The national property ecosystem is chock full of stakeholders. From real estate agents, lawyers and conveyancers, developers, online portals, mortgage brokers and banks, and government entities such as land registries, the transfer of a property from the seller to the buyer has many parties with their fingers in the pie.
This Blog article highlights three significant developments that are currently playing out in this ecosystem that support the move towards digital property transactions and e conveyancing and are likely to result in more efficient property transfers.
Firstly, Australia’s top four banks destroyed all paper land titles they held for 1.6 million Victorian mortgagees in October 2016. This means that any future sales of properties whose titles are held by the bank will need to be transacted, at least in part, electronically. The conversion of Victoria’s paper certificates of title to electronic versions was part of a national push to electronic conveyancing on the PEXA system (see below). It’s speculated that other States will soon follow suit.
Secondly, there are a number government-owned land registries for sale. These registries essentially store and manage the titles needed to process any land sale or mortgage refinancing and they make money by charging people (like lawyers and conveyancers) to search the registries. Currently, the New South Wales and South Australian registries are for sale and just like the destroying of Victoria’s paper certificates of title mentioned above, it’s speculated that other States might follow suit. This would likely result in the modernisation of the registries and it’s speculated that it could also lead to the creation of one national land registry. In our view, this would be a good thing for other stakeholders in the ecosystem as they’ll have one central registry to search and efficiencies will be driven through the land transfer process.
Thirdly, certain land registries and revenue offices have set timelines for their systems to enable the electronic lodgement of certain services. In a practical sense, this means that the old process that involves cheques and paper is diminishing as technology fundamentally transforms the way we all interact and transact. Outlined below is a table that shows when each key State has indicated they will cross-over to the digital world and enable certain transactions to be electronically lodged on PEXA (Property Exchange Australia)(note, those sections of the table that are blank indicate that the State is yet to announce when they’ll transition across).
Source: PEXA 2017
What does all mean practically? There are many benefits for home sellers and buyers, including not having to worry about signing so many documents and sending them in the post, not needing to engage a lawyer or conveyancer that’s geographically close to you, having the title in the new owner’s name within 20 minutes, and having the purchase funds in the seller’s bank account within 20 minutes. The same key benefits apply to property developers, but they also get the benefit of being able to settle multiple lots (i.e. properties) simultaneously rather than individually.
So, if you’re a buyer or seller of a property, or a property developer, ensure that your advisers (lawyers, conveyancers, lenders) are all utilising the latest technologies to enable you to get to settlement as efficiently as possible and without unnecessary delays. Speak to us today about how we can help you