The Real Deal New York

Hungarian company, Real5D, poised to make mark stateside

New software simulates walking through not-yet-complete buildings
By Katherine Clarke | August 01, 2012 07:00AM

A Real5D screenshot

Buying an apartment or leasing commercial space from floor plans alone may soon be a thing of the past.

Real5D, a Hungarian company hat makes multidimensional interactive models of buildings, entered the U.S. marketplace only a few months ago and has already received $1.2 million from the venture capital Fund DoubleRock. Now with a new office in California, the company is poised to make its mark in the States and eventually New York City, which Real5D’s Dan Canfield called “the mecca of real estate.”

The company, founded in 2007 by Hungarian developer Balazs Farago and his brothers Peter and Daniel, has already made a name for itself by working with European companies like Skanska.

Real5D’s models offer a more “immersive” experience than other products currently on the market, Canfield explained, allowing prospective buyers or tenants to create personal avatars who walk through the virtual property, riding elevators and even interacting with brokers. Real5D’s technology has been used mostly for commercial buildings so far, but it can also be used for residential.

Basically, the tool helps potential clients better visualize the property, since “it’s really hard to imagine a building that’s not there,” Canfield said.

Last year, Real5D built a virtual model of a not-yet-completed mall in Poland for European development firm Trigranit, which had managed to lease only 65 percent of the building after a year of marketing. But within days of using Real5D’s model, the project shot up to 90 percent leased, Canfield said.

Still, some tenants may be wary of signing a lease before the building nears completion for fear it may not look exactly as represented, said Adelaide Polsinelli, a senior director at Manhattan commercial brokerage Eastern Consolidated.

“There is some reluctance to 100 percent rely on something that they haven’t physically walked,” she said.

Still, she said, the tool will likely come in handy for New York industry professionals and their clients. “I think that they will probably use this to begin their search and then make their final decision when they get closer to actually seeing the product,” she said.

New York City developers have a little while to wait before they can make use of this newest technological tool, though: Canfield said the company wants to develop a strong California base before moving to the East Coast.