Like many young people living in urban areas, I’d love to be a homeowner. Despite having worked for years in a good job and having grown up in London, for me like for many other young Londoners, homeownership feels unlikely any time soon. While the monthly carrying costs aren’t necessarily prohibitive, the amount of capital I’d need to amass to get on the property ladder just feels unrealistic (unless I don’t eat).
I’m not alone. In fact, every year, over 200,000 first time buyers (FTBs) in the UK are unable to get onto the property ladder because, despite having sufficient funds to cover monthly mortgage costs, they lack savings for the deposit.
In a bid to tackle this issue, the UK government has introduced the “Help to Buy” scheme, in which FTBs are loaned up to 20 percent (40 percent in London) in the form of an equity loan. However, the scheme is quite restrictive (for example, it only applies to new builds) and has recently come under much scrutiny, as critics feel that the scheme has mostly put money into the hands of already wealthy property developers and has not helped young buyers find affordable housing in up-and-coming neighbourhoods. This scheme is due to end in March 2023, leaving us FTBs – who play an extremely important part in providing liquidity to the housing market – stranded.
But there’s another issue that troubles me, especially in today’s market: How do I know that the property I might finally buy will actually hold its value? As an investor, I’d like to think I’m going to achieve some value creation above and beyond a roof over my head. How do I know if the asset I’m looking to acquire is over-priced or under-priced?
The company’s Co-founders, Entrepreneur First alumi Vadim Toader and Stefan Boronea, believe that all hard-working people, not only those with family wealth, should be able to access home ownership. The company offer equity loans of up to 15 percent on any property type, meaning that with less savings, FTBs either get onto the property ladder earlier, or purchase a house that is more to their liking.
And that’s not the cool part – Proportunity analyse multiple data sources (such as unemployment, transportation links and Ofsted school ratings, etc.) to identify up-and-coming areas. They then look at the property itself, to understand how it compares to other homes on the market, in order to identify undervalued properties in these areas. The output is an understanding of which properties are a good investment for both the customer and the company. And the final touch? They also help their customers negotiate a discount on the asking price and pay for the Zipcar when they move – how great is that?
We cannot wait to work with the Proportunity team, who are passionate about supporting getting more young people onto the property ladder. (And I can’t wait to be able to buy my first home!)