Is London’s prime residential market in trouble? Is the commercial investment market slowing down? Hit by global economic uncertainty and stamp duty charges, buyers are becoming reluctant and developers are facing challenging conditions due to high supply but lower demand. Last month, British Land announced a struggle to sell luxury homes in central London, amid slowdown in the market. JLL is forecasting a 3% fall in prices for central London new-build this year, with prices to stay stagnant till 2018. Savills is forecasting zero growth in prime London residential prices this year. Now some of the blame here can be attributed to the Brexit debate, but that doesn’t mean that property brands should rest on their laurels and not explore new opportunities to reinvigorate the market.

Exposed to but not overwhelmed by a sea of information, property buyers are becoming exceptionally savvy. In a world where millennials have rewritten the rules of the way we communicate, the way we access and exchange information and the way we experience before we commit, brands are facing the challenge to cut through and persuade. So how can property brands adopt digital to respond to this shift?

As times get a little leaner for developers, carefully thought out branding unlocked and driven by digital innovation can help reach audiences and offer immersive experiences before the hard sell begins.

There’s no lack of innovation and excitement going on in our tech world right now. We’ve covered this in our Digital innovation trends of 2016 review but no matter how sexy and appealing the technology, it isn’t always applicable to all brands in all markets. Maybe as a one off experiential marketing exercise it will capture consumers’ attention, but what brands need to focus on is a more sustainable strategy of where to use technology to help consumers visualize the benefits of their offer.

VR property brands PSFK(Image credit: PSFK)

Imagine giving the opportunity to potential property clients & buyers to explore the space they are interested in, even before construction, so they could get not just the look and feel but the whole experience of walking through the space. ICE3D is an Oculus-compatible design software that creates interactive virtual architectural environment in real time. Designers and architects can conceptualize and build the interior of the space directly in the platform or import existing CAD files. DIRTT created the proprietary software that enhances the experience and makes it immersive as it allows clients to walk through rooms just as you would in an already built and furnished flat. This will mean validating and sense checking, being able to project sales and evaluate the investment even before construction starts, significantly cutting cost and timeframes of stakeholders and investors involved.

VR property brands PSFK(Image credit: PSFK)

“Developers need to sell 30%-40% of their scheme off-plan to get finance, so if there’s any nervousness about pre-sales activity that will in itself prevent new projects and additional phases on existing projects from starting.” – says Mark Farmer, director of Cast Consultancy.

We are convinced that VR and integrated software built to evaluate construction and project the future through extensive data collection will solve this problem. And property brands will need to get ahead of the curve and look beyond floor plans and brochures to reach audiences that have a choice.

facebook-360-surround property brands(Image credit: Facebook)

Another technology worth considering is the interactive 360 degree video which we at underscore have found an invaluable tool for helping market both property locations or whole destinations, giving overseas buyers the opportunity to navigate the central London landscape for themselves so they can make a more informed commercial decision.

Times change, technologies change and trends change but in any market the need to connect with clarity and impact will never change. So to succeed in the present we recommend keeping one eye on the future.