Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Information technologies reshaping the real estate landscape in unexpected ways

16.01.2006


Computers and the Internet have been billed as enabling new ways of doing business, but in the residential real estate industry, people’s expanded access to information hasn’t rendered the real estate agent a relic, says a Penn State researcher. "The expectation was that real estate agents would go away once consumers could see all the home listing information, but the number of real estate agents has increased, not decreased, in the last 10 years," says Steve Sawyer, associate professor in the School of Information Sciences and Technology (IST).



So has the number of people involved in real-estate transactions--contrary to the assumption that information technologies would streamline and simplify the transaction process. Instead, the amount of relevant information about real estate has exploded, requiring more people and more specialized professionals to be involved in supporting, understanding and processing that information.

Those insights into the changes in the real estate industry due to the use of computing are discussed in a research article, "Redefining Access: Uses and Roles of Information and Communication Technologies in the U.S. Residential Real Estate Industry from 1995 to 2005," published recently in the Journal of Information Technology.


Sawyer, lead author, also discussed the findings at the American Antitrust Institute’s Symposium on Competition in Residential Real Estate Brokerage Industry in November in Washington, D.C.

The other authors are Rolf T. Wigand, the Maulden-Entergy Chair and Distinguished Professor of Information Science and Management at the University of Arkansas, Little Rock, and Kevin Crowston, associate professor in the School of Information Studies, Syracuse University.

The researchers’ intent was to determine whether computing could transform industries as claimed in the rhetoric surrounding the information revolution. They chose to examine the effects of information technologies on the residential real estate industry for two reasons: 1) because the rate of IT adoption by real estate agents was exponential between 1995 and 2005 with only 2 percent using computers in 1995 and 97 percent using IT in 2005; and 2) because the housing industry is both a fundamental part of and one of the fastest-growing sectors in the national economy.

Drawing on interviews, surveys, data from agencies including the federal government and the National Association of Realtors and academic work, the researchers analyzed what real estate agents do; how computing has changed what they do; and how legal, political and economic forces are influencing the new processes.

According to the researchers, the introduction and adoption of information and communication technologies (ICT) clearly has provided access to information--such as listings, mortgage rates, fees and neighborhood demographics--previously unavailable to consumers. That increase in the quantity of available information has led to better quality information which, in turn, has led to better-informed consumers. Armed with more information, consumers have demanded more specialized services as well as better service from real estate agents, Sawyer said.

But these are evolutionary -- not revolutionary-changes, he said.

"The transformative nature of technology is not from increases in efficiency or effectiveness," Sawyer said. "The transformations are embedded in second-level effects--that is, the unimagined and unintended innovations that give rise to changes in organizations, markets and social interactions."

In the real estate industry, these innovations include the use of virtual tours of homes and neighborhoods which may make obsolete actual visits to properties, and online bidding or online transactions between sellers and buyers. Neither of these was foreseen when real estate agents took up using computers and the Internet, but they are resulting in additional specializations for real estate professionals as well as creating new business models for transactions.

The availability of additional information on a nationwide rather than just a local basis also has resulted in savings for consumers. Not only has the transparency of information and data enabled consumers to find and take advantage of lower interest rates, but national competition has reduced real estate agent commissions, the researchers said.

While the researchers argue such second-level effects occur in any industry that adopts computing and Internet technology, they have no crystal ball to predict the changes.

"At this time, all we have are hints of the innovations," Sawyer said. "Agents and consumers are experimenting with new ways of engaging one another, consummating the transaction and sharing information."

Margaret Hopkins | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ist.psu.edu

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht NASA CubeSat to test miniaturized weather satellite technology
10.11.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

nachricht New approach uses light instead of robots to assemble electronic components
08.11.2017 | The Optical Society

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

Im Focus: Researchers Develop Data Bus for Quantum Computer

The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.

Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...

Im Focus: Wrinkles give heat a jolt in pillared graphene

Rice University researchers test 3-D carbon nanostructures' thermal transport abilities

Pillared graphene would transfer heat better if the theoretical material had a few asymmetric junctions that caused wrinkles, according to Rice University...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA detects solar flare pulses at Sun and Earth

17.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

NIST scientists discover how to switch liver cancer cell growth from 2-D to 3-D structures

17.11.2017 | Health and Medicine

The importance of biodiversity in forests could increase due to climate change

17.11.2017 | Studies and Analyses

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>