Realtors, developers eye virtual reality as a tool for attracting foreign buyers

TORONTO -- Overseas investors looking to park their money in Canadian real estate could soon be donning headsets and touring upcoming condo developments in virtual reality, according to the founder of a Toronto-based technology firm.

See Full Article

Invent Dev turns floor plans of new developments into 3D, immersive mockups that can be experienced in virtual reality, such as through the Occulus Rift system, or via he Samsung Gear VR headset.

David Payne, the company's founder and CEO, says he's been getting tremendous interest from the Chinese community.

"They are very excited about the potential," he said, noting that in the past week alone he has received three media inquiries from Chinese news outlets.

The technology could help Canadian developers tap into global markets by allowing prospective buyers to tour a space without ever having to board a plane, he said.

"They can now, from the comfort of their own home, view any floor plan that they want, with the finishes they want, and feel like they're actually inside that home," says Payne.

The technology can benefit developers in other ways as well, says Payne.

Rather than building model suites, Lifestyle Custom Homes employed Invent Dev's technology to create virtual reality mockups of its upcoming development in Toronto's Leslieville neighbourhood -- a significant cost saving for the company, says Payne.

While full-blown virtual reality -- the kind that's experienced through a headset -- is relatively new in the Canadian real estate industry, a number of agents have been using other technologies to create immersive experiences of homes.

Cameras such as the Matterport Pro 3D can scan an existing home and create a three-dimensional rendering of it that can be viewed through a simple web browser. A number of Toronto-based brokers with Sotheby's International Realty Canada, which works with a large proportion of overseas buyers, started using the technology earlier this year.

"Our clients love the fact that they're able to experience an immersive model that they're able to control and where they're able to walk through a space in its entirety," says Elaine Hung, the company's vice-president of marketing.

"It's a huge benefit for us, and for overseas buyers."

Ara Mamourian says his brokerage, SpringRealty.ca, has been using online virtual tours for all of its listings since 2013. One of the things that prompted Mamourian to start offering the service was a high number of calls from overseas buyers.

Mamourian says some foreign investors are willing to purchase properties such as condos without visiting them in person first.

"They love this technology because they can essentially walk through the house and actually feel how big the rooms are, or how small the rooms are, without being fooled by that wide-angle lens," he says.

While the appeal of immersive tours for foreign buyers is obvious, realtors note that the technology has benefits for local home buyers, as well. For example, it can help a home-hunter narrow down his or her list of options, ultimately cutting down on the amount of time spent driving around town touring homes, says Hung.

"We have a new generation of home buyers ... who expect and deserve to experience a product before they invest their time in walking through," says Hung.

As virtual reality technology becomes more affordable and more widely adopted by consumers, its popularity in the real estate industry is likely to grow, she adds.

"Real estate is one of the leading industries to pioneer and adopt this technology in a significant way."



Advertisements

Latest Economic News

  • BlackBerry COO Marty Beard resigning to deal with family situation: CP

    Economic CTV News
    TORONTO -- A person with knowledge of the situation says that BlackBerry Ltd.'s chief operating officer has resigned in order to deal with a family health issue. The source who spoke on condition of anonymity says that Marty Beard will leave the company effective Dec. Source
  • Loblaw pre-orders 25 Tesla electric trucks for undisclosed price

    Economic CTV News
    MONTREAL -- Loblaw Companies Ltd. says it is among the first purchasers of Tesla's new electric truck. Canada's largest supermarket chain (TSX:L) says it has pre-ordered 25 of the vehicles called the Tesla Semi. Source
  • Canadian funds like energy stocks despite potential rejection in Norway

    Economic CTV News
    CALGARY -- Oil and gas investments may have soured for managers of the Norwegian sovereign wealth fund but a Canadian fund says it has plenty of room for such securities in its portfolio. In a letter this week, Norway's central bank urged the Norwegian government to consider divesting oil and gas company shares held in the US$1-trillion oil fund to avoid the risk of permanently lower commodity prices. Source
  • Keystone spill clean up underway in South Dakota as pipeline vote looms

    Economic CTV News
    CALGARY -- TransCanada Corp. said Friday that work is well underway to clean up a sizable oil leak at its Keystone pipeline in South Dakota that occurred days before a vote on the fate of the company's flagship pipeline proposal. Source
  • Volkswagen accelerates push into electric cars with big spending plan

    Economic CBC News
    Volkswagen approved a 34-billion-euro ($51 billion Cdn) spending plan on Friday that accelerates its efforts to become a global leader in electric cars. The world's largest carmaker by unit sales will spend the money on electric cars, autonomous driving and new mobility services by the end of 2022, it said after a meeting of its supervisory board. Source
  • Loblaw to be early adopter of Tesla's all-electric Semi

    Economic CBC News
    Walmart is planning to test Tesla's electric trucks in Canada and the U.S., it said Friday, just a day after the unveiling of the all-electric Tesla Semi. The retail giant becomes the second U.S. company to commit to trying the new technology as an alternative to diesel, after J.B. Source
  • Walmart, J.B. Hunt truck operations sign up for Tesla's all-electric Semi

    Economic CBC News
    Walmart is planning to test Tesla's electric trucks in Canada and the U.S., it said Friday, just a day after the unveiling of the all-electric Tesla Semi. The retail giant becomes the second U.S. company to commit to trying the new technology as an alternative to diesel, after J.B. Source
  • Quebec biofuel company partners with Qantas in effort to cut emissions

    Economic CBC News
    A Quebec biofuels company has signed its first deal to power an airline's jets with energy grown from Canadian oilseeds. Agrisoma Biosciences Inc. of Gatineau will supply biofuel to Australia's Qantas Airways made from Carinata seed, a non-food, industrial type of mustard seed that produces oil suitable for aviation and diesel fuel. Source
  • Bombardier to hire 1000 workers in Montreal for Global 7000 business jet

    Economic CTV News
    Bombardier confirmed this morning that it will hire about 1,000 workers over the next 18 months for its new Global 7000 business jet. The workers will complete the interiors for the company's largest business aircraft. Source
  • Bombardier hiring 1,000 to work on Global 7000 aircraft

    Economic CBC News
    Bombardier is hiring about 1,000 workers in the Montreal area to work on its Global 7000 business aircraft program, the company said Friday. The company said the workers will be hired over the next 18 months for interior completion work on the aircraft. Source