Agents Opt For PropTech Rather Than Extra Staff To Avoid ‘wage Increases’

A growing number of letting agents are turning to PropTech to manage growth, not extra staff, owing in part to high wage inflation, it has been claimed.

According to PayProp UK, agents are more confident in technology than ever before and a large majority believe that investing in automation is more productive and cheaper than increasing staff numbers.

The Automated payment and client accounting specialist’s claim is based on a recent lettings industry survey.

PayProp UK have published their 2024 Rental Confidence Index in which property professionals were asked their opinions on automation and technology.

Asked what they look for when investing in tech and its impact on their business, 68.5% agreed that automation is more productive (up from 64.6% in 2022) and 70.2% felt it is cheaper (65.1%).

Neil Cobbold, commercial director of Reapit | PayProp, said: “It seems the views of property professionals have become entrenched and emboldened since 2022. It may be because of the higher wage increases we saw last year as a result of the cost of living crisis.

“We’ve also noted significant recent fines and compensation claims of millions being levied against agencies, which might have raised awareness of other benefits of tech, including compliance assurance.

“Our survey accordingly also revealed an increase in the number willing to invest in PropTech, with 85.5% agreeing it is a worthwhile investment compared to 80.7% in 2022.”

Top buying considerations included brand reputation (54%), support (37.9%), cost (37.9%) and ease of Use (31.5%), with integration (30.6%) and system security (23.4%) following close behind.

In a shift from the 2022 Index, safety of client funds fell in priority from 80.2% to 11.3% as did system security (from 60% in 2022 to 23.4%), which may indicate a growing trust in existing safeguards or a heightened focus on other aspects of technology adoption.

“We saw ‘integration’ rise significantly in priority from 5.2% to 30.6%, which indicates a strong desire for PropTech tools to work seamlessly together – helping them perform more efficiently without the need for logging in and out of several individual systems, something we are focused on delivering at Reapit | PayProp.” said Cobbold.

“We also posed a follow up question to which 67.7% of respondents said they preferred end-to-end solutions rather than specialist platforms. All of these results point to a desire to see slicker operational impact from PropTech tools that boost productivity and unlock additional capacity in teams across the country to focus on building the key relationships that make the property industry.”

In PayProp’s 2022 survey, a big majority (68.4%) were positive about the ongoing impact of automation on their jobs over the next five years.

The most recent data shows a more diverse range of opinions: 66.9% still had a positive view but those with negative views increased to 6.4%.

“This change of attitude may mean respondents have already automated the processes they feel could benefit from it and see limited scope for further automation beyond that,” said Cobbold.

“Alternatively, views could have been influenced by multiple warnings from the likes of PwC and others on the potential for generative AI to be used to commit fraud, increasing the volume of validation and verification letting agencies need to undertake.

“However, AI may be equally useful in detecting suspicious activity by allowing agents to filter out fraudulent rent applications, property listings and documents.”

AI will ‘speed up and reduce the cost of real estate transactions’

Daily news email from EYE

Enter your email below to receive the latest news each morning direct to your inbox.