AI and blockchain has already changed the world of luxury property

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In the world of luxury property, discretion is as valuable as the splendid homes themselves. Wealthy people prioritise privacy and bespoke services over anything else, so the property industry has to be up to date with the latest technology that can deliver this.

Technology is often associated with the invasion of our privacy, but there are ways it can enhance it by adding layers of confidentiality that enable estate agents to match properties with potential buyers in a more personalised, yet discreet way.

At my agency, Engel & Völkers, we operate one of the luxury real estate market’s most secure online platforms whereby only vetted clients can see the properties for sale. This addresses concerns of sellers who prefer to keep their high-value properties exclusive to serious, pre-qualified buyers, instead of anyone with access to Google.

The standard portals may not offer the desired level of discretion and privacy, but it is also a matter of security. Floorplans and pictures of interior details and more intimate spaces such as bedrooms and bathrooms, while helpful, can be sensitive, so we approach it on a case-by-case basis. The world wide web does not forget, so images of bedroom views and personal spaces will be available to view online long after the sale, which could represent a risk for the buyer. While many sales aren’t done on the open market, a secure website is another way to control who sees certain properties.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and blockchain technology increasingly play a key role too. At the higher end of the housing market, buyers and sellers are used to customised services. AI can analyse a lot of information quickly, providing insights into client behaviour and potential matches, while maintaining confidentiality. For instance, instead of calling estate agencies all day to find a buyer for a six-bedroom house in Hampstead, AI can quickly analyse databases and identify a list of interested buyers whose requirements match the property.

This benefits us as it saves time so that we reduce the number of shared listings. Thanks to predictive analysis, we can curate a unique portfolio of properties that aligns perfectly with buyers’ specific expectations. In a world where wealthy clients increasingly demand this level of service, AI is set to fundamentally transform the luxury real estate market.

Meanwhile, blockchain provides a transparent and secure way of recording transactions. While it doesn’t replace the Land Registry, it adds an invaluable layer of security and efficiency which makes it significantly harder to hide illicit activity. Even though forming a company to purchase property is possible, the transparency of the blockchain means that all transactions are traceable, making it a potentially powerful tool in combating the flow of illicit money in the property market.

These technological advancements are not perceived as threats, rather they are considered to be tools that enhance the traditional role of the luxury real estate agent. Although there is some debate about the role of AI in the industry, it’s generally seen as an instrument to amplify the services we offer, not as a replacement for human agents. In a sector where human engagement, intuition and expertise are crucial, we are learning to harness these digital tools to ensure our services are as efficient, personal and private as possible, therefore enhancing the overall client experience in a secure environment.

As the property market evolves, so must our strategies. We aim to seamlessly blend technology with the human touch, offering clients an efficient and personalised experience which will truly define the future of the luxury property market.

Maximilian Stamm is the managing director and head of private office at estate agency Engel & Völkers

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