When it comes to search – the limits of possibility are nowadays limited only by our imagination. This is all thanks to Google who seem to be accelerating the pace of search based tools and applications.
For property seekers and interested investors – there are emerging tools to look forward to, which should help in the coming year (certainly feasible given technological pace of change!).
Firstly there is Augmented Reality – the ability through mobile applications to create a “heads up display” when you “photograph” a property. The concept is simple in that it stitches together GPS location with compass orientation and then matches it to property data. The company Layer is already seeing their application deployed in Holland on the property website Funda.
Added to this technology is the announcement today by Google of another application from their frenetically paced Google Labs. This is the area of Google responsible for over 200 applications over the past decade as they have deployed their veritable army of technologically advanced engineers to come up with game changing applications.
The latest app is called Google Goggles and using the new Google Android smart phone allows a seamless photo search capability for books, products, places and people (business cards only at this stage, although photo recognition software for people must be just around the corner)!
The key application for property search could emerge through a combination of Google Goggles and / or Augmented Reality as a capability which Zoodle has ambition to offer whereby wherever you are in the country you can point your smart phone at any property and immediately on your screen receive valuable property information.
This information will naturally show basic property information augmented by a suite of information covering CV, valuation, sales history, local sales history, local amenities, some free and some charged for depending on content licenses. To this could naturally be added any details of the property if it is currently being marketed by an agent. As ever the scope is only ever limited by our imagination and the source data.
Mapumental is an amazing new application from the folks at MySociety.org. The application gives you an interactive map tp help you find the best places to live in the UK. You can set your destination and arrival time and then use sliders to work out the exact areas that are within a certain commuting time. You can further filter the results by average house price and how scenic the area is. In real-time the map changes to filter out those areas that don’t match your criteria. This is a truly stunning use of mapping.
Unfortunately given the lack of a really great public transport infrastructure in New Zealand this probably wouldn’t work here to the same extent. Still, one day we may have enough data on commuting times to generate something along similar lines with a combination of driving, walking and public transport data.
Interesting article by the Economics Editor of the Telegraph in the UK entitled “Property Market – the Twilight Zone“.
Clearly the UK has already seen a very large drop in prices (c.15%) over the past year with certainly no sign of a bottoming out. Whilst the global credit crisis is a major contributor to the decline – the signs were writ large well ahead of this time. This article valuably analyses the impact of the UK government’s desire to strive for ever higher levels of home ownership – this policy being shared here in NZ.
Interestingly though Germany which has lower levels of homeownership (43%) has been immune to the ravages of property cycles on a macro level especially through the last decade, whilst they did see a bubble in the post unification era of the 90′s but despite anticipated bubbles as yet none have eventuated. Whilst a rise in ownership would probably lead to a bubble – the over ambitious attainment of ownership levels of the high 60% and 70%’s may be a factor in fueling bubbles.
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