A new survey reveals that the safety of client funds is one of the key reasons why letting agents look to PropTech.
More than 80 per cent of responding agents listed the safety of client funds as one of the most important consideration when selecting a tech solution.; this was followed by system security and functionality.
And when given the opportunity to air their views on the benefits of technology, two thirds of respondents said they believe that increasing automation is both more productive and cheaper than increasing the workforce.
The survey - conducted for PropTech supplier PayProp - also shows that agents view property technology as a worthwhile investment with 80.7 per cent of respondents either agreeing or strongly agreeing.
Managing director of PayProp UK, Neil Cobbold, says: “With more rule changes and legislation coming down the track this year for the private rental sector, the benefits of being able to automate labour-intensive tasks such as banking and compliance have clearly been noted by property professionals who are trying to maximise efficiency while reducing costs.”
The survey also covered non-PropTech issues and perhaps unsurprisingly, it revealed a significant rise in the number of property professionals who implemented higher-than-usual rental increases in 2022. This was 72 per cent, up from 56.6 per cent in 2021.
Despite these rises, there was no corresponding increase in arrears reported. In fact, 4.5 per cent fewer respondents saw higher-than-usual arrears in 2022 than in 2021.
And the number of vacant properties were down too, with over 70 per cent reporting lower-than-usual vacancies. Indicative of the high demand for rental homes, almost 40 per cent of reported vacancies were snapped up by new tenants in less than a week of being on the market.
But despite strong tenant demand and high rents, the survey revealed that more landlords want to sell their properties (49 per cent) than the ones adding to their portfolios (13.2 per cent).
Cobbold adds: “This suggests that competition for rental properties is high and that agents need to be creative and proactive in their search for new properties at a time when a high proportion of landlords are reportedly selling up.
“Two standouts that rank low on the list of worries in 2023 were finding tenants and competition, suggesting that the majority of those surveyed are confident they can attract landlords away from self-management and the competition.”
He concludes: “Data shows that the sales market is enjoying a revival. Rent controls in Scotland are easing and there are signs that Westminster is considering a variety of perspectives to ensure a more balanced reform of the English private rented sector. With inflation predicted to be half of what it is today by the end of 2023, plus better prospects for rental and commission growth, letting agents can look forward to a more positive second half of the year.”