Figures from HSBC show that 90% of Canadians who bought a home recently used an online channel, compared to the global average of 83% (the UK was top-placed at 93%).
The lender has looked at the trends in digital real estate and forecasts an increase with funding for disruptive tech firms in the industry increasing from U$221 million in 2012 to more than $2 billion last year.
"From online mortgage specialists to paperless mortgage renewals, technology is rapidly changing how we engage with and serve our customers in Canada and across the globe," said Larry Tomei, Executive Vice President and Head of Retail Banking and Wealth Management, HSBC Bank Canada.
Researching, financing and buying homes are all set for increased disruption, Tomei says, and there are some key trends already developing.
Drones and other tech-based viewings of homes will rise with virtual reality even allowing prospective buyers the ability to ‘live’ in the home for a few days before making their decision.
Dealing with real estate agents online will also becoming more prevalent. HSBC says that 29% of recent homebuyers began their conversation with an agent online (global average 31%).
Robo-advisors may see an increase but the lender’s report shows that dealing with a person is still important when arranging a mortgage. Although 74% of Canadian homebuyers use online channels for research, only 11% would be happy dealing with a robo-advisor for their mortgage compared to 41% talking to the bank and 35% to a mortgage broker.
“The research supports what we already know: while more and more Canadians are embracing disruptive technology in new and exciting ways, the need for the human touch hasn't diminished,” Tomei concluded.
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Canadian homebuyers are highly likely to research their housing options online and are second only to the UK for doing so.