Digital Street – The art of the possible

HM Land Registry have been exploring the art
of the possible – what could land registration and conveyancing look like in 2030. So what would a fully digital land register
look like? What opportunities could it create within
the conveyancing market? And how could we add further value to the
property market in England and Wales, currently worth £4 trillion. For over 150 years, land registration has
been supporting the economy by registering people's ownership, and interests, in land and property
across England and Wales. We have a new ambition now to become the world’s
leading land registry for speed, simplicity and an open approach to data. That means digitising our services, utilising
progress in technology to positively disrupt and improve everything we do. That’s why we are launching this a ground-breaking research project called ‘Digital Street’ it's looking at how land registration might
work in the future. At the heart of that, it’s really all about
making conveyancing simpler, faster and cheaper. Digital Street is a research and development
project we’ve been running at Land Registry. It’s all about the future of conveyancing. So it’s starting to think about how might
the house buying process work in the year 2030. Doing some research and development into how
we could do things differently. So what we think is that by giving people
lots more data earlier in the process, both the people that are buying and selling houses,
but also lenders that are making decisions as to whether to lend or not, we can help
people get more certain about the commitment they want to make to a property earlier in
the process and in doing so form chains that are much more tightly bonded together. So what we’re trying to do is think about
how we can use data to get people more confident about making firmer decisions earlier in the
process. We’ve been working with people from across
the industry, conveyancers, lenders, other data providers, government departments, start-ups
and citizens to really get a sense of how the process works today and some of the challenges. The challenge we have with that is that the
ecosystem for moving house is ridiculously wide with lots of different moving parts and
really needs a collaborative approach so for HMLR to be taking the steer with that and
bringing together lots of really interesting organisations into the same room and thrashing
out ideas is fantastic. In the last 6 months we have spoken to a number
of users which has helped us to gain a better understanding of their needs and pain points
in the home buying process. We explored the problem from different perspectives
which included a first time buyer, former owner, lender and conveyancer. The group then came up with big ideas which
could disrupt and revolutionise the home buying process. Working on the Digital Street project has
been fascinating. It’s been great to see different government
organisations coming together to work in a collaborative way to try and solve a problem
that’s really focussed on getting it right for our customers. Anything that can be done to speed up the
conveyancing process and give everyone involved a better experience – has got to be a good
thing. What I really like about the project is that
it puts the customer first – just as we do at the Coal Authority – and looks at how
we can meet their needs now and in the future. Following the Design Thinking days we came
up with three proof of concepts; One of the key needs that we identified was
that property data should be relevant, accessible and linked to enable future services. We therefore selected a number of properties
and digitised the register and all documents associated with the register, we then worked
with our key stakeholders to identify other property data used in the conveyancing process,
and any relevant open datasets. We pulled all of the data into one place so
that we could make it available in the hack. We had 4 hack teams each looking at one of
the proof of concepts and utilising the property data that we had made available. At the end of the two days we had three workable
proof of concepts to show what the future of conveyancing could look like and how this
can be enabled by technology. We were involved because we thought that it
was a great initiative to help progress innovation in the property sector in the UK. I think the whole property market needs some
innovation and Digital Street is certainly helping towards that goal. Property transactions are slow and all of
the work that we were doing really helped us envisage how those transactions could be really
streamlined and cut down and for the general public and consumers they could have a much
more seamless and relaxed flow when they’re buying and selling homes. We’re already exploring how we can use clever
new technology like AI and machine learning to create a more digital register inside Land
Registry. Already exploring how we could instantly update
the register a lot of lessons from Digital Street are influencing that. It’s really exciting, we’re taking that
Research and Development work and building it into a digital programme to be delivered over
the next couple of years.

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