By 2020, you won’t search for homes: homes will search for you

home search

17 Mar

It’s over. It’s finished. Buyers and tenants of the 2020s: kick back and relax. Home hunting no longer relies on being in the right place at the right time, or being available at the drop of a hat to go to a viewing, or conducting endless research into neighbourhoods, schools and transport links. Those days are gone. Finding a home is no longer an art: it’s a sweet, sweet science.

A new report — commissioned by easyProperty and created by The Future Laboratory —  predicts data analysis and digital technology will completely transform how we look for homes. You won’t have to search for your new neighbourhood: your new neighbourhood will find you.

The rise of big data

As with everything in the future, this hyper-personalised service starts with one thing: your data. When you search for a home in 2016, Rightmove and Zoopla only have a few things to go on: namely your budget, the approximate location, and the number of bedrooms you’d like.

As companies like Google and Facebook continue to harvest huge amounts of data about you — the sites you browse, the products you buy, the real-world locations you frequent — service providers will be able to access a detailed picture of your personality.

“With this deep understanding of your likes and dislikes, the system will be able to make intuitive assumptions about what your ideal neighbourhood or town would look and feel like,” easyProperty CEO Rob Ellice says.

A terrace of nineteenth century, Victorian period, houses at Angel Walk in Hammersmith, west London, UK.; Shutterstock ID 337475651

If a property search engine knows you’re a Formula One fan with a three-year-old child and a love of Japanese food, it could recommend a neighbourhood that has easy access to Silverstone, great local schools, and the country’s finest noodle restaurant. These home recommendations can also be based on collective lifestyle choices.

For example, when you buy a property with a partner, the system will take into account the tastes and requirements of you both. It might even be able to suggest a home that works perfectly for both of your commutes.

As a result, buyers and tenants will have an unrestricted view when searching for a new home, as they will be more inclined to explore areas unfamiliar to them that better suit their needs.

In exchange for this technological ease, you’ll enter into a data loop that allows other companies to target and customise their services to you. This means that, when you finally place an offer on a property you’ve fallen in love with, a mortgage broker might be in touch to offer you a suitable rate. Perhaps an interior designer will be in touch based on your previous interest in taxidermy. For the first time ever, digital adverts will be for services you might actually need or want.

Introducing… your new neighbourhood

Of course, most people like to get to know a neighbourhood before moving into it. And that’s where technology also plays a role. The Future Laboratory predicts the rise of Neighbourhood Cyber-safaris: guided tours based on wireless beacons that allow buyers and tenants to explore potential areas of interest in a new town.



“Beacons will allow estate agencies in the future to turn exploring a strange new area into an entertaining game,” Enders Analysis CEO Douglas McCabe says. “A bit like an online game translated into the new world.”

An accurate impression of a neighbourhood can be gained within hours — not months — as you discover an area’s hotspots, cool shortcuts, and fantastic amenities. Those places you’d never discover just by casually strolling down the high street will be revealed in the blink of an eye, allowing you to figure out quickly whether you’d enjoy living there long term.

The future sees home hunters enjoying a much more convenient way to find their dream house. It means browsing a selection of properties that are truly based on your preferences. But how you do feel about sharing your personal information to take advantage of these innovations? Let us know on our Facebook page or via Twitter.

To view the full Future Laboratory report, click here.

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