Virtual reality gaining ground in real estate sales

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The adoption of virtual reality (VR) in home-selling will be a thing of the future, despite the limitations due to its cost, according to Jones Lang Lasalle.

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In a statement, Jones Lang Lasalle Singapore research analyst Hannah Pham noted VR is an emerging trend in selling homes in Southeast Asia, particularly the Philippines and Singapore.

Pham described VR technology as the “next” trend for home-selling after online-property listing became popular.

Although VR technology has been around since the 1960’s, the latest trend was brought by the development of VR headsets in the form of goggle-like devices through which users can view a three-dimensional perspective of pictures or videos. The effect is immersion in a virtual environment.

Some of the popular VR headsets include the Oculus Rift, Oculus Samsung Gear VR, HTC Vive, and Sony Playstation VR.

Pham noted that VR technology helps potential property buyers save time and money on trips to potential houses. For the developers, marketing efforts are boosted.

Philippine-based Zipmatch is one of the first companies to offer VR technology in home-selling via the Zipmatch 360 Virtual Reality service.

Through a Zipmatch headset, virtual 360-degree images of model units are projected for the prospective buyer to see how the unit looks like without actually being in the location.

In Singapore, virtual tours can be done via laptops, smartphones, and tablets as VR technology headsets are very limited.

Pham noted that using VR technology in real estate is still in its infancy.

“As the technology is costly, the application has been largely limited to the marketing of luxury properties and large-scale developments. Moreover, many of today’s homebuyers comprise the older generation who still prefer physical visits to the properties over virtual ones,” Pham said.

Pham noted that VR technology will soon be more affordable as more companies decide to incorporate the technology in marketing properties.

“In the future, VR could bring to homebuyers not only sight but also a sense of touch with the aid of haptic technology. Potential buyers would not only be able to walk through the virtual show, but also touch the kit chen-top and feel the doorknobs,” she said.

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