The last two years of the pandemic have given a renewed focus on the importance of prioritising wellness and good quality of life. This also comes with a heightened sense of awareness amongst the average consumer of the impacts of climate change and the steps needed to reduce our carbon footprint.

Consequently, we are seeing more building occupants who are demanding a more sustainable and healthier living environment that is intertwined with nature. Sustainability has become central to the built environment and, along with proptech, have proven potential to shape the future of real estate.

With hybrid work here to stay and a greater emphasis on well-being and health, the live-work-play concept is now even more relevant than before. There is also less willingness amongst people to take on long commutes. Social activities, hobbies and family time are now higher on people’s agenda than it was just two years ago. To support this move towards more live-work-play developments, adopting sustainability practices through the support of proptech will be key.

Some examples of how the use of technology can support the real estate industry include the collection and analysis of data to measure environmental, social and governance performance. It also allows for optimisations to be carried out in real time to improve sustainability factors, such as energy usage and waste.

The half-life of new business trends in the real estate industry has contracted significantly. Real estate players no longer enjoy the luxury of reacting to trends — they are either amongst those at the forefront shaping the trends, or they run the risk of missing the boat completely.

Players across the real estate value chain, from designers to asset managers, will need to think more urgently about questions that will shape public perceptions of their business in future: How do their businesses impact the environment? How are they protecting their businesses from getting severely disrupted by technological or regulatory changes? How are they managing the conflict between the adoption of artificial intelligence and data privacy?

In Singapore, the evolving business environment has created an opportunity for developers to invest in differentiated asset classes such as satellite offices and live-work-play concepts in the central business district. In the medium to long term, it is also an opportunity to create sustainable products, technologies, and supply chains to reduce embedded and operating carbon.

In this interview with Real Estate Asia, Tay Hong Beng, Partner, Head of Real Estate, KPMG in Singapore, talks about the key trends and developments in the industry, including government measures to address fears of a property bubble and the use of property technology in the transformation of live-work-play projects.