Digital transformation has worked its way through the bedrock of many industries, from Netflix’s transformation of cable and blockbuster video to Uber’s considerable influence over the ways we access transportation services.
Meanwhile, the property market has remained “relatively immune” to such changes.
However, Roxana Mohammadian-Molina, Chief Strategy Officer at specialist tech-enabled development finance lender Blend Network, notes that old challenges in the housing sector require innovative solutions and also require thinking “out of the box.”
She adds that Fintech, a “permanent” technological revolution that is changing the way we do finance, is now considered to be “a key part of the overarching solution to tackling the under-supply of housing in Britain.”
She also noted:
“Estimates have put the number of new homes needed in England at up to 345,000 per year, accounting for new household formation and a backlog of existing need for suitable housing. The 2015 Government set out an ambition to deliver 1 million net additions to the housing stock by 2020, and the Conservative Government elected in 2017 had a manifesto pledge to meet the 2015 commitment and to deliver half a million more by the end of 2022.”
She added that the Autumn Budget 2017 set out an ambition “to put England on track to deliver 300,000 new homes a year” by the mid-2020s.
But even before the COVID-19 crisis, housebuilding targets were “running way behind the Government’s ambitious targets.” She pointed out that between April 2019 and March 2020, around 244,000 homes were “built in England – the highest number since 1987 and around 1% higher than the previous year but is still lower than the estimated need. But then, the pandemic hit.”
She also shared:
“According to a study by Savills and Shelter published in mid-2020, over 300,000 planned new homes may remain on the drawing board over the next five years as a result of the pandemic, the equivalent to the Government’s annual target of new homes.”
Roxana Mohammadian-Molina further noted:
“Is there a solution to fixing our broken housing market? If so, what is it? It is often hard to put ones finger on a single solution for such large gargantuan challenges, but I strongly believe that a big part of the solution to tackling the housing crisis may be closer to home than we realize, in the FinTech sector where Britain already plays a leadership role on a global scale.”
She pointed out that the reason is simple: “one of the key hurdles to building more homes is the inability for many SME property developers and small construction companies to unlock much-needed funding to build more homes, and Fintech has demonstrated to be an effective solution to help those smaller developers access funding.”
She also mentioned that the use of technological solutions by incumbent financial institutions and specialist non-bank lenders has “proved able to deliver better, faster, and more effective financial outcomes to customers, especially SMEs.”
She added that Fintech platform financing, “although still small, is growing fast.” According to the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), transaction volumes globally more than doubled from $145bn in 2015 to $304.5bn in 2018.”
Roxana Mohammadian-Molina concluded:
“I strongly believe that financial services, especially agile and nimble incumbents leveraging the power of technology and FinTech have a critical role to play in helping tackle the housing crisis by helping deploy the financing that is needed to help build more much-needed homes.”