Property developer Pace Development Group has signed up with Property Exchange Australia for paperless real estate settlements, in a move that will speed up transactions and remove the need for bulky physical documents.
Pace will use the new PEXA Developer platform to complete property transactions online, avoiding settlement delays caused by the physical meetings needed to manually complete and sign paperwork, and the need to file documentation.
The firm said it has around 800 apartments in the planning, building and settlement pipeline at any time.
PEXA's developer platform creates an online workspace - akin to a private physical meeting - where "banks, lawyers and land registries interact to complete online property transactions", PEXA said.
"Similar to internet banking versus in-branch banking, the online transactions are streamlined and efficient," a spokesperson said.
"Whereas had the transactions been conducted with paper and people exchanging documents, much time, expense and resources are required that are not necessary in an online workspace."
PEXA lodges land registry documents in real-time electronically, and obviates the need to use paper cheques for funds transfers. This means transactions can be completed in hours rather than days, depending on the sellers' financial institutions.
The first property settlement through PEXA took place in December last year, when the Commonwealth Bank processed the first full transaction.
Since then, PEXA has completed over 255,000 electronic transactions for settlements, valued at over $30 billion. Some 105 financial institutions have signed up to transact property online.
In June this year, PEXA said the first fully paperless sale took place, where each step of the transaction was conducted online, including digital signatures on an electronic contract and an electronic settlement of the property sale.
It admitted, however that fully paperless settlements were still a work in progress.
"While some legal and conveyancing practitioners are using electronic contracts, it’s fair to say that their use in the legal/conveyancing industry is in the early stages of adoption."
PEXA launched in 2013 by the government-backed National Electronic Conveyancing Development Limited (NECDL).
The platform was developed by Accenture and uses parts of Victoria's existing electronic conveyancing system (ECV). Hosted by Telstra, the system was developed in Java, uses Oracle's Database, and runs on the Linux operating system