Inventory Base explains the importance of Open Property Data Association
Sián Hemming-Metcalfe an executive member of the Open Property Data Association (OPDA) and also Operations Director of Inventory Base, sums up what OPDA is all about, ‘In an industry where trust can sometimes be a rare commodity, the impact of transparent and actionable data cannot be overstated. It’s not just about cold numbers and dry statistics; it’s about something far more profound – the restoration of trust and confidence in real estate transactions. But this is not solely about innovation.
‘It’s about the promise of a more dynamic and trustworthy real estate sector, one that sets a new standard for professionalism and reliability. This is why I am proud to represent property professionals and encourage them to put their best foot forward, join the OPDA and be part of lasting change. Inventory Base proudly supports the OPDA in its mission to drive the industry forward and make property data accessible for all.’
The Open Property Data Association (OPDA) is more than just a name; it’s a beacon of hope for the property industry. Formed by a collective of forward-thinking industry professionals, property data providers, Proptech visionaries, and established organisations who share a common goal, the OPDA champions the cause of open property data for the greater good.
Mission Unveiled: The Heart of OPDA The associations launch was driven by a desire to ignite innovation, nurture trust, foster collaboration, and unite property market professionals. It beckons property professionals to join its ranks, but it’s no ordinary club. It challenges prospective members to change tomorrow.
Once a member, you’re expected to be a torchbearer of common standards and data-sharing best practices, not just within your own services but across the entire industry. The challenge that OPDA has taken head-on is the lack of a universal language to describe property data. Existing approaches fell short in terms of tracing the roots of property data, so OPDA wisely decided to tackle this issue with open standards and an open API.
The cornerstone of OPDA’s efforts is the trust framework, which provides a secure channel for sharing data among its members and the wider property sector. This ensures that data handling is a responsibility taken seriously. But that’s not all there are grander ambitions, including implementing open data standards and sharing consumer-centric insights. As it collaborates with key industry players like the Home Buying and Selling Group (HBSG), the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), the Residential Logbook Association, and the UK PropTech Association (UKPA).
Maria Harris, the Chair of OPDA, sums it up beautifully, saying: ‘By harnessing the power of data and fostering collaboration, we have an incredible opportunity to drive innovation, improve decision-making, and create a more transparent and efficient property ecosystem.’
Benefits of Joining the OPDA Joining opens a gateway to a treasure trove of benefits and deep insights. From rubbing shoulders with firms reshaping the property industry to gaining access to the latest trends in open data and trust standards, the perks are plenty. And let’s not forget the chance to participate in projects that are already shaping the future of property data. But above all, it’s about making a difference in the homebuying process, together.
Upfront Information: The Key to Confidence OPDA recognises the importance of providing property data upfront. It’s a shield of protection and a source of confidence for prospective buyers and tenants. Open data sharing lays the foundation for more informed decisions, giving buyers insights into property history, alterations, and disputes. The consensus is clear – upfront data sharing can expedite property transactions, enabling buyers and sellers to identify issues quickly and take responsive actions for smoother processes.
A Vision for Improved Home Buying and Selling Building on the commitments made by OPDA, the HBSG has offered a roadmap for enhancing the home buying and selling experience in the UK. Having collaborated with a wide range of industry experts. Their discussion paper offers insights on how to improve home buying and selling in the UK and recommendations on how to address issues such as the high proportion of transactions that fall through after a property offer has been accepted.
Solutions have also been offered to ‘urgent problems’, such as the need to extend the Stamp Duty Land Tax discount and issues associated with the Building Safety Act 2022. It’s not just wishful thinking; it’s grounded in data and industry expertise. The focus is on three critical issues: A) The average duration of the buying and selling process (210 days). B) The stress of sales falling through (24%). C) The lack of certainty in late or delayed moves
To boost efficiency and transparency, the HBSG calls for the regulation of property agents, the consistent sharing of information, and standardised data. They also propose single digital identity verification and the implementation of leasehold reforms. The ultimate goal is to make home buying and selling a smoother, safer and more predictable process.
Aiming to increase property sector efficiency and transparency, the HBSG have made calls for the regulation of property agents, to supply one source of home-moving truth via the Property Data Trust Framework, the consistent sharing of information to empower property buyers and sellers, and mandated standardised information of vital importance to home buying and selling decisions.
In addition to these, they have signalled a need for the approval of single Digital Identity verification for sellers and buyers via the Department of Science Innovation and Technology (DSIT) and Digital Identity and Attributes Trust Framework (DIATF), the transfer of keys to all new owners no later than 1 pm on the day they complete, and the implementation of the leasehold reforms recommended by the Law Commission and announced by the government.
These recommendations are supported with an action plan, highlighting the changes that buyers, sellers and the home moving industry are able to make now. Proposals have also been made for the testing and adoption of standardised products and services, together with revolutionary changes that will require government and media backing. Such proposals include the digitisation of data needed for exchange and completion, which may be achieved through the use of quality platforms such as Inventory Base.
This article is an abridged version of an earlier communication published earlier in the month, please click LINK to view the full version.
Kinleigh Folkard & Hayward and Stirling Akroyd may soon have new separate owners
It has been strongly suggested by a number of sources that Kinleigh Folkard & Hayward (KFH) may be acquired by Dexters, and in a separate deal Stirling Akroyd may soon be acquired by the Leaders Romans Group (LRG). Whilst no formal confirmation has been made on either of these large moves, it would seem that further consolidation is now taking place. If the KFH deal does go through it will add over 30 branches to Dexters, whilst Stirling Akroyd would add twice that number to the Leaders Roman Group.
As the retrograde market continues and fixed branch costs stay high, it seems very much the case that in some parts of the UK residential sales operations seem to be a heavy drag on profitable lettings operations, causing opportunity and risk in equal measure.
With 30% of UK agencies without a lettings operation, and a predicted 25% drop in residential sales income, it will be a very marginal business for some. Though with headline inflation now seeming to drop in line with other countries and a likely abeyance on interest rate rises maybe 2024 might see an improving marketplace.
Andrew Stanton is the founder and CEO of Proptech-PR, a consultancy for Founders of Proptechs looking to grow and exit, using his influence from decades of industry experience. Separately he is a consultant to some of the biggest names in global real estate, advising on sales and acquisitions, market positioning, and operations. He is also the founder and editor of Proptech-X Proptech & Property News, where his insights, connections and detailed analysis and commentary on proptech and real estate are second to none.