For those of you who hadn’t realized, over the past five years there has been a dynamic shift in the world of property brokerage. Bricks and mortar might well be headed for the same legacy dumpster that now is home base for icons such as Tower Records. Remember them? Maybe not, but you certainly know

I’ve just returned from Hong Kong’s annual leading hotel investment event HICAP 2016 and one of the key note presentations from Brand Finance was on how the rules are being broken across nearly every industry.

Perhaps the best reality check is taken from their presentation on how the digital space model has shifted the old ways. In a nutshell, businesses now need to realize the following seven points:

  1. World largest taxi company – owns no taxis
  2. Largest accommodation provider – owns no rooms
  3. Largest phone companies – own no telecommunications infrastructure
  4. World’s most valuable retailer – has no inventory
  5. Most popular media owner – creates no content
  6. World’s largest move house – has no cinemas
  7. Largest software vendors – don’t write the apps

In the real estate world the disruptors have been Zillow, Trulia and Redfin who are all taking the business out of the box and creating a new shared economy. Here in Thailand has rapidly built their footprint with over 50,000 properties now online.

For those in the property business the reality of the shift is that the old rules no longer apply and sitting in a High Street office, with real estate listings littering the front window is simply putting your head in the sand.

A sharing economy approach, moving away from what has always been common practices and getting online is clearly the way forward for the industry. As David Bowie said “the future belongs to those who hear it coming.”