With profit margins under pressure, valuation firms are looking for new ways to increase productivity and efficiency. And as the COVID-19 crisis continues to throw up a host of new challenges, valuers also have to find ways to differentiate themselves from their competitors to stay ahead of the game.
With the coronavirus continuing to impact property prices across Australia, the outlook for the housing market remains uncertain. CoreLogic’s Home Value Index tracked its fourth consecutive month of declines in August, with a 1.7% dip in property values nationwide.
Yet that doesn’t mean Australians are shying away from property. After an Easter slump, sales activity from May to July tracked 2.9% higher than the same period a year before , buoyed by low interest rates indicating that buyers were eager to snap up a bargain. The high uncertainty presented by the resurgence of COVID-19 cases in Victoria subdued national sales volumes in recent months, with a 1.9% decline in August. However, the most recent CoreLogic Early Market Indicators report shows that for the week ending 27 September, refinance was 64.06% of loans, which was an increase of 22.11 year-on-year change.
In this complex business environment, it’s more important than ever for valuers to have access to the latest available market data when assessing properties. That’s why many valuers are turning to tech solutions like CoreLogic’s ValConnect platform.
This state-of-the-art tool is now enhanced to include Australian Property Institute (API)-compliant short-form reports, which account for roughly 60% of the residential mortgage market. By tapping into the latest technology available through ValConnect, valuation firms can gain efficiencies and manage costs, while reducing the risks of an uncertain market outlook.
New capabilities for a new environment
According to Shelley Horton, CoreLogic’s Head of Valuation Strategy & Solutions, valuers were facing growing pressure even before the coronavirus hit.
“The highly competitive nature of the market has driven down revenue in recent years,” she said. “For valuers to stay profitable in a low fee environment, they need to make the most of tools such as technology and data to help complete their assessments as efficiently as possible.”
CoreLogic has responded to the challenge with the latest release of its innovative ValConnect platform. ValConnect was first introduced in 2019 for the completion of CoreLogic Desktops, and the 2020 release is designed to enhance the user experience.
Designed as a modular solution, ValConnect can be used either for end-to-end reporting or as a sales research plug-in for any existing valuation workflow system. Valuers can now complete API-compliant short form reports on a single platform, with a newly designed interface that combines key components such as:
- CoreLogic’s industry-leading property data and imagery
- optimised data capture templates for field inspections and desktop use
- research capabilities powered by RP Data
- geospatial mapping powered by Google and ESRI
- Customer Data Store (CDS) – a fully managed, cloud-based data storage solution for valuation and analysis data.
Over 100,000 assessments are already completed each year using ValConnect, and its new features make the platform even more attractive. For instance, the CDS allows valuers to store and view their analysis data against CoreLogic’s existing data universe to provide an enriched, bespoke view of a property record that can be viewed by any valuer within their firm. This data is segregated from CoreLogic’s core data stack and from the data of all other valuation firms to protect valuers’ proprietary information.
“The ability to access and store all the necessary information about a property in one place, then generate fully compliant reports, often translates to significant efficiency gains for valuers,” said Tim Jenner, CoreLogic’s Head of Product.
Providing certainty in uncertain times
With the current economic situation evolving so quickly, valuers may find that they can no longer rely on pre-coronavirus metrics to make accurate assessments.
“In a rapidly changing environment, valuers need up-to-the-minute insights to help them navigate the current uncertainty,” said Shelley. “They also need to make sure their data is protected, so they can minimise their risk profile.”
When designing ValConnect, CoreLogic’s priority was to give valuers instant access to real-time data so they can complete their assessments as efficiently as possible. Data security is paramount, which is why the platform is fully compliant with ISO 27001.
“ValConnect puts detailed analysis of market trends at valuers’ fingertips, so they can make fair and reliable assessment decisions under complex circumstances,” said Tim. “With its advanced information security protection system, ValConnect also helps firms minimise their security risks and the potential for data breaches.”
Find out more
To learn how ValConnect can support your business, contact CoreLogic today.
 CoreLogic, Hedonic Home Value Index, August 2020.
 CoreLogic, Hedonic Home Value Index, August 2020.