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CrowdProperty’s Recent Update On COVID-19
By Michael Bristow, CEO & Co-Founder of CrowdProperty.
It's been an unprecedented week for us all. At CrowdProperty we've worked extremely hard to maintain the service, quality and reliability we've grown our reputation on. This week we funded 3 quality projects totalling almost £1,000,000 of first-charge secured loans from 1,258 lenders.
Our passionate team of 32 work relentlessly hard building the best property project lender in the market, with deep expertise in exactly the asset class we're lending against, rigorous due diligence processes (for the benefit of all), first-charge security and breaking down the most significant barrier to quality SME property professionals building more homes in this country and increasing spend in the UK economy on labour, materials and services – funding.
In view of the escalating situation regarding COVID-19, we wanted to make you aware of the provisions we have put in place at CrowdProperty to minimise impact on all fronts.
First of all, we are following official government guidance to ensure we continue to have a healthy workforce and maintain reliable operations. All our employees are fully aware of the current requirements, ensuring that the highest possible hygiene standards are maintained throughout every aspect of our business to support their health and well-being.
We have already taken action to separate the team and equip them with all that is needed to ensure smooth operations as well as having further policies in place and a working group actively advising and responding as and when necessary.
As an FCA regulated business, we have detailed business continuity plans in place that we are enacting as appropriate. The main purpose of these plans is to allow continued operation of the company during any disruption to normal business operations.
The CrowdProperty platform is cloud hosted and accessible from any location by authorised persons, and all of our employees are equipped and able to work remotely. We do not currently have plans to enforce a full office closure (nor interim solutions we have identified) – however, in the event that we do, we are fully prepared to continue serving all customers as normal.
It appears likely that the pandemic will weigh on economic activity, at least in the short-term, and this has had bearing on global equities markets. Real estate, however, is neither the cause nor the centre of this problem like it was in 2008.
Strong pent-up demand following extended periods of uncertainty has been clear to see this year to date, with property transactions nationwide seeing significant year-on-year increases and agents reporting even higher viewings growth rates. February was the fifth consecutive month of UK house price growth – the first time this has happened since early 2016.
At CrowdProperty, we back quality property professionals supplying under-supplied nationwide domestic demand at mainstream price points – ie tackling the structural shortage of housing stock in the UK.
SME property professionals in particular have a huge part to play in addressing this shortage as larger parcels of land are finite by definition and the key pains they have faced for years, which has resulted in a significant drop in supply from them, form the fundamentals of the CrowdProperty borrower proposition.
This demand will be enduring and reinforces that at whatever part of the cycle, first-charge security, which is always the case with CrowdProperty, is paramount. In times of stock market volatility, robust well-secured debt products are attractive to an even wider range of investors.
We have been in touch with all our borrowers to ensure they are prepared for any possible disruption caused by COVID-19. All usual borrower-side processes, including processing of drawdowns for their projects, will have the same service level they have grown to expect from CrowdProperty.
All borrowers have also been advised to review their supply chains and identify any areas of potential impact – this is something we are working with them closely on and our borrowers have already implemented / are implementing new working practices.
- Splitting teams on site.
- Separate amenity blocks.
- Staggered travel hours, working hours and breaks.
- Provision of hand sanitiser and further hygiene precautions.
- The isolation of an area on site for suppliers to offload materials with separate protected confirmatory signatory area.
- Holding an increased number of supplies on site.
- Off-site areas to store materials where necessary.
- Earlier ordering of supplies with a long lead time (to be held on site until needed).
- Alternative points of supply chain so they have a backup should the original supplier be unable to deliver.
- Extending build schedules and holding contingency reserves (funded from their own resources).
These processes are being reviewed daily and if they need tightening further this will be implemented immediately.
Our project pipeline remains strong and we will continue to monitor all projects very closely with our expert eyes.
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