No problem! I am the CEO and Founder of strategic land investment platform Intro Crowd.
Do you have a background in finance and investment?
I began working as an investment broker before setting up a financial services company in the City. This has given me experience not only in the financial industry but also in turning a start-up into a successful, profitable business.
How did the idea for Intro Crowd come about?
The idea for me was a no-brainer. We desperately need houses in this country considering the ageing population and the rising demand. It’s a lack of suitable sites that has historically been an issue. We want to identify the best sites with the best prospects. This is why we have Christopher Merriman on board with his extensive network. His track record speaks volumes and I’m sure we have the right team in place.
What do you think the biggest issue is for the UK housing market at the moment, and in your opinion what needs to be done to overcome this?
For me, the biggest issue facing the UK housing market at the moment is simply the lack of available housing. We are increasingly seeing young people and those reliant upon social housing priced out of areas as the cost of living and the cost of purchasing property, or even renting privately, sky-rockets.
I believe that the first thing that needs to happen is to make more land that is suitable for development available to housebuilders. Without an increased supply, housebuilders will continue to struggle to meet the targets set by the Conservative government of 1.5 million new homes to be built by 2022, and therefore the supply and demand problem will only continue. By supplying housebuilders with more available land sites, the quantity of homes built can continue to rise. As a result, we may see the prices of housing across the country begin to decline making homes more affordable to a greater number of people.
We recently had a General Election, and a main focal point for all parties was the issue of the UK housing crisis. Do you think the Conservative government’s target for 1.5 million new homes by 2022 is realistic?
I think it’s great that they have such an ambitious target and at Intro Crowd we very much agree that 300,000 new homes a year should be built to help ease the housing crisis, however I feel that there are some fundamental developments that will have to take place to enable this target to be met. First and foremost it is our opinion that more suitable, sustainable sites will need to be given consent by local authorities. It is also critical that the current skills and materials shortage is addressed.
The main problem with the current housing shortage is that there is not just one thing that needs to be done to fix it, it’s a complete shift in the approach to building new houses and we are just one part of that.
For someone considering an investment into strategic land, in your opinion what are the most important things for them to consider prior to investing?
There are a few important points to consider if you are planning on investing in strategic land either through Intro Crowd as an accredited person, or individually.
The first thing to consider is doing your research on the local authority in the area to see whether or not they have a requirement for new homes. You should also consider whether or not the site that you’re planning on investing into is sustainable – what we mean by this is that the site has amenities such as roads and is close to an existing settlement.
You should also take into account whether you have an expert available to take the site through the planning process, and whether they are able to assemble and coordinate a team of specialists to assist.
An important point to also consider is that strategic land investments are generally illiquid and these investments should only be made as part of a diversified portfolio. Individuals are strongly encouraged to seek independent legal and financial advice when considering an investment in strategic land.
This article is for educational purposes only and does not constitute investment advice. This article does not amount to an invitation or inducement to buy or sell an investment nor does it solicit any such offer or invitation in any jurisdiction.
In all cases, readers should conduct their own investigation and analysis of the data in the article. Readers are strongly encouraged to seek independent legal and financial advice when considering an investment in strategic land. All statements of opinion and/or belief contained in this article and all views expressed and all projections, forecasts or statements relating to expectations regarding future events represent Intro Crowd’s own assessment and interpretation of information available as at the date of this article.
No responsibility or liability is accepted by Intro Crowd for reliance on the contents of this article.