The emergence of the Metaverse is creating rumbles, and in some cases, tidal waves across many industries and walks of life, with big brands like Nike, Coca-Cola, Walmart, and Proctor & Gamble pioneering the virtual world.
The metaverse – essentially mimicking real life as we know it – blurs the line between the physical and virtual worlds through sophisticated AR (augmented reality) and VR (virtual reality) technology. Metaversers (can we call them that?) can enjoy everyday activities as they would normally, with the benefit of exciting virtual features that aren’t even possible in the physical world. Ever thought about what it would be like to watch a baseball game from the pitcher’s mound or swing through New York City with your favorite superhero?
Visionaries are saying that just about anything will be possible in the Metaverse. What an exhilarating prospect. And even better, the Metaverse was clearly created to promote being social, interacting, coming together, and building communities. From exploring virtual fashion districts to congregating at church, there’s a corner in the Metaverse world for everyone.
Because real estate can be a consumer’s most cherished possession, the metaverse is one of the hottest topics in the real estate industry right now because it can give buyers another opportunity to feel the rewards of owning property.
Just recently, CNBC reported a 500% increase in plot prices across top Metaverse projects. So while we’re still in the early stages, the Metaverse is already driving investments of millions of dollars into virtual properties.
Digital storefronts, virtual gaming and entertainment, and even private islands are among the most attractive investments today. But again, with big retail brands like Nike and Louis Vuitton getting into the game, and legendary artist Snoop Dogg hosting full concerts, who knows what will happen in the virtual shopping world.
While it seems there’s endless potential and experiences to be had, many businesses may view the large investment of capital, in addition to bullish forecasts about financial growth opportunities, as an indication that the Metaverse could be creating a bubble. At the same time, prices for space in this virtual land of possibilities has skyrocketed, with trends suggesting the virtual real estate industry will be a $5 billion market by 2026.
What does this mean for real estate investors? For starters, much like a traditional real estate investment, as the growing popularity and demand raises for these virtual plots of land the value will also continue to increase. Similar to NFTs, virtual real estate investments have developed to the point where owners can now earn passive income through their virtual tenants.
But there’s more than just the swallowing up of land and property that we should all keep our eye on.
Because real estate is a relationship business, the Metaverse offers exciting opportunities for professionals and their buyers and sellers to interact as well as offices and entire communities of REALTORS® to virtually come together. It’s something we’ve all grown more accustomed to given the restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic. During the pandemic, real estate professionals adopted new technologies and became more comfortable interacting remotely with clients which has built the foundation for REALTORS® to open virtual doors in the Metaverse.
Virtual education, communing, exchanging referrals and celebrating as a team could all become a part of a real estate office’s overall culture which would have added benefits for new and experienced real estate agents. This is the perfect opportunity for our organization to continue to build its vibrant culture (we call it COOLTURE, cool + culture) in a new way. It also gives us another way to train and engage our real estate professionals as we are committed to providing ongoing business coaching to ensure their success. Virtual training rooms? Absolutely. We checked that box during the COVID pandemic, providing weekly accelerated trainings and now we look to take that momentum into the new world.
Realty ONE Group has a history of being ONE of the most innovative companies in our industry, continuously looking for ways to push the boundaries of what is possible using technology starting years ago with our exploration into the virtual world. In 2017, we were awarded two Vega Digital Awards for our revolutionary virtual reality game.
But the drive to innovate must be tempered by realism. We shouldn’t innovate for innovation’s sake but to make lives better. So, in this moment, we continue to watch how the metaverse develops, even learning from failed trends as they all bring some form of lasting change.
Only time will tell whether the metaverse explodes, weaving itself into the fabric of our technological future, or whether it simmers and fades away. Either way, we’ll be watching, ready to explore and pioneer where we can, all to better the lives of our real estate professionals and our communities.
Kuba Jewgieniew is the CEO And Founder of Realty ONE Group, one of the fastest growing franchisors in the industry. He started Realty ONE Group in 2005 with a 100%-commission model and an emphasis on innovation, disruption and fun. He’s won numerous awards and has been recognized for his innovative thinking and leadership. And, with a dynamic leadership team and leagues of committed followers, Realty ONE Group plans to open offices around the world, bettering communities and lives everywhere, leaving a legacy for generations.