AI tops tech investment priorities for property developers

Four in five (78%) of property developers are turning to AI technology to help achieve their business goals, according to research from Shawbrook.

The lender’s research is based on data from over 500 professional property developers operating within the UK, which found that a third (35%) have already invested in AI technology, while a further 43% plan to invest in it within the next year.

Fewer than one in ten (9%) said they were not planning to use AI at all.

As economic pressures such as rising interest rates and high inflation have made the property market increasingly difficult to predict, many developers plan to use AI to future-proof their businesses and take advantage of future prospects.

For those who have already invested in the technology, 44% said that they would use it for assessing new development opportunities, with a further 43% planning to use it to keep up to date with buying trends.

Efficiency and the optimisation of operations were also key areas developers have looked to improve through the use of AI.

Two in five (41%) said they are using the technology to create more intuitive designs, while 30% are using it for managing customer enquiries, and a further 22% are creating marketing collateral for developments.

The same research also revealed other key areas where developers are investing in technology, including:

  • building management systems (46%)
  • smart home services (45%)
  • modular building (43%)
  • virtual/augmented reality (36%)
  • drones (35%)

Commenting on the research, Terry Woodley, managing director of development finance at Shawbrook, said: “As market uncertainty continues to be one of the biggest barriers for developers in the UK, AI could soon become a key competitive differentiator in the market — particularly when it comes to understanding market trends.

“With firms already experimenting with AI, and new-use cases regularly emerging in the market, it wouldn’t be surprising to expect that this technology will have a much bigger influence on development trends in the years to come.

“The benefits of AI for developers are potentially endless, however, as with any new technology they should understand first where it can add value to their business before investing.

“It will be vital to work closely with a specialist lending partner that can help [developers] realise their plans before taking the plunge.”

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