Since AI first came out, the commercial real estate industry has been talking about how it would change the way that our business is conducted. Predictions have been all over the board; some said that it would make real estate brokers irrelevant, and others said that it would replace the need for due diligence. Now, we are finally starting to see some of the ways that it will actually be applied to commercial real estate, and it turns out that, at least for now, it will mostly be used to cut down on the work needed to make marketing material.
Cushman & Wakefield has announced that it will be embedding AI into its proprietary Atlas mapping program. Atlas was launched last year as an easy way for brokers and agents to generate interactive maps for clients. Now, it will be even easier to create custom maps for clients thanks to AI’s capability. These kinds of visuals are often time-consuming and costly; many brokers have an entire design team tasked with creating them. Now, brokers have a self-service way of making customized maps for offering memorandums and client research packets.
C&W has vowed to “embed AI across its commercial real estate lifecycle,” so this is likely the first step in that digital transformation. Using AI not only makes it easier to create these client-facing documents but also gives them access to a lot of potentially useful feedback. As more clients use these maps, they will start to see how they interact with them, which will hopefully help them further refine how they are presented and made.
We are still in the early stages of seeing AI being incorporated into commercial brokerages. And despite all of the prophecies that AI will take jobs away, here we see it being used as a tool to bring in talent. The ability to easily share these powerful interactive maps is certainly one of the things that C&W will use to attract top brokers, who are still one of the most valuable resources of any large brokerage. Now, we will have to see how the other large property firms will respond. As more and more AI is used to help brokers do their jobs, brokerages will be able to use much more than just their brands and commission splits to lure brokers into their ranks. Let the battle for talent begin; may the best artificial intelligence win.
Wrapped up: A new technology solution is wrapping buildings with panels that are able to help older buildings improve their energy efficiency and air quality. The bonus: these wraps can be installed on apartment buildings without requiring tenants to move out during construction.
Highest bidder: Of all the bids that came in for Signature Bank’s loan portfolios, apparently, Blackstone’s offer is in the lead. What these distressed loans trade for in this bidding process is being used by some as a metric to see exactly where valuations stand for other distressed bank notes on commercial buildings.
Nice list: China is still figuring out exactly how they plan to save their struggling property industry. So far, they have created a list of about 50 property owners, both private and state-owned, who are eligible for stimulus. What it takes to get on that list is not being shared, but I’m sure being in good standing with the communist party in government control is at least a part of the criteria.