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Artificial intelligence (AI) tops list of tech investment priorities among property developers

As developers across the UK search for ways to minimise the impact of rising costs, optimise their profits and driving new development opportunities, an increasing number are turning to new technologies – including artificial intelligence – to future-proof their business, new research from Shawbrook finds.

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At a glance

  • Nearly four in five developers are turning to Artificial Intelligence (AI) within a year
  • 35% have already invested in AI
  • A further 43% plan to invest in AI within the next 12 months

AI in property development

The research, based on data from over 500 professional property developers operating within the UK, reveals that almost four in five (78%) are turning to AI technology to help achieve their business goals, and take advantage of future opportunities. A third (35%) have already invested in AI technology, while a further 43% plan to invest in it within the next 12 months. Fewer than one in ten (9%) said they were not planning to invest in AI at all.

As economic pressures such as rising interest rates and stubbornly high inflation have made the property market increasingly difficult to predict, many developers plan to use AI to keep ahead of market trends, and quickly identify opportunities. 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, three in ten (30%) for managing customer enquiries, with 22% using it to create 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%

Survey was carried out by Censuswide, surveying 513 property developers ages 18+ between 3rd and 11th July 2023.

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.

Terry Woodley MD of Development Finance at Shawbrook

Terry Woodley, MD of Development Finance at Shawbrook, added:

“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. Most importantly, it will be vital to work closely with a specialist lending partner that can help you realise your plans before taking the plunge on new developments.”

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