Blockchain’s property role
Digital technologies are ready to change housing systems in profound ways. Our recent research looked at how blockchain technology could enable the crowdfunding of property development, potentially allowing developers to attract micro investors (possibly from across the world) who would each own small parcels of shares in the development.
This differs from existing real estate investment trusts in that blockchain tokenisation gives micro investors complete control over what they purchase with real-time information, without having to pay the high fees a portfolio manager might charge.
Another possibility is that blockchain may one day provide an entry point into the property market for those who cannot afford an entire property, even allowing tenants to own a share of the property they live in. Giving tenants a stake in the property would incentivise longer-term tenancies, which would be of financial benefit to property owners as well as giving the tenant some return if the property is sold.
As these technologies emerge, governments and industry must strive to improve data and privacy protocols to ensure the benefits are shared equitably and their harms are minimised responsibly. Michael Fotheringham, executive director, Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute