Choosing to crowdfund the real estate market
While high-technology and community ventures have dominated the headlines when it comes to crowdfunding, more challenging areas of investment, such as real estate, are also finding success, according to one industry executive.
More people are being drawn into this increasingly crowded space, with platforms like Realty Mogul, Property Moose and Fundrise leading a sector which globally raised over $1 billion in real estate during 2014. By the end of this year, that figure is expected to almost triple, up $2.57 billion worldwide, according to a Massolution report released this year.
"(Crowdfunding in real estate) It's absolutely catching on" says Jilliene Helman, founder & CEO at RealtyMogul.com, told CNBC Wednesday.
"I always wanted to provide access to more investors and crowdfunding is a perfect way to do that. You can give access to tens of thousands of investors online, and make it as easy to buy stocks or bonds online."
In the aftermath of 2007/2008's global financial meltdown, people's faith in traditional institutions became unsteady, so the rise of crowdfunding, pop-ups and unique ideas became increasingly attractive .
Consequently, investors have become more conscious with how they spend their money, and crowdfunding should provides opportunities suitable even during recession periods, which is a key focus of Helman's company.
"Investors need a place to live in both good times and bad times."
On Realty Mogul, investors are invited to pool together their money with other users to invest in a real-estate project, putting in as little a $5,000. The average return for the investments put out on Realty Mogul varies on risk level, however, Helman estimated it can range from 7 percent to as high as 20 percent.
As the latest S&P/Case-Shiller index showed U.S. house prices continued to rise this July, up 5 percent more affordable places to live are becoming more attractive, so Realty Mogul has got investors interested in the mobile home park space, where more than 20 million U.S. citizens currently reside.
Already over 17,000 active institutional investors have joined Realty Mogul's community, having invested more than $80 million in over 250 estates, since the platform went live in 2013.
Realty Mogul isn't the only success story in this crowdfunding sphere.
Defining itself as the "e-trade of real estate investing," iFunding, a New York based investment platform , has fully funded multiple property developments worth over $1 million.
Across the Atlantic on Wednesday, residential property platform, Property Partner, listed a mortgaged investment for sale on its site – a European first– made up of three individual flats in Greater London, all of which were fully crowdfunded within 62 minutes of its launch.
—By CNBC's Alexandra Gibbs, follow her on Twitter @AlexGibbsy.
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