09/21/2022 | by Sarah Borchersen-Keto

Widespread acceptance that PropTech is an integral part of the real estate landscape today has helped accelerate the adoption of new tech solutions and paved the way for real estate stakeholders to act more nimbly than before, says Sarah Liu, partner on the Real Estate Technology Investment team at venture capital firm Fifth Wall.

“Instead of having to wait sometimes maybe more than a year in order to get a decision, we are seeing folks able to test and pilot technology with a speed to deployment of sometimes just a matter of weeks,” Liu told the REIT Report.

Liu noted that four or five years ago, the annual amount invested into PropTech was around $4 billion; by last year that number had risen to about $30 billion.

Turning to areas where Fifth Wall is collaborating with REITs in PropTech adoption, Liu pointed to investments in electric vehicle charging and property management, including maintenance and renovation. She noted that there are more opportunities for collaboration that haven't yet been tapped, or are still at the early stages, such as sensor tech and improved building management systems.

Liu explained that Fifth Wall has made sustainability and climate resilience a huge priority via its Climate Fund. At the same time, Fifth Wall is looking at macro trends and themes that are causing pain points today, which include housing affordability, labor shortages, supply chain issues, volatile markets, and rising interest rates.

“All of those things are areas that we're translating into potential technology solutions, such as construction automation. We're spending a lot of time looking at how can we build for less, how can we get more people into homes as owners over time?” Liu said.