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Crowdfunding website offers new ways to invest in property

Housebuilders are responding to high demand from buyers and renters by increasing the level of residential construction, as reflected by the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) which show that there was a 4.8% increase in total new housing output in the first quarter of the year compared with the previous three months.  

But despite the encouraging levels of housebuilding across most regions of the country, the volume of new homes registered remains significantly below the government target of 200,000 new homes a year, and is less than the estimated 250,000 new homes a year needed just to meet existing demand for housing in England.

It is widely accepted that extra land is needed to significantly boost new housing supply, and that is where innovative platforms, like Intro Crowd, a new crowdfunding website providing investors with an alternative way of investing in UK property development could potentially help.

Intro Crowd, launched last month, offers the opportunity for investors to buy shares in companies owning the plots of land for as little as £1,500.

Gregory Baker, Intro Crowd’s chief executive, said: “The government has pledged to build one million new homes over the next five years and the challenge is finding the land on which to build them. We believe our investors can make a contribution to reducing this shortfall.”

“There are plenty of ways to invest in property, but our platform allows people to invest in strategic land, which are sites on the edges of towns and villages.”

The company will initially target sites it sees as promising, but without planning consent. They will be located next to existing settlements in areas with fast-growing populations.

The sites will be listed on the crowdfunding platform along with site plans, a report and an indication of the future land value from chartered surveyors.

“This is an investment for ordinary retail investors as well as sophisticated and high-net worth clients. It is an opportunity to diversify their portfolios into an alternative asset class,” Baker added.

However, because there is “no guarantee that the land we purchase will secure planning permission”, Baker makes it absolutely clear that this should be considered “a high risk, long-term investment and that an individual’s capital will be at risk”.

“It should form part of a well-balanced, well diversified portfolio,” he concluded.

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