Zoopla has told an industry conference that the increased use of Unique Property Reference Numbers (UPRNs) within the sector will help reduce fall-throughs, speed up conveyancing, raise property listing data quality and improve the quality of leads it provides to agents.
The portal’s data and analytics chief Antje Bustamante (pictured) told an online GeoPlace conference this week that Zoopla was investing heavily in UPRNs both for its portal and at sister company Hometrack in a bid to improve property data for agents, home movers and lenders.
The key benefit for agents, said Bustamante, was that by having a robust UPRN system in place, Zoopla is able to accurately link properties with their owners.
This means that potential properties likely to instruct can be identified more accurately, and properties linked with conveyancers, agents, lenders and local authorities to help speed up conveyancing.
This is what the many UPRN suppliers within the industry and the government have been hoping would happen – that UPRNs become a way to quickly locate a ‘single source of truth’ about each property in the UK.
“We have only just started the migration of the information to a UPRN-linked system, but it will greatly improve the information or ‘data set’ we hold on properties,” she said.
The conference also heard from Nationwide during the same session, which revealed that it was using UPRNs in a similar way to draw together key information on properties.
Rather scarily, its Head of Risk Robert Stevens revealed that they would soon be used to provide an index of ‘lendability’ for each property in the UK, including whether a property was a flood risk and other climate change-based issues.
He also said that 70% of Nationwide’s mortgage book homes would require retrofitting to get them to the government’s Net Zero targets for 2050 which, although it sounds a long way off now, is before the end date of many mortgages being approved now by the lender.
Therefore, for example, lending had to factor in the £30,000 average cost of a ‘green upgrade’ into their lending decisions – with UPRNs used to track this kind of information.