We have launched the Oxford Future of Real Estate Initiative to research and predict the changes faced by the industry over the next decade.

Real estate constitutes over 50% of the world's assets. Housing is a vital human need, and the commercial property sector delivers and manages the infrastructure needed for entrepreneurship to flourish. However, despite the importance of real estate as a global industry, the role it plays in the functioning of both developing and developed economies is under-researched. Relevant real estate research requires significant industry collaboration. The future of the industry will be influenced as never before by technology and innovation, and relevant real estate research requires significant industry collaboration.


Image of tall buildings

The Future of Real Estate Transactions

A new report by Oxford Saïd examines the property transactions process and how new technologies may affect the purchase processes of the future. Statistics tell a story of a procedure stretched to its limit: conveyancers are undertaking 55% more work per person than they were in 2015, the average sale takes 11 weeks and 25% of all property transactions fail to complete. Meanwhile, an ever-increasing array of technologies are being developed that could transform the way we buy and sell property, with profound consequences for the real estate industry, businesses and property owners. So, what are these new technologies, why can’t we use them now, and how long will it be before we can instantaneously buy and sell property? Read the report in full (with clickable index) or view the shorter summary report.

Proptech 3.0


We have launched the Oxford Future of Real Estate Initiative, led by Professor Andrew Baum, real estate industry veteran and author of 2017's groundbreaking Proptech 3.0 report. The initiative will bring academics together with industry experts from leading businesses across the global real estate community. It will enable Oxford Saïd to employ a variety of research methods to understand the technology and innovation drivers of change in the real estate industry, and the research findings will be available to the public.

Andrew Baum
Andrew Baum

‘From Blockchain to Smart Cities, the real estate world is going through a period of extraordinary change,’ explained Professor Baum. ‘Thousands of extremely clever people backed by billions of dollars of investment are working hard to change the way it is traded, used and operated. 93% of tech start-ups fail to last more than three years, but those who prosper will have a radical impact, and it is of vital importance for companies to understand exactly what changes they will bring. This initiative will enable both the academic and commercial Real Estate communities to work together in preparation for a period for unparalleled challenge and opportunity.’

Housing sprint

The Oxford Housing Sprint assembled 56 leading practitioners, academics, and disruptors to bring radical realism and energy to bear on the UK's national housing emergency. Through an intensive three-day event at The Oxford Foundry on 15-17 July 2019, the group used a modified Design Sprint approach to tackle this long-term goal:

To see an increased number of homes delivered in ways that generate community benefits and sustainable economic growth. The Oxford Housing Sprint was sponsored and supported by a consortium of industry and central government, and was managed, organised and hosted by Oxford Saïd.

Thinking differently. The Sprint method forced everyone to think creatively and collaborate to produce fresh, innovative ideas at speed. We think this technique has the potential to unfreeze longstanding problems and blockages, so we commend it to everyone involved in UK housing.

13 bright ideas. Informed by three pieces of specially-commissioned research and custom provocations from four University of Oxford academics, the Sprint generated a portfolio of 13 practical ways to boost housing supply plus a set of quick wins for immediate impact. The ideas spanned better use of data to pinpoint housing need, new sources of finance, reinvigorating public sector provision, more flexible home types and tenures, initiatives to mobilise local support for homebuilding and ways to release more land. The event also addressed the barriers to change and future-gazed to imagine how housing might make the headlines in ten years’ time.

Insight into action. The Sprint outcomes go next to a launch event with the Minister of Housing and industry leaders in London on 26 September 2019. The ideas will also be shared at a range of conferences and through a dedicated incubator website and Saïd Business School publication. From there, we invite partners and other support to turn these bright ideas (singly or in combination) into a bold, new reality. The world is going through uniquely formative times; so on the political, social, economic, environmental and technological stages, it’s time for action. Decades of under-supply mean that it will take at least a generation to get Britain’s homebuilding back on track. Housing our nation is both a marathon and a sprint.

Designing successful communities

Land report

Finance for housing in England: money and the market, investment, affordability and tenure

Research topics

The first confirmed research topics include:

  • Blockchain and property trading
  • Big data and the investment/occupation decision
  • Leasing or operating? Future management models for real estate
  • Technology and the smart city of the future



This is an innovative approach to applied real estate research that will create strong lasting partnerships between academics and industry.

The initiative will consist of a group of ten leading businesses who will support and engage in an ambitious programme of research at Oxford.

Our founding partners are:

  • Arcadis UK
  • Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner
  • CBRE
  • The Crown Estate
  • EY
  • Grosvenor
  • Nuveen Real Estate
  • Redevco
  • UBS

This is a unique opportunity to contribute to, and work with, the exceptional research faculty and students at Oxford Saïd.

Andrew Vaughan, Chief Executive Officer at Redevco commented: ‘As a retail-focused investment manager we recognise the enormous structural changes taking place in our sector. We believe these will be both positive as well as disruptive, will come at an astonishing speed and will significantly impact our business. We are delighted to join the Future of Real estate initiative working with like-minded partners to learn about and anticipate the impact of such technologies and innovations at an early stage.’

As well as co-funding research, the initiative partners will meet twice yearly to discuss continuing research development.

We are extremely proud to have these companies join us. They are funding world-class research into the future of the industry.

Professor Baum

Data Partners

The initiative is very grateful for the cooperation and generosity of the following data partners:

  • Crunchbase
  • Gyana
  • Stack Overflow
  • Unissu


Real Estate events

The Initiative is part of a broad range of activities designed to embed real estate within the school.

This encompasses a popular Real Estate elective on the Oxford MBA; an open enrolment executive education programme in Real Estate; a global network of Oxford real estate alumni that is being created through the establishment of the Oxford Real Estate Society, and the delivery of the annual Oxford Real Estate Conference.

The 2019 conference was held on Wednesday 20 March at Saïd Business School in Oxford. The conference focused on the tenth anniversary of the Global Financial Crisis: exploring lessons learnt from the downturn. The sessions covered; from how to prepare for a correction to a case study charting the evolution in European fund management; from approaches to fixing the UK housing market to the evolution of proptech; and looked ahead to debate the potential consequences of the next real estate downturn. The conference included keynote addresses, panel sessions, and many networking opportunities, and concluded with a cocktail reception and an optional dinner at Worcester College. Read more about the event.