Read the full interview on the Peer-to-Peer Finance News website.
CrowdProperty CEO Mike Bristow said the firm has “a very strong pipeline for a big year in 2020” and has predicted greater confidence among property developers due to a less uncertain political environment.
“2019 was a somewhat uncertain year,” said Bristow. “Now that we are in a less uncertain year, developers will be more confident about delivering on that.”
The peer-to-peer property development lender’s revenues rose 2.8-fold in its last financial year ended 31 March 2019, compared to 2.1-fold the previous year, Bristow told Peer2Peer Finance News. The exact revenue figures have not been disclosed.
CrowdProperty reported a loss of £52,998 for the year ended 31 March 2019, according to its latest accounts filed with Companies House. This was down from a £1,178 profit the previous year.
Bristow said that the larger year-on-year increase in revenues is “reflective of the fundamental pains we are solving, especially on the borrower side of the business”.
“In our recent survey, the largest ever conducted amongst small- and medium-sized enterprise property professionals undertaking property projects, 42 per cent (by far the largest factor) said the biggest barrier to building more homes was funding,” he added. “Housing delivery from small developers has fallen by two thirds in the last 10 years, with funding for quality projects being undertaken by quality property professionals clearly the crux of the issue in the broader issue of housing undersupply in the UK.”
Bristow said that the day-to-day operational business is profitable but CrowdProperty has been investing in growing the business, in areas such as technology, marketing and staff training, which led it into the red last year.
Bristow added that the full-year loss was still relatively small by industry comparatives and said that the firm was “investing in growth in a prudent way”.
CrowdProperty is based in Birmingham which cuts down on fixed costs such as office space and enables it to attract great talent more easily, he said.
In the period following the latest annual accounts, CrowdProperty raised £1.1m in an equity fundraise in April 2019, secured a £100m institutional funding line and had a record month of lending in October 2019 of £5.1m.
The firm is now seeing a run-rate of more than £2bn of applications for finance per year, of which it chooses to fund less than five per cent.
“We can both very carefully select the best [deals] to back and also benefit in numerous ways from seeing a large proportion of the market,” said Bristow.
CrowdProperty already knows the projects it will be funding for the first three to six months of the year and “our pipeline has never been stronger”, Bristow added.
The firm expects to double or triple its lending in 2020 but has not set a specific target as it does not want to compromise on the quality of its deals.