Property market’s digitisation plan: no alarms and no surprises

abstract image for digital adoption in the property market
Image: Kenishirotie |

The government/industry coalition that is targeting faster digitisation of the property market has revealed the roadmap for its first year of operation.

The Digital Property Market Steering Group (DPMSG), set up last year to drive digitisation of the property sector, includes the HM Land Registry and the likes of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, the Solicitors Regulation Authority, the Conveyancing Association and the Law Society.

The DMSG has now set out the five objectives for the remainder of its first year:

  • No surprises and no delays. Up-front information should mean there are no surprises after the buying decision and no waiting for searches; 
  • Transparency and innovation. Sharing information using an open protocol should allow everyone to see what is happening in a transaction and support new consumer-friendly digital services;
  • Convenient and secure. Using digital ID checks (just once) and e-signatures should make the process easier and more secure;
  • Always improving. Collaborative research across users and the proptech sector should accelerate the use of emerging technology such as AI; and
  • Open and collaborative. The DPMSG will work in the open, publishing research, the programme of activities and an annual summary of progress. Its first annual report will be published to coincide with the DPMSG’s first anniversary.

The group’s short-terms actions include establishing a list in priority order of the property information that needs to be digital and its current state, and then consulting on those priorities and how they can be digitised by April. This will be followed by working with the owners of the top three datasets/points to understand the barriers to data improvement and to take action by June.

Open data protocol

The group will also work with the likes of the Open Property Data Association to establish by March the principles for an open data and connectivity protocol that works for all market sectors.

By the same month, the DPMSG plans to draw up an action list of what is needed to remove paper-based processes and to speed up the adoption of digital ID and secure e-signatures.

Mike Harlow, deputy chief executive and director of customer and strategy at HM Land Registry, said: “The roadmap sets out the group’s strategic objectives and highlights the steps needed to achieve our goals.

“We will be actively monitoring and reflecting on our progress over the next 12 months, so it is important to note that this is a working document that will be ever-evolving, helping us to align ourselves towards common goals, fostering better collaboration and better understanding.

“Change is hard, but by working together, and being clear about the action that is needed, we believe that we will achieve a vision where everyone involved in buying, leasing and selling land and property experiences a secure and modern market that is transparent, customer-friendly and business-friendly at all stages.”

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