Artificial intelligence and real estate decisions | Inquirer Business

Artificial intelligence and real estate decisions


There’s a lot of talk these days on how non-human processes, such as artificial intelligence (AI), are taking over many facets of our lives, permeating various disciplines, industries and professions. People wonder what the future holds and how technological advancements will figure in their personal lives, work and decision-making.

Discussions often refer to AI as something that just arrived, setting off panic to some degree. AI, however, has been in our midst for many years. What we need to realize is that it is not an external element that is forcing its way through the status quo. AI is a product of a “human-environment-technology” trialogue that instigates co-defined changes implying on our futures.


What is AI?

AI refers to the modeling of human faculties for translation into programs and machine-enabled processes (Tiwari, 2023, Saleh, 2019). Based on this broad definition, we have been experiencing “human-environment-technology” interface since we relied on automated and digital services to go about our daily routines—with efficiency and convenience as goals.


Cognitive and motor skills are among the human abilities that found their counterparts in the mechanized and digitalized world. The more recent wave of AI involves big data management, processing and utilization through computer platforms.

The increasing complexity of computer programs that are taking over more and more of the human domain triggers anxiousness rooted in the perceived diminution of the significance of people. With human beings as part of the ongoing trialogue, we can reduce the feeling of anxiety by asking: How much of what we are and what we do are we ready to relegate to machines?

AI and the project development phases

With regard to real estate-related decisions, we can look at the different stages of project development and see how AI features in. From there, we can decide the extent to which it can be part of our mind processes that lead to different action alternatives.

Securing property through inheritance, purchase, rental or other means of access like time-sharing entails profiling of land, buildings and developments. Decisions to keep, buy, rent or maintain property may depend on socially-constructed values or importance defined by a collective. Or we can choose to refer to our personal standards as we profile and valuate property according to self-formulated meanings and associations.

For example, you may decide to buy or keep either because of big data-based land value trends in the area or simply because of the memories attached to the property.



Project conceptualization—which involves imagining what raw land or a built area can become with design interventions—can have varying ratios of human and AI components.

Social media platforms are flooded these days with building design and project development concepts, soliciting comments that influence our own concepts of good or bad design.

So again, we can decide to join the bandwagon or go for spaces that truly cater to our context, needs and unique behavior systems.

Feasibility studies

The structured processes comprising the project feasibility phase have long been relying on computer programs in aid of technical, legal, financial and market studies for real estate developments. The formulation of standards, policies, budgets and market-oriented products benefits from databases which are enriched over time.

The downsides of information technology have to do with equity and access issues. Questions on who get to be part of the planning equation and who are capable of accessing valuable information are raised when the parameters do not represent all stakeholders.

Design and developMent Product design, product mixes and product development have taken great strides as computer-based processes continue to manifest in the built form.

From labor automation during the industrial age to the onset of computer-aided design programs and 3-D printing, we have seen products evolving through the years. The product forms have had many permutations to match with user attributes in different time periods. End-users select residential, business and other spaces as they try to get a fine balance between the charm and personal touch of craft-based and customized design, and the practicalities of automation-based designs.

Marketing and distribution

The marketing and distribution stage reflects the convergence of disciplines and the psychology of spaces, anchored on the needs and wants as well as financial concerns at end-user level.

Politics and economic conditions shape buying and investment decisions. With countless variables at play, AI comes in handy in product packaging, pricing and promotions. Data analytics provide a basis for matching supply with demand. With data security breaches, individuals become unwilling parties to the collection of information for market studies. The difficulty in discernment of reliable information also distorts information-based decision making.

Turnover, maintenance

Turnover, occupancy and maintenance of built spaces can also be greatly aided by AI.

There are many precedents of remote monitoring and pro-active maintenance that enhance building life. Satisfaction ratings of houses, work and recreation spaces improve as we learn through documentation of past mistakes or successes.

The future of AI and real estate

The places we use and move around in will continue to be shaped by the confluence of people, technology and the natural environment.

That the domination of one over the other two will depend on conscious decisions at household, city and national levels gives us a reason to hope for better futures with AI-assisted human environments.

A passive stance looks at people as helpless impact subjects amid technological advances. An active viewpoint is one wherein people co-define the future and wherein reliance on technology is tempered by individual and shared values.

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References: Saleh, Ziyad. (2019). Artificial Intelligence Definition, Ethics and Standards. Electronics and Communications: Law, Standards and Practice. The British University in Egypt; Tiwari, Rudra. (2023). AI 101 An Introduction to Artificial Intelligence. ResearchGate

The author is a Professor at the University of the Philippines College of Architecture, an architect, and urban planner


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