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Virtual viewings increase for Middle Eastern buyers looking to purchase UK property

Technology is playing an increasingly important role for global estate agents whilst social distancing measures remain in place.

Physical viewings had been declining ahead of the latest government measures of social distancing and lockdown Evidence suggests that technology can support demand for property viewings and inspections during and even after social distancing measures are relaxed Buying off-plan in London is a relatively widespread practice throughout the Middle East, says Henry, with developers making their own project and property videos

Virtual viewings and video property tours are one way Henry Faun and his team at Knight Frank Middle East are using technology to adapt through a period of seemingly ever-tighter restrictions on movement for Middle Eastern buyers of UK real estate.

Physical viewings had been declining ahead of the latest government measures of social distancing and lockdown, however anecdotal evidence suggests that technology can support demand for property viewings and inspections during and even after social distancing measures are relaxed.

The range of hardware and software available is impressive, from smartphone videos and broadcasts, to 3D cameras, allowing for a fully manoeuvrable, high-definition 360-degree walkthrough of a property. 

“The modern technology available to showcase a property or development is not only impressive, but is also a great standalone asset for real estate agents during the current time where all the eyes of the world are digitally focused “, says Henry Faun, Head of London International Project Sales at Knight Frank’s Middle East HQ in Dubai.

Henry has used it to display many properties within his extensive development portfolio and expects it to become more widespread globally, even if government safety measures are relaxed. 

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In future, the technology platforms available, which allows viewers to measure up spaces for furniture, will also enable an agent to host a virtual viewing from any remote location.

“Drone footage will also become more widespread, says Henry, especially when viewing estates and country houses”.

Henry commented “The software’s and platforms available can expertly produce 4k video and 20-megapixel photography and are great tools when talking to both Middle Eastern buyers and sellers alike”. It is a very effective way to present a property from different angles and within its broader setting and has certainly revolutionised how we have marketed properties in recent years and will continue to do so in the longer-term.”

“Younger buyers from the Middle East often prefer to shortlist their properties ahead of travelling to the UK to view. Videos and 3D tours are often preferable to looking at floor plans, to bring a property to life, albeit digitally. Virtual viewings can also take place through a live stream or walkthrough for specific buyers looking for that extra level of detail.”

Buying off-plan in London is a relatively widespread practice throughout the Middle East, says Henry, with developers making their own project and property videos, but some Knight Frank agents have been able to supplement these with phone footage and often provide a running commentary walking from a key landmark such as a tube station, all the way to the property itself. This type of presentation gains quick traction it seems on social media channels and is very encouraging to review potential buyer interest, to enable travel to the UK once restrictions are lifted. 

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