Use of photorealistic illustrations to sell real estate projects in Norway

Should we take measures to prevent photorealistic renderings from being misleading when it comes to housing quality? The technology and the expertise on creating computer generated perspectives has evolved fast. This has created a lot of attention in Norway in recent years. Professionals, politicians, stakeholders, and decision makers experience that it is a gap between what is being presented and what is being built. Architects, visualization experts and developers feel that they have become scapegoats in an industry where misleading illustrations has become a marketing norm. But how should we deal with photorealistic illustration when we sell designed housing projects, and what are the existing legal standards?

This master thesis discusses whether restrictions and other measures are needed to prevent dishonest and misleading marketing of homes sold as prospected developments. The thesis focuses on how to reduce the risk of misleadeing marketing and discusses whether or not relevant laws and guidelines need to be updated. Housing policy and consumer rights are key subjects in the thesis. The study is based on a literatures study, in-depth interviews with professionals, and public reports.

Current guidelines for marketing of real estate and housing demand that the illustrations present the project accurate, precise and realistic. The adverticement and illustration must show the home as it will be with the displayed price. The visualizations should simulate the actual or expected appearance of the landscape. But, in practice it is challenging for developers and professionals to know precisely how the project will appear before it is completed. To prevent serious gaps between sales illustrations and housing quality, the authorities should create guidelines for production and use of visual representations. At the same time there should be implemented financial measures to make it profitable to follow the guidelines and make accurate, precise and realistic illustrations.

Published 29. March 2021 - 14:28 - Updated 29. March 2021 - 17:17