Startups are deploying technology to fundamentally reshape the real estate landscape
Artificial Intelligence’s prowess, as epitomized by ChatGPT, the face of AI 2.0, has been instrumental for residential real estate agents seeking efficiency in their workflows.
Residential brokers have started utilizing ChatGPT for a variety of routine tasks — from location-specific research, drafting property listings to handling leasing documentation. Even technology-forward brokerages like Compass and eXp promote their tools as time-efficient solutions.
Simultaneously, proptech firms that leverage AI primarily aim to expedite processes. Silverwork Solutions automates monotonous tasks burdening mortgage brokers, while Redfin’s tech effectively matches users with property suggestions aligning with their needs.
When implemented on a large scale, AI holds the potential to revolutionize how tech-oriented developers discover, plan, and execute projects. Some innovative products could even optimize entire cities through redesign.
AI-empowered development tools emerged ahead of brokerage tools, equipped with more powerful capabilities.
Over the last five years, a collaborative effort involving architects, ex-developers, and tech enthusiasts has led to the creation of programs that enhance returns, reduce carbon emissions, and unlock new possibilities for buildable sites.
Jay Shah, director at Mumbai, India’s Access Architects, realized the potential of AI in architectural design during his time as a graduate student at Columbia University.
15 years later, Shah has developed a program capable of optimizing building plans in less than 28 days, significantly shortening traditional timelines, increasing profits, and decreasing carbon emissions.
The technology, Kaizen ai, is named after the Japanese business philosophy of continuous improvement.
Ajmera Treon, a two-building high-rise in Downtown Mumbai, serves as the firm’s flagship case study.
Developer Ajmera Realty sought Kaizen’s assistance to refine its plans after having already laid the foundation and sold several apartments.
According to Shah, Kaizen generated designs that revamped the building’s support columns, firefighting shafts, and elevators while reducing the size of the elevator bay. These modifications would decrease the building’s common area by 27 percent and steel usage by 35 percent.
A reduction in common space results in lower electricity and heating costs for the owner, as well as a reduced carbon footprint.
However, for developers, the most significant benefit of the design was the increased profit.
Kaizen also reduced the parking lot to four floors, adding 62 spaces in the process. These extra floors were repurposed for residential use, thereby increasing the project’s saleable area by 13 percent.
On projects where apartment layouts could be overhauled, the firm increased the saleable area by 15 percent.
Shah explains, “The impact is much larger.”
Although Kaizen has primarily worked with developers based in Asia, it mentions potential collaborations with renowned North American entities, such as Brookfield and Marriott.
Deepblocks, a U.S. firm, expedites and simplifies the process of assembling a development site.
The technology, designed by founder Olivia Ramos and her team at California’s Singularity University, offers developers access to zoning parameters for over 100 cities nationwide.
Developers using the program can navigate a city’s complex zoning codes with ease.
Ramos underscores the long-winded process of site identification without their technology: Waiting for a broker’s deal, consulting with an architect, verifying the site with an analyst, followed by a contractor, all taking up to eight months. Deepblocks cuts this down to a mere few seconds.
Deepblocks also generates 3D project models, assisting developers with building layouts.
According to Ramos, “We’re the only AI company that can scan the entire city and pinpoint the few properties meeting specific development criteria out of thousands.”
The company has collaborated with Brazilian developer GBX Capital and New York-based Camden Securities on projects. It even garnered approval from Rockefeller Group.
Kaizen and Deepblocks, among others, persuade developers to adopt more tech-driven workflows.
Companies like Archistar, Leverton, Hypar, and Giraffe provide a range of solutions, from quickly assessing residential development sites for maximum ROI to attempting to eliminate human errors in architectural models, accelerating the modeling process, or even modeling entire cities.
Though still in their early stages, AI development tools are poised to change the industry, and developers ignoring these technological advancements run the risk of being left behind.
Nikki Greenberg, founder of Real Estate of the Future, told Urban Land, “AI is here to stay, and companies that embrace it will lead the industry, while those who don’t will lag behind.”