A finance innovator has raised $24 million to propel the development of “buy now, pay later” products tailored specifically to the real estate industry.
Realty Assist has raised $4 million from private investors and secured a $20 million warehouse funding facility, solidifying their preparedness for a post-lockdown property market they anticipate will climb to even greater heights.
“Realty Assist has earned financial backing from investors and is growing a large client list at the perfect time – right before the Australian summer when we expect there will be a surge in demand for properties across the nation, especially as major property markets like NSW emerge from COVID lockdowns, and life begins to open up again,” CEO Sam Rettke said.
Matt Lahood, CEO of The Agency and one of Realty Assist’s early supporters, agreed that factors ahead could mean interest in the property market continues at its current feverish pace.
“I’ve got the feeling that there’s still a lot of people that haven’t come back to Australia yet – on last count, I think there were 40,000 expats still trying to come back to Australia – and so a large percentage of them are going to want to buy. I think that’s going to give us a real run – a lot of them won’t be coming back this side of Christmas, so it looks like the growth will continue at least all the way through to mid-year next year,” said Mr Lahood.
Championing the BNPL concept within the real estate sector, Realty Assist’s digital financial products look to speed up access to funds needed for marketing and staging, bridging loans, settlements, commissions and bonds.
They anticipate their products being particularly useful as the market remains hot, and time is of the essence. One offering, for example, allows sellers to access up to 80 per cent of the equity in their property’s sale up to 60 days in advance.
“An advantage like this could allow investors in a red-hot market like Sydney to secure a property at a better price than if they had waited for the usual process,” Mr Rettke noted.
Perth stockbroking firm CPS Capital led Realty Assist’s capital raise, with managing director Jason Peterson noting that client appetite proved to be extremely strong, attracting interest from “sophisticated and professional investors across the globe for both equity and debt offerings”.
Mr Peterson said he was eager to continue his firm’s involvement with the proptech, praising the way the company was “disrupting the real estate sector’s financial life cycle by utilising technology and creating a seamless user journey”.
Realty Assist’s backers in the industry have so far proven that the appeal of BNPL products is high, with the likes of Ray White, LJ Hooker, Century 21, and Laing+Simmons taking advantage of their offerings.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Based in Sydney, Juliet Helmke has a broad range of reporting and editorial experience across the areas of business, technology, entertainment and the arts. She was formerly Senior Editor at The New York Observer.