Ready Or Not, Real Estate Industry Undergoing High-Tech Makeover

Property technology deals are expected to accelerate this year as Covid-19 forces the digital transformation of an industry historically resistant to change, executives and others say.
Automated apartment matching, virtual home tours, renter portals, site management and contactless solutions across home loans, payments, title insurance and escrow services are reshaping how real estate is bought, sold, leased, and managed. Similar trends are taking place in commercial real estate, where measuring air quality and other health variables are doubly important.

What Covid-19 has done is shine a bright light on the opportunities in real estate to automate a wide variety of policies and procedures,” said Daniel Cunningham, founder and CEO of Leonardo247, a Redondo Beach, California-based real estate management software startup. “It’s on everyone’s radar.”

Thoma Bravo’s pending $10.2 billion acquisition of RealPage RP +0.3% demonstrates the premium investors are placing on so-called proptech, said Cunningham. The purchase price represents a 36.5% premium over RealPage’s volume-weighted average cost in the 30 days leading up to the deal announcement. Cunningham also pointed to last year’s deals for Opendoor and Porch Group to further demonstrate his point. Both of those proptech players went public via mergers with special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs) at lofty valuations that he said investors validated by buying their respective stocks at even higher prices on the open market.

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