Housing minister announces ‘digital revolution in the property sector’

Housing minister Esther McVey has followed her recent revelation that “3D architects” are designing houses on computers by announcing a “digital revolution in the property sector”.

What does that mean? Well, the minister plans to open compulsory purchase order (CPO) data for the first time, which will apparently enable “PropTechs to obtain things like energy performance certificates and the square footage information of properties”.

Furthermore, she intends to introduce a national brownfield data index which will, she says, simplify and improve the “quality of Brownfield Land Registers to help developers to find brownfield land to build on”.

McVey MP 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.

“Whatever homebuyers prioritise, whether it’s the quality of local schools, the probability of getting a seat on a train, or having easy access to leisure facilities, this technology could transform the way we find and purchase homes.

“And new technology will link builders to brownfield sites more easily, enhance how developers engage with local communities, help builders deliver new homes and modernise the way we buy and sell land and houses, cutting the time it takes to get housing from the drawing board to families getting the keys.

“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.”

Additionally, according to the government, the vaguely stated “new technologies” could allow communities to “see models and interactive maps of planned development rather than one or two pictures” and “comment on planning applications online, on phones and on the go”.

Furthermore, prospective home buyers might be able to “use commute time calculators when they are looking at properties; explore financing options to help buyers afford their new home or enable gradual home ownership; receive step-by-step assistance to help them navigate the buying process”.

And developers could be in for a few treats, too, being empowered to “identify sites so that more houses are built more quickly” and quickly locate suitable brownfield sites suitable for development”.

Here’s the full press release.