Proptech startup wants to help generation rent buy their first home

Zoopla and top investor Robin Klein are backing a new property technology venture designed to help first time buyers hop on to the incredibly difficult first rung of the property ladder.

Wannabe homeowners can invest in a property Isa with Bricklane.com which launches today.

Cash will go into a Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT), which will invest in rental properties in Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds with investors making returns from the rental yield.

he startup calculates that a £1,000 investment in properties in the three cities in the last five years would give annual returns of 6.3 per cent. A second fund will follow to invest in London property.

Savers will be able to take advantage of the tax free returns by putting as little as £100 in the account and contributing £50 per month, while existing Isa accounts can be switched over.

The property technology (proptech) startup has landed £1.3m in seed funding from online property pioneer Zoopla and Klein’s venture capital firm LocalGlobal, has alongside further unnamed investors within the finance, technology and property worlds.

“Bricklane.com’s product is an elegant, tech-enabled answer to the problems of the housing crisis, and could help a whole generation of people who feel shut out of the market gain an entry,” said Klein, who has invested in other proptech startups, including Zoople, artificial intelligence powered mortgage advisor Trussle and the self-styled “Amazon for renting” Goodlord.

“Their property Isa connects savers with investments in a uniquely user-friendly way that could revolutionise the way young people save for their first home, as well as providing a higher quality service for tenants.”

Co-founder Simon Heawood said that as well as property returns being significantly higher than returns on cash savings accounts amid record low interest rates right now, there is also an element of social good since those tenants in the rental properties will know their cash is going towards helping someone in the same situation as them.

“We will help a lot more on the investor than renter side at first, but it’s important that we see it from that [tenant] kind of view and be a good influence on the market and be a force for good and make renting a more palatable option than it is today,” he said.

Carol Lewis

Carol Lewis is a respected property journalist with an enthusiasm for anything to do with property. She is the senior member of the Estate Agents London News journalist team but also writes for other respected magazines and newspapers. Her background is in property, investments and video production. Carol has worked on publicity campaigns for a large number of organisations but now runs this not-for-profit blog. Her main aims are to educate the public and drive up standards in estate agency.

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