Over the past couple of months, the mobile industry witnessed the arrival of the latest and greatest in technology. Tech giants like Samsung, Motorola, and Apple spent millions broadcasting their latest innovations to the delight of insatiable tech geeks around the world. Hundreds lined up in store, with many more frantically reaching out for pre-order information. This year we even saw smart phones being slowly pushed out of the spotlight, ushering a new era of mobile devices: smart watches.
As over 90% of phones sold today are smart phones, 2014 statistics show that over 27 million Canadians are wireless subscribers. No less interesting, 2013 Q1 reports show nearly 600% new users compared to the same quarter in 2012. Speaking to this demand, some phone manufacturers are releasing “budget” handsets for hundreds less than flagship devices, but that still perform on par or even better. It’s unquestionable that the tech industry as a whole is rooting deeper than ever into our everyday life. The word smartphone is already a household term, and when I walk the streets of my hometown in Ottawa, it’s nearly impossible not to see someone staring at the small screen of a handheld device.
So how is this increased dependency on mobile impacting the real estate industry? With more smart phones reaching the hands of Canadians, potential homebuyers and sellers have – and expect – faster, easier, and more readily accessible information to assist their search. Take, for example, the functionality of searching nearby listings using the REALTOR.ca apps. Just a few years ago, the search process involved at least writing down contact information, scheduling a follow-up, researching the area, and doing comparisons. Today, it takes mere seconds to find out information about properties from the palm of your hand. With anywhere access to powerful engines such as Google, users are not only searching for prices and contact info; they are reading into crime reports, land history, growth trends, and more, often while they’re on the go.
It’s no secret that mobile technology is not only impacting in the real estate industry; it’s help shaping its future as a whole. Recent statistics on REALTOR.ca users shows that mobile app downloads are steadily climbing. The monthly adoption rate of CREA’s various REALTOR.ca apps have quadrupled since their release, with the REALTOR.ca iPhone app leading with over 1.6 million downloads in its lifetime and over 170,000 active users per week.
As even more innovations arrive and costs for technology continue to drop, it seems we’re all going to have to start embracing our inner tech geek. I, for one, will be waiting impatiently for the day my watch can notify me when I’m passing a house I might be interested in. The future is definitely exciting.