Posted on 26th May 2019 at 19:27
Sure, we’re evolving – everyone and everything evolves, doesn’t it? Sometimes the pace is slow other times it feels faster. In a Darwinian sense, there are winners and losers at each turn as we respond to changes in our environment, but who holds the real levers of change in the property market?
Generally, we all have a sense that the pace of change is on a strong upward curve. We can point to examples where generic technological advances have improved processes, where communication has been made easier and faster, where new data has improved understanding but can we really say (for better or worse) that the industry has broken free of the structural shackles that have shaped it over the last 50 years?
I think the emergence of Rightmove and the portal industry is the one genuine example of how the industry has been transformed in my working life. In all other respects, I see improvements to processes that are still shaped and constrained by fundamental structural barriers.
The chronology of a transaction is unchanged (except for the honourable exception of the insertion of the new portal community). The legal framework is unchanged. We still have chains. We still have caveat emptor. A purchase remains the single biggest financial transaction in most people’s lives. Members of the public remain blissfully ignorant of the process.