How to use property data to create value in a changing commercial market

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The pandemic changed the way people interact with the built environment. During 2022, we saw several trends take off in commercial property: finding off-market opportunities online, assessing them quickly, and easily connecting with owners, being just some. 

Why? Today’s commercial property professionals have access to more data than ever before. 

And there are many ways to put this data to work. 

Each provides opportunities for competitive advantage and profit, from providing hard evidence to confirm your gut feelings, to easily appraising the financial viability of sites. 

But how can you make sure you're getting the most value from your property data and tech

Use this guide to learn more about how you can use comprehensive property data to create value in today’s changing commercial market.

Shortcuts ✂️

The key property data insights you need

Property investors have long made decisions based on a combination of intuition and traditional retrospective data. Today, a host of new data sources make it possible to paint more vivid pictures of a site’s future risks and opportunities. 

In our conversations with commercial developers, surveyors and occupiers, we often hear frustration with the disconnect between the availability of data and difficulty harnessing it for quick, actionable decisions. 

Commercial investors and developers are often looking for comparables and planning insight to help them source and secure the right sites for investment and to raise funds for their schemes.

Commercial agents and surveyors need access to reliable, comprehensive market data to provide accurate and timely advice to clients. Whether this is through ownership data, commercial comparables or site profiling (e.g. traffic flow data, planning information, and population statistics).

In a packed marketplace, getting access to this data swiftly and ahead of competitors can be critical in winning business and earning fees. And commercial occupiers need a deeper understanding of their portfolios including local market activity, constraints and opportunities, and indicative values in the area.

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The importance of data comprehensiveness

While you might be able to access a lot of this data already, it’s hard work, potentially unreliable and it can stop you from having creative and proactive solutions to your problems. 

Why? Because it’s often out of date or you can't examine or interrogate it easily. 

Property data needs to be comprehensive. 

An effective property data solution brings this data into one place for property professionals to establish value, find the right data and information, and easily access and interrogate that data. 

However, this is where most property solutions currently disappoint.

Where data property solutions fall short

If you’ve been using PropTech for a while now, you’ve likely come across many areas where the system falls short, such as a lack of data comprehensiveness and missing insights - particularly around planning constraints. 

It’s good to look at the potential pitfalls of property data solutions when reviewing the right PropTech solution for your business. 

Considerations that can impact cost, access to the right insights, and data comprehensiveness include:

❌ Lack of insight into different uses and values

Creating value in a commercial market revolves around either changing from a lower value use to a higher one, modernising a tired building, or putting more space onto the site.

That means you need to understand what the values are for each of the different uses (offices, industrial, retail, residential, care etc). 

This includes whether those changes are likely to be acceptable by the planning department and whether there is likely to be any demand for that new use once it's been built. And you need comprehensive information on values across those uses.


❌ Lack of insight into planning constraints

While planning applications rose by 20% in 2021, according to the latest Government data, approval for commercial planning applications was down by 5% compared to the previous year. 

The cost of a refusal can be detrimental to your work. 

That’s why it’s so important to gain the most comprehensive information around planning constraints and issues, or policies that might preclude some changes of use. 

You also need market information and local knowledge as to what sorts of schemes others are committing to and whether their applications are successful. The challenge is that this information is held in multiple different places in inconsistent ways (of the 427 councils across the UK, all have different websites and different ways of interacting with them). 

And where property professionals rely upon PropTech already, typically they focus on small problems eg. residential values, commercial values, planning or planning policy.

❌ Difficulty finding the right insight

To easily find the right insights, you need the information all in one place. This is because, on a national level, the micro markets across the country are very different. For example, offices in Manchester can make more profit than residential, so converting offices to residential there could be a bad investment. Yet in the South East, residential properties typically have a higher value than offices. This shows that it can be profitable to convert offices to residential, but only in the right location. 

You need a tool that allows users to see the comparable sales values in any location for commercial and residential properties, so that users can make sure they are implementing the best strategy for development or investment in a particular area.

Accessing the right property data

The search for property is ultimately a search for data. And the key to success is making it as quick and efficient as possible.

The idea behind property data tech is to help you become more agile and efficient, and make data-driven decisions that result in better business outcomes.

✅ Access data all in one place

You want all the information in one place where you can see values across all uses with the ability to normalise it on a per square foot basis. 

With data all in one place, you can also see planning constraints and planning applications that other developers had success with, together with prices. This helps you to truly understand the local marketplace in terms of values, trends and whether particular assets have the right opportunities or not.


✅ Gain more comprehensive data

While a lot of property data tools provide retrospective data that’s quickly outdated, what you really need is real-time data updated every day from accurate data sources. What’s more, you need access to both residential and commercial data. Watch out for platforms that only have residential or commercial.


✅ All for a better price

The best part? It doesn’t have to cost the roof either. Given the way they acquire data manually, other competing PropTech tools are expensive and typically £3-5 K per license. Look for tools with flexible pricing plans to suit your specific business needs.

📑 Further reading: Game-changing Nimbus Maps features for commercial property professionals.


One solution to keep up with the pace of change

Now more than ever, commercial property professionals need data and technology that keeps pace with the ever-shifting property landscape.

To do this effectively, commercial property pros need to have access to property data and intelligence in one place so they can proactively identify and assess new opportunities at speed.

If you want property data that’s comprehensive and cost-efficient, Nimbus Maps is an excellent choice for your property needs.

See our unrivalled property data and intelligence platform in action: Watch a demo.

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