UNSW launches land valuation toolkit

The digital toolkit, called the Rapid Analytics Interactive Scenario Explorer (RAISE), uses big data, artificial intelligence and advanced analytics to calculate property valuations across Australia’s residential property market.

UNSW Sydney and their partners, PEXA and FrontierSI, is launching a data-driven toolkit that rapidly calculates property valuations to inform urban development.

The digital toolkit, called the Rapid Analytics Interactive Scenario Explorer (RAISE), was designed to facilitate data-driven solutions to support better city planning. It allows users to visualise diverse infrastructure and planning scenarios and their effect on surrounding property values.

Hosted by the new venture Slate Analytics, the toolkit uses big data, artificial intelligence and advanced analytics to calculate property valuations across Australia’s residential property market. Its interactive, what-if scenario capability represents one of the first of its kind for planning support systems.

Valuations are used to collect land tax, inform infrastructure investment and lending for homes, as well as to model insurance risk and property investment returns, says Professor Chris Pettit, Director of the UNSW City Futures Research Centre (CFRC), chief investigator on the project.

“However, the current labour-intensive approach to land and property value assessment results is expensive, subjective, slow and often uses out-of-date valuations for property. Increasing the accessibility and accuracy of value assessments will help homebuyers, investors, businesses and governments make more informed decisions,” says Professor Pettit.

“RAISE provides a cyber-secure, scalable and commercially viable solution that reduces the risks and costs associated with land value analysis.

“This new commercial partnership brings together PEXA’s expertise in data and digital property settlements, and FrontierSI’s specialisation in spatial mapping and geodesy with UNSW’s leading research on data science and the future of our cities to deliver a world-class platform.”

The digital toolkit is the result of a longstanding research partnership between FrontierSI and UNSW CFRC.

Graeme Kernich, CEO FrontierSI said “Through Slate Analytics, FrontierSI and UNSW has realised its vision to bring cutting edge AI into the property valuation products and services space. The investment by PEXA will be critical to furthering this vision and expanding the impact that this capability will have for Australia and beyond.”

The venture builds on previous research with UNSW’s CFRC, FrontierSI, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Liverpool City Council, the NSW Office of the Valuer General and property data management company Omnilink, that was funded by an Australian Government Cooperative Research Centres Projects (CRC-P) grant.

The toolkit cleans, links and embeds diverse geospatial and property data from trusted government databases and industry partners, including from such sources as the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Geoscape, Valuer General’s data and Transport, Education and Crime Statistic agencies.

It includes a property market dashboard developed in response to Covid-19 that provides a daily snapshot of how the property market is performing in comparison to prior to the pandemic. It has an interactive map of Australia, identifying Covid case numbers based on data from state departments of health.

The dashboard provides graphs and charts of key property market metrics, including median property prices, auction clearance rates, the house value index and the performance of the ASX 200 real estate sector, to assist government, industry and communities in understanding the impacts Covid-19 is having on the property market.

The toolkit was used in recent research evaluating the proposed high-speed rail network on the east coast of Australia. It revealed that land value growth around the high-speed stations, estimated to increase by up to $140 billion, could be used to fund the network.

Professor Pettit adds, “A significant portion of this could be dedicated to funding its construction and supporting the creation of liveable and vibrant cities and regions.”

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