UK house hunters are the global leaders in online property research according to an HSBC study which found that 93 per cent of UK homebuyers use online channels for their property search, ahead of the global average of 83 per cent.
The ‘Beyond the Bricks: The Future of Home Buying’ report combined results of 9,000 people in nine countries to examine how new technologies are transforming the way people buy a home.
The report predicts that property will be the next industry to face disruption, with property websites using technologies such as artificial intelligence and virtual reality to transform each stage of the home purchase. Traditionally, the estate agent has played a key role in the purchasing phase, however, the report has found that this part of the home buying process is increasingly moving online with less face to face interaction. 51 per cent of recent homebuyers started talking to an estate agent online as opposed to in person. The rise of property websites offering financing, negotiation and conveyancing services could see the future entire home buying process, from search to completion reduced to a matter of days.
Dealing with the many people involved (estate agents, solicitors, sellers and developers) was identified by 34 per cent of recent home buyers as the most stressful part of the home buying process, followed by understanding the legal paperwork (21 per cent) fees (19 per cent) and negotiating the price (16 per cent).
These pain points have pushed home owners to use online sources first, making the purchase process much easier and reducing the number of people involved in a sale, so that buyers and sellers feel more in control.
According to Tracie Pearce, HSBC UK’s Head of Mortgages, “The process of buying a home will change beyond recognition in the coming years. The market may not quite be ready for ‘Robo Advice’ but this type of service will, in time be helpful for the financially astute borrowers who need guidance through just a few steps of the mortgage process. There will still be those borrowers that desire face-to-face advice, or prefer to speak with an adviser over the telephone and lenders should look to provide home buyers with a choice of channels in line with their needs and preferences.”