Proptech & Property News in Brief: Facebook’s metaverse, Boris’ gas boiler ban (20/10)

In today’s news, Andrew Stanton discusses the metaverse and its practical uses in real estate, and Boris Johnson’s gas boiler ban

Daily bite-sized proptech and property news in partnership with Estate Agent Networking.


What does the new metaverse mean for real estate?

Increasingly the word metaverse is entering our daily vernacular. The term refers to the notion of people living in a digital hinterland, an artificially created virtual reality that goes well beyond what we currently think of the internet. But is it a passing fad or will it be with us as we move forward?

Some of the emerging property technologies, or technologies that can be applied to property in a new way, are already charting this terrain. Augmented reality and virtual reality, for example, are very much in this space and have been for some time

We’ve also seen past attempts at virtual worlds, with property playing an interesting role. Second Life is an online world populated by avatars where, in the mid-naughties, a Chinese real estate developer bought and sold virtual properties, netting themself a million dollars in real currency. And they weren’t the only person to do so.

Recently, Facebook announced that it is looking to employ 10,000 people to help create a metaverse of its own. Suddenly the alarm bells start to ring in my mind. A paradise for gamers should be a universe open to all and not owned by any single gatekeeping power.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg

Speaking to The Verge, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the metaverse is “going to be a big focus, and I think that this is just going to be a big part of the next chapter for the way that the internet evolves after the mobile internet.”

Strangely, with regards to the new hires, they are to be from Europe, specifically, and not the UK. Though, of course, we do have Nick Clegg heading up Facebook’s global affairs, so maybe he will put in a word for our talented techies.

The commercial applications of a metaverse are vast, particularly in real estate, with users able to don headsets and be totally immersed. This could potentially speed the planning, building, selling, leasing and management of buildings. Feasibly it could be applied to any aspect of the property process, that is if Facebook doesn’t gatekeep in its typical fashion.

But Facebook won’t be the only company at it, there is competition in this space. Other tech giants will likely have their eyes on this potentially lucrative gravy train.

We’ll just have to wait and see who does it best.

Boris spearheads greener homes, but who will foot the bill?

The Prime Minister has been flexing his green credentials recently, with talk of decarbonising the properties we live in. Boris has taken to the podium to talk about insulation this time, and the utilisation of heat pumps rather than gas-fired boilers.

This is all well and good, but the worrying thing is he has also been talking about linking the greenness of a property against mortgage borrowing, which could mean that sellers or landlords might have to retrofit properties to comply…a form of indirect taxation.

In his recent speech to the Global Investment Summit, the PM did say that industry should be front and centre in the fight to decarbonise, and the burden of going green quicker should not fall entirely on the general public.

Whilst it is laudable that climate change is firmly (and finally) on the government agenda, there are priorities to consider here.

With approximately 600,000 properties in the UK that are in need of immediate remediation works to ensure they are fit to live in, paired with a global squeeze on supply chains, it is hard to see exactly how the green initiative will be pushing forward anytime soon.


Andrew Stanton is the founder of Proptech-PR and Proptech-X. He grows proptech companies using his influence from decades of industry experience and is a consultant to some of the biggest names in global real estate, advising on sales and acquisitions, market positioning, and operations.

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