hosted a roundtable discussion with some of the 700 Proptech firms in the UK who are helping house builders and communities all over the country.
The UK Proptech sector, a growing industry potentially worth £6 billion in the UK, is leading the world in the property building and buying market and the sector already receives 10% of global PropTech investment.