PROSPECTIVE buyers will now be able to take hyper-realistic virtual property tours as an alternative to conventional viewings.

York-based Croft Residential estate agency, which specialises in luxury homes in Yorkshire and York city centre, has invested in immersive 3D technology that can create highly accurate scale models and virtual tours of properties.

Using bespoke headsets, viewers are able to zoom in on details such as bathroom and kitchen fittings and to look through windows to outside areas and views.

Toby Cockcroft, who founded Croft Residential in 2010, believes his firm is the first in the region to adopt the technology which is already popular in the US.

“We’re ahead of the curve in introducing this high-tech service for our clients here in Yorkshire. It will be immensely helpful in situations such as for overseas buyers who are looking to move to the UK, and the growing trend of Londoners relocating to York or other value-for-money northern locations.”

He added: “Buying a property sight unseen happens a lot these days in US cities such as New York and San Francisco, where there’s high demand and low supply.

"Although a virtual tour is unlikely to be the only viewing that will be made before someone buys a property here in Yorkshire, it’s definitely a game changer in terms of the accuracy and ease with which you can now view a house and decide whether to add it to your shortlist.

"We think it will be a real boon to our clients and will help us to sell their properties for them, which is what we are all about.”

The Matterport technology offered by Croft Residential can also generate a ‘digital twin’ 3D version of a property that is an exactly-scaled replica.

High-res 3D tours of every room are then saved into a file that can be shared in all its detail, by a simple text or email, with builders, architects and engineers.

Croft Residential, which is working with Cloud 9 Architectural Photography in Leeds, currently has a £75m portfolio of properties across the north of England, from new-builds to country estates.