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BidX1 Digital Auctions

Digital is Changing Real Estate

CoStar News is well known for its coverage of the cross-border real estate investment market, bringing readers the latest on multi-million pound, dollar and euro portfolio deals transacted in a traditional sales process. 

But what if there was a different way to buy and sell assets across the world?  And what if this process occurred seamlessly through digital technology, bringing buyer and seller together on one platform?

Sound farfetched?  It shouldn’t, because digital technology now allows buyers and sellers to meet online in a transparent real estate marketplace, which ticks all the requisite boxes for the world’s biggest real estate owners, fund managers and private equity houses.  And this is the service we provide at BidX1.

For me, one of the most fascinating aspects of the process is the huge amount of data we obtain through our digital platform, the information we are able to garner from that and how we are able to use the information to provide educated advice to our clients throughout the sales process.  

As an example, let me take you through BidX1’s recent UK real estate sale which achieved a healthy sale success rate of 88%.  In the run up to and during the June sale day, our catalogue of properties was viewed from 74 different countries.  We had 57,908 views from the United Kingdom, 4,678 from Ireland – and 2,354 from the United States, 380 from South Africa, 240 from Spain, 200 from India, 184 from Israel, 178 from the United Arab Emirates, 172 from Cyprus, 170 from Australia and 136 from Switzerland.

We also had visitors from Bahrain, Bermuda, The Cayman Islands, China, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, Norway, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore and Taiwan – all with an interest in UK residential and commercial real estate.

Our technology allows us to profile bidders in a way that traditional real estate service companies cannot.  We know where potential bidders are located, the type of assets they are interested in and their value and yield ranges.  We also have information on bidder’s device preferences, the time and day of the week they are most likely to engage with us, what time they bid and by what increments.  This allows us to match properties with potential buyers, benefitting both vendor and purchaser.

But what really excites us at BidX1 is the prospect of connecting these buyers and sellers around the world.  That’s why we have recently appointed Johnny Horgan as our Managing Director of Europe.  Johnny, who led CBRE Ireland’s Capital Markets team for the last five years, will be overseeing our international expansion and the forthcoming sales in Cyprus and Spain, with Portugal to follow soon after.

 The beauty of a global property trading platform is that buyers in the United Kingdom can bid for property in Spain and vice versa.  And why not? What’s to stop a German investor buying in Cyprus or a Middle Eastern investor from buying at a digital sale in London, providing they pass all legal due diligence checks?

And what’s to stop property lot sizes getting bigger and bigger? After all, Sotheby’s announced on June 17 that it had been sold to the billionaire founder of telecoms group Altice Patrick Drahi for $3.7 billion, showing the value in what some people still call the auction process.

We prefer the simpler term `sale’ because digital technology does not have to be used to transact real estate on a certain day through a one-off collection of properties, as the ballroom auction process has dictated for more than 100 years.

Properties can be sold on our digital platform through private or time-limited sales processes on any day – and it is this flexibility, along with the transparency and data factors, that appeal to some of the world’s biggest real estate owners.

In Ireland we have already sold more than 3,000 assets through the digital sales process, raising over 600 million Euros. For buyers, too, the process is easier and less daunting.  They are also able to bid on mobile devices – 42% of our bidders currently use smart phones -and do not have to brave what many see as the ‘insider’s world’ of the ballroom auction.

Prop Tech is transforming the whole real estate world, but it is important that cutting edge technology is backed by core property skills too.  This belief is demonstrated by our in-house teams of experienced residential and commercial property surveyors and experts across London, Dublin, South Africa and now Europe who are on hand to help and advise.

Property has traditionally been seen as a local business – but the technology driving digital international real estate sales can deepen the market for vendors and give buyers access to assets they could previously only dream of buying.