Young professionals are driving change in the commercial real estate industry. For years, new technologies—from virtual rent collection to digital document signing—have promised to deliver efficiencies to the market, but adoption has been another story. The industry has an older average age demographic than most other industries. According to NAR, for example, brokers have a median age of 60 years old. These groups tend to be reluctant to adapt new technologies, but as more millennials and gen-Z members enter the industry, technology adoption is becoming inevitable.
The use of data isn’t necessarily new for the CRE market. “High quality data has always been an important aspect of commercial real estate and multifamily investment sales,” says Zach Ames, senior director at Franklin Street. “Historically, this data was limited to local and regional snapshots but recent advancements in technology allow users to easily review data from buyers, sellers and tenants both nationally and internally.” Technology can help to leverage data and create cost-savings efficiencies that can ultimately change the market. Ames lists e-contracts to virtual tours as just a handful of the technologies that fit into this category. [These have] the diverse range of value that utilization of new technology by young professionals has had on the commercial real estate industry,” he adds.
While the industry is starting to evolve, the professionals agree that younger generations are the key to driving the evolution. “The use of industry-leading technology by young professionals is evolving the industry’s approach to business and deal making,” says Ames. “From financial analysis and database research to property marketing and client communication, their ability to quickly adopt and utilize technology is disrupting a historically archaic system.”
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