Having drawn insights from the valuation, banking, insurance, and legal sectors the Australian Property Institute’s (API) Future of the Property Profession Report 2023 highlights both trends and changes, while also offering recommendations and strategies that will future-proof the sector.

Key overarching themes to surface within the Futures report, which comprises survey responses from 1,500 member and non-members include:

The need to strengthen, diversify and realign education pathways plus greater flexibility to career pathways and admissions processes to ensure a strong value proposition at all career stages.

What became clear throughout the consultation phase of this API Futures Project is that the vast majority of respondents surveyed expect their member organisation to lead the future evolution of the property profession.

What members who responded to API’s Futures Survey told us

Change profession/industry: When asked what they would like to do in the next decade, 30%-plus of survey respondents stated they’d like to change industry or their profession.

Automation solutions: Unsurprisingly, demand for and use of automation and alternate data-driven tools and inputs has increased for the property professional.

Over 30% of API members surveyed valued Google map footage, digital twin mandates (for all new property assets) and online booking systems (for digital inspections) as acceptable automation solutions.

Required standards: Within the next 48 months over 30% of members surveyed are calling for data, technology and international standards.

Flexible workplaces: Over 74% of those surveyed indicated that they were working either at home, in their cars or in a hybrid arrangement – with demand for office space now declining.

Data science: 57% of members surveyed believe data science will become the superpower skills of the profession into the future.

API learning: 36% of respondents agreed that learning modules and education were moderately important, while 26% stated this was an essential API offering.

Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG): 21.8% of respondents called for the API to deliver standards as they relate to ESG.

The API’s Young Property Professional (YPP) committees were adamant that API member valuers could not only play a pivotal role in data collection around the E for ESG but also participate in designing the ESG property requirements themselves.

 Specifically, for API Valuer members, ESG factors collectively describe the transparency and robustness of governance processes and the impact on a company/and or assets, which may impact its financial performance, operations and the external environment.

The International Valuation Standards Council (IVSC) has included references to ESG in the International Valuation Standards (IVS) Exposure Draft April 2023.

At the time of publication, the consultation has closed, with its recommendations due in late 2023.

Other key findings within the Futures report

AI-driven reporting: The API’s Futures survey identified the need for standards frameworks in relation to Cybersecurity, Data andAnalytics and Artificial Intelligence.

Residential property valuation: Evidence shows an increasing acceptance in residential mortgage portfolios of the use of automated valuation models (AVMs) and desktops.

The use of automation to manage bookings (in existence in a large majority of API firms) is shown to reduce administrative burden to property professionals, while improving operational efficiency.

Predictive maintenance: Adds value for property managers and other property professionals, by helping them understand asset life and maintenance requirements and programs to achieve cost savings and optimal equipment performance.

Property search: Chatbots are being used on websites that empower clients to find information instantaneously and may in some cases reduce administrative burden for property professionals.

Virtual tours: Are now commonplace and property professionals are also using virtual tours to validate data points as an input to assessing value post comparable research and validation.

Key takeaways

 The ability to understand which data may actively be used in automation solutions, and which data needs further assessment and verification, will be key to the successful development of data and automation standards frameworks for the property profession.

Similarly, the pathway to Net Zero provides a range of opportunities for property professionals to expand their skill sets to provide relevant and future-focused advisory services to their clients, supported by appropriate standards frameworks.

As the peak industry body, members believe it is incumbent on API to develop these industrywide regulatory frameworks and professional standards.

This will ensure innovative products and services can be supported without diminishing the existing high level of international professional standards and ethical considerations.

Key industry challenges

Overall, feedback to the API Futures Survey suggested the following key challenges need addressing:

  • Increased attraction to and retention within the profession.
  • Enhanced opportunities for career pathways and progression.
  • Compensation structures.
  • Mentoring programs by senior leaders.
  • Relevant high-quality education and training.
  • Admission and entry requirements need to be aligned with other Australian professions.