Data-Driven Development: The Importance of Utilising Data within the Housebuilding Industry

From business and banking to agriculture and manufacturing, data analytics has been a key component in the growth of most industries over the last two decades. However, while it has had successful adoption in multiple sectors, the housebuilding industry has been slow to get on board with a data-led approach. Cat Smith, Director and co-founder of Pixel, explains how developers can easily augment their operations to generate data, and the advantages they can gain from them… 

Data capture has allowed companies from all sectors to delve further than ever before into the behaviour of their customers and better understand not only their market, but how they can best differentiate and place themselves to appeal to their target demographic. 

While the same can be said for the housebuilding industry, i.e. the data capture is possible, very few developers are yet to take full advantage.  Why is this?  

The traditional online buying experience is becoming more immersive and personalised across all industries. We now expect to be able to buy everything online, it’s more convenient, there’s reviews and photos to help inform your purchase, and lots of other information that you just don’t get when you walk around a shop in-person.  But it’s not just the buyer who benefits, this is where data comes from. 

The housebuilding market, for the most part, is not yet selling online. And I say “for the most part” because we at Pixel, provide forward-thinking developers with digital showhome and customer engagement tools.  These tools allow potential buyers to do things like browse developments before they are built, from the comfort of their own home.  Not only is this more cost effective than a traditional showhome, and is more in line with modern buyer behaviour, it also generates a huge amount of insightful and actionable data. 

The housebuilding industry is a tight-margin game.  As such, developers tend to play it safe in their build styles.  Bolder developers therefore have an opportunity to get a little creative with alternative house designs to gain a competitive edge, but at the moment it’s high risk, high reward.  

 Under normal circumstances, the extent of the data a developer receives testing a new building style within a development is more or less limited to how quickly it sells and whether or not it requires promotion.  With virtual showhomes, you can measure interest right down to time spent just looking at a property.  In other words, more confidence to reduce those risks. 

Going digital can also give developers insights into things like the order in which potential buyers look around a house, helping scope which rooms of the house should be dressed and what images should be prioritised when listing the house online.  Equally, you can obtain a ranked list of the most popular upgrades home buyers will go for and which rooms they spend the most/least money on.  

This intelligence is the foundation of decisions that would otherwise be based on a finger-in-the-air, and therefore much higher risk, or not made at all from a sheer lack of confidence.  If the last couple of years through the COVID-19 pandemic have taught us anything, it’s that businesses need to be agile if they want to survive market change. Data makes that adaptability far easier and less risky, and it has the double benefit of improving your buyer’s experience too.