February 23, 2024

Too Much Too Soon? AI Is Now “Nearly Ubiquitous” In Real Estate


As many as 80 percent of agents are using AI to do things like write listing descriptions, but real estate leaders also have concerns about “guardrails” for the tech.

This report is available exclusively to subscribers of Inman Intel, the data and research arm of Inman offering deep insights and market intelligence on the business of residential real estate and proptech. Subscribe today.

A new report shows that the use of artificial intelligence has lately exploded in real estate, with the technology becoming so popular that it is now “nearly ubiquitous” at top brokerages.

The report, out this week from Delta Media, specifically found that 75 percent of leading brokerages are themselves using AI right now. Moreover, 80 percent of brokerages report that their agents are using the technology. The most popular way to use AI is to write property descriptions, the report reveals, with 82 percent of agents turning to the tech for that common industry task.

Other popular uses for AI among real estate agents include writing blog posts and communication at 67 percent, generating social media content at 60 percent, and writing content for websites at 44 percent.

Credit: Delta Media

The report goes on to note that “reliance on AI is not just present but growing, with executives rating its current importance to the industry at 5 out of 10, which surges by 40 percent when asked about AI’s importance in the ‘near future.’”

“The popularity and use of artificial intelligence in real estate has become nearly ubiquitous among America’s leading real estate brokerages,” the report states.

The report is based on a survey of “more than 130 top brokerage leaders representing firms responsible for two-thirds of all real estate transactions nationally last year.”

Versions of artificial intelligence have existed for years, but the sector got a major boost in popularity just over a year ago when tech startup OpenAI debuted a public version of its chatbot, dubbed ChatGPT. The company also released an image generator, DALL-E, that could create photo-realistic images in seconds.

Both tools subsequently exposed the general public to a new type of AI that could produce human-like content. Other offerings, such as image generators Midjourney and Stable Diffusion, further helped boost AI’s popularity. But the significant thing to remember is that artificial intelligence, as it’s currently conceived, has really only been in the hands of the public for just over a year — making the Delta survey’s findings of near ubiquity all the more remarkable.

In addition to finding that AI has been widely adopted, Delta’s report also reveals that there is a gender breakdown on the topic, with “female-led brokerages, particularly those with medium to large agent teams and high transaction volumes,” most likely to use the tech.

“A greater percentage of female leaders (85.3 percent) utilize AI in their businesses than male leaders (70.4 precent),” the report states.

Though the report indicates that artificial intelligence has made significant headway into real estate, it also reveals that some concerns about the technology persist. For instance, more than half of the surveyed executives worry that AI lacks “appropriate guardrails.” The are also concerns about safeguards “keeping pace with AI’s rapid integration,” according to the report.

“The highest level of worry is among brokerage leaders aged 60 or older, especially those managing smaller teams and lower transaction volumes,” the report states. “Conversely, middle-aged leaders of large brokerages with massive transaction volumes exhibit the least concern.”

Michael Minard

In the report, Delta Media owner and CEO Michael Minard ultimately concluded that brokerages and agents have “embraced” AI “at a breakneck speed.” However, he also stressed that “legitimate concerns” remain when it comes to the technology.

“As AI reliance grows, brokerages need assurance that their tech partners providing these tools have sufficient safeguards to protect them from the potential downsides,” Minard said. “Managing risks remains an imperative even as competitive pressures make adoption table stakes.”

Email Jim Dalrymple II





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