European startups are beginning to make waves in the real-estate market with new technology. Some overseas companies offer amenities such as virtual-reality tours and online leasing. For example, Virtual Walkthrough, a London-based website, allows real-estate agents and developers to check out properties from the comfort of their own computer. Although many European countries are making great strides in the industry, they must compete with more reputable and better-funded American companies.
Among many established U.S. companies in contention with European companies, CoStar remains a dominant force as an American commercial real estate data provider. CoStar was able to expand over to the United Kingdom in 2003 and now tracks over 400,000 properties. The company has big plans for the next five years to expand into other prominent European cities. Multiple U.S. companies plan to also enter Europe, including VTS, based in New York, which offers “tools to track leasing data and portfolio performance.” Technology experts are able to rationalize American leadership in real-estate technology because U.S. companies have greater access to a larger market with the same currency, language, and regulations.
Since Europe has many markets and languages, smaller U.S companies struggle with overseas expansion. For example, Auction.com was forced to end its expansion into Germany in 2014 because of expansion complications. The European real estate tech markets will be hard to tap into, but large American companies will lead the way for overseas competitors.