Demystifying Data was the title of a recent popular breakfast roundtable we hosted, and while this is obviously too broad a subject to possibly tackle over miniature versions of breakfast favourites, demystifying the word data is possibly manageable in this blog.
What do people mean when they talk about data?
The truth is that data is the recording of everything, so trying to constructively discuss anything other than a specific area is near-on futile. It is because of this broad definition there is so much vagueness in people’s language when they approach you to discuss the importance of data in real estate.
In much the same way an over-the-hill romantic author may beef up their word count for a publisher, many property world commentators have miraculously managed to pump out hundreds of thousands of words on the subject without ever really getting to any point.
The property world is a fertile breeding ground for those who know slightly more than others and have no fear that they will be challenged. They will have pre-identified this area as prime hunting ground, and when not racing up the corporate ladder, or raising eight-figure investments from the private equity world, can be found rapidly pumping out the double-A diversionary flares of Acronyms and Abbreviations. The result? Pages and pages of vanilla text and a wider conversation stuck in the mud.
What is the issue with selling data to the property industry?
The main issue is that the sector is simply too wide and with too many moving parts to be able to have a one size fits all approach. From average daily rates, yield trackers and footfall, the sheer number of data and statistics that are applicable to real estate is vast. It is imperative that in the industry we keep a laser focus on the story we want data to tell us. It is for this reason, that we need to be question-led and for stakeholders to dictate to data providers and agents alike exactly what it is they need to know. The tail simply cannot wag the dog and provide the market with presumed insights.
So how do you sort the must haves from the nice to haves when looking at the data that is out there and available to us? The answer, as always, is just simple clarity. By asking two questions we can sort the wheat from the chaff:
1. What is the monetary or social return?
2. Why is the source credible?
The result of applying these simple questions? The provision of creditable and quantifiable value-add data that can be used to facilitate informed decision making.
Here at Colliers we are working with clients throughout the lifecycle of their assets and adjusting our approach to data provision accordingly. We’re not going to preach to you and try to convince you that we’ve re-invented the wheel, but what we will do is use all in our extensive, sanity-checked, and painstakingly assembled toolkit to provide previously unseen insights, placing our clients ahead of their competition.
About the author:
Lee Layton focuses on research within the operational or beds capital markets sector. In this role Lee works closely with our key clients to create bespoke research pieces, whilst also supporting our National Capital Markets team. Lee has over 17 years’ experience in residential and alternatives property markets, in a career that spans residential agency, management, through to research, and has worked with some of real estate’s leading market operators.
To contact Lee, email Lee.Layton@colliers.com