Leading Canadian real estate agent Shawn Zigelstein said in an interview this week that the industry has seen rapid adoption of new technologies in the past few years, and said he expects the trend to continue accelerating in 2019 as more tools and services become available.
Speaking to CBC News, Zigelstein said real estate tech is becoming increasingly important for agents to remain competitive. ““The agents that are not adapting to this change are going to see their business drop considerably because they can’t adapt fast enough,” he said.
Zigelstein is not alone in sharing these sentiments. Frank Magliocco, a housing market specialist at PwC Canada, told CBC News that proptech, or real estate technology, was now a $7.3 billion industry in Canada and the U.S.
Magliocco said proptech can be thought of as a “cousin” to the banking industry’s fintech, and that it refers to anything from smart buildings that rely on data to automate heating, to online listings and 3D printed homes.
“Think about the banking industry years ago, before fintech… Banking had to be done in person,” Magliocco said. “It came in and changed the entire business model. Now you deposit a cheque and transfer money and you can do everything on your phone.”
But while technology will continue to make inroads in real estate, it won’t displace actual human agents anytime soon, said Toronto agent Cam Woolfrey. Instead, he believes that technology, alongside a real estate agent with experience, “can make the experience” for buyers.