Several experts got together at The Burnham-Moores Center for a panel discussion titled, “The Metaverse, How it Impacts Real Estate … and You”, to discuss the potential impact of the metaverse on real estate.
Attendees included Burnham-Moores Center Executive Director, Stath Karras, who was also the moderator; co-founder of The Metamall GroupNeel Naicker. Others included the vice president and general manager of XM at Qualcomm Technologies, Hugo Swart; CRG SVP, Geoffrey Kasselman.
The discussion involved several aspects of metaverse real estate.
Here are some of the most important points from the event:
Already Attracting Big Numbers
The industry is already attracting big numbers and is worth $1.8 trillion. Special mention goes to Qualcomm Ventures’ $100m Snapdragon Metaverse Fund created by the company to target metaverse content creators.
“It’s a big bet Qualcomm is making,” Swart said while explaining how the fund could help the company make future plans.
“I believe this is an opportunistic moment for all of us in some form or fashion,” Kasselman added. “If you can’t make money in the metaverse, make it on the metaverse – and there are wonderful opportunities in either direction.”
Offices Tomorrow Will Be Very Different
Experts expect the concept of virtual offices to get even more ‘common’.
The situation is already changing, and office space occupancy in cities like Chicago is already around 50 percent.
“How are we going to get back to 90% or 80%?” Kasselman said while offering two solutions.
He expects offices to turn into studios with technologies, including “CGI, green screen, hologram, avatar and immersive metaverse experiences, that can be broadcast across your enterprise.”
Moreover, he predicts that the offices of tomorrow will be used for multiple purposes, such as warehouses. In addition, he believes “office buildings could monetize space with 5G small scale data centers.”
The Retail Market Could Change
The real estate industry should prepare for a major change in the retail market.
“Retail in the metaverse is pretty easy to get your head around,” said Karras. Dubai and other big hubs have already started to invest in this niche.
“In real estate, if you’re an owner operator, not only do you have a mall representative in real life you also have a digital representation of that where people from anywhere in the world can come shop. Imagine a world where you can invite your friends to go shopping with you at the Dubai Mall,” he said.
Experts also expect NFTs to play an important role in retail.
“Tomorrow, you’ll see the ability to globally shop with tokens,” Naicker said. “I go, buy tokens and in retail I use the same coins in Dubai as I do in Paris and London or in Brazil and the fees are minuscule compared to what it is today from the bank fees. All of that is going to come together and the metaverse enables easier action to that.”
Faster Buying and Selling
Naicker believes that the metaverse can improve the buying and selling process through the concept of ‘digital twins.
“Commercial real estate is a $70 trillion business but is one of the least liquid – it takes time to sell and get liquidity,” he said. “A digital twin allows prospective tenants or buyers to get an analysis in real time to be able to figure out the future of building and transact globally,” he said.
Thanks to technology, buyers and sellers will be able to view the metaverse and check the property without having to visit it. They’ll even be able to pull all the required information and make decisions.
“The owners can market this everywhere,” Naicker said. “If you have a digital twin, you can reach more people.”
No business currently uses this technology, but Kasselman says things may change soon. In fact, he is working to convince his own company to go this route.
Valuing Property in the Metaverse
The valuation can be a challenge in the metaverse due to a lack of scarcity. However, experts believe they will be able to create scarcity.
“In the metaverse, there will be winning locations and losing locations,” Kasselman said. “And there will be limited supply in the virtual communities embedded in the metaverse where everybody wants to be because whatever is cool or hip or has energy or whatever made the place, is where people are going to come. And that community will have a finite amount of virtual NFT-backed real estate to sell you or lease you and there will be more demand than there will be supply.”
Naicker highlighted how there are many companies in the metaverse already buying and selling land – without any presence in the real world.