A survey of more than 9,000 people in nine countries says that Canadians are among the most “digitally active” homebuyers in the world, which has “significant implications for consumers and the property industry”.

The HSBC report, Beyond the Brick, says there will be radical changes in the way homes are purchased and financed, with property technology firms increasing globally from a USD$221 million industry in 2012 to over USD$2 billion in 2016.



“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,” says Larry Tomei, EVP at HSBC Bank Canada. “This latest research suggests that the property industry is poised for technological disruption, significantly changing how home buyers approach each of the three key phases of home buying: researching, financing and purchasing.”

The survey says 90 per cent of Canadians use online channels to research their recent property purchase (first is the U.K. at 93 per cent, while the global average is 83 per cent).

While 11 per cent of Canadians surveyed have embraced the idea of using robo-advisers such as chatbots and humanoids for mortgage advice, banks and mortgage brokers are still the most trusted sources of mortgage advice, the survey says. Almost three-quarters of recent homebuyers in Canada researched finance options online, on par with the global average.

It says 29 per cent of recent homebuyers in Canada started talking to a real estate agent online (the global average was 31 per cent).

Twenty-seven per cent of those surveyed said that dealing with the many people involved (real estate agents, lawyers, sellers and developers) was the biggest “pain point” in the home-buying process, followed by fees (23 per cent), negotiating the price (22 per cent) and understanding the legal paperwork (20 per cent).

“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,” says Tomei.

The countries that participated in the survey were Australia, Canada, China, France, Malaysia, U.A.E., U.K. and U.S.A.