Smartphone applications that create virtual additions to what exists in reality are the latest landmark novelty in the real estate brokerage industry, according to a list of the top 40 real estate innovations in history, dating back to 1863, compiled by New Jersey-based ERA Real Estate.
The technology, called augmented reality, uses a smartphone’s camera, GPS and gyroscope to build realistic virtual worlds on top of what exists in front of its camera lens, and real estate agents can use the apps to help prospective buyers and renters visualize how a property would look with their customizations before they even submit an offer.
That innovation, which ERA dates to 2011, comes 148 years after the first seminal moment in real estate technological advancement, the opening of the London Underground. ERA credited the transportation system with allowing people to live further from their jobs and opening up a whole new set of viable options for homes.
Other key innovations include the advent of the Multiple Listing Service in the 1880s and the Federal Highway Act of 1921, which gave rise to the suburbs. Twenty-nine years later more prople lived in the suburbs than in the city. Further, the construction of the first condominium in Salt Lak City, Utah in 1960 is considered a key innovation, as is the introduction of the World Wide Web in 1990 and the emerging dominance of paperless transactions in 2000. — Adam Fusfeld