Housing Minister Announces Digital Property Revolution

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The Housing Minister, Esther McVey, announced yesterday plans for a digital revolution of the property sector by releasing data held by local bodies to enable the UK PropTech sector to thrive.

The digital revolution will include 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.

The minister held 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 will help with the proposed digital revolution.

Esther Mcvey said: ‘We’ve had revolutions in the way that financial services, online banking and transport are provided, turning once unimaginable possibilities into everyday realities. Now it’s the turn of the UK property market.

‘The UK property sector is on the cusp of a digital revolution. It’s time to harness new technology to unlock land and unleash the potential of housebuilders in all parts of the country and to revolutionise the way in which we buy homes.’

The news met with a positive reaction from the property industry.

Founder and CEO of Stone Real Estate, Michael Stone, commented: ‘Any initiative to open up land supply and provide greater transparency within the house building process should be welcomed. After all, we’re building 200,000 new homes a year nationally while the reality is that we need to deliver 300,000, so that’s some deficit that needs to be addressed.

‘However, whilst the Housing Minister’s announcements today on promoting digitisation and better brownfield site identification will be welcomed, perhaps they should go a step further and start mandating that public land is also utilised more readily.’

Mark Hayward, Chief Executive, NAEA Propertymark commented: ‘We support anything that brings additional land into the planning system and provides extra homes to consumers in a market that is struggling for stock. We look forward to seeing the outcome of the Minister and her team’s efforts to release more of the local data.’

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