UPSTIX: Will the new iBuyer concept catch on in the UK housing market?
Giles Mackay is the founder of UPSTIX a service for vendors who want to sell their property asset in as little as seven days. The company was created in 2021 and is based in London. It has raised £250 million and is moving forward to roll the service out to the general public.
It replicates in part the iBuying model that was prevalent from 2016 across the pond in America, pioneered with differing success by Zillow, Opendoor and Offerpad.
For those who are unaware, the iBuyer concept is based upon a property being bought in by a company at a known price, allowing the vendor a quick exit with cash. The iBuyer then sells the property at a later point hopefully for more money, covering all costs and generating profit for the stakeholders of the company.
There have been many variations and models of iBuying, but at its core is the fact that the property has to be bought by the iBuyer at the correct level. And having seen property markets vacillate I am unsure how an iBuyer model can ever insulate itself from a falling market.
All I think is that maybe some of the investors in UPSTIX have not heard what happened to the behemoth American iBuyer Zillow in November 2021, when it stopped being an iBuyer overnight Due to having $569 million worth of debt as it had bought properties in at the wrong value, and they had to make 25% of their workforce redundant.
In a buoyant market buying property assets is an easy gamble, the second the market fluctuates, and all housing markets fluctuate, the iBuyer gets stuck with a huge amount of housing stock at prices they cannot afford to sell on.
Algorithms are great, but they are just a set of rules and outcomes, as Zillow found, and it is the variables that are not factored in that kill off a business venture. All of my property technology and fintech client founders of course use them, but the iBuyer model is a casino model which pays out for a while, then makes all stakeholders a lot poorer.
For some vendors, it is a great way to sell quickly, but when markets turn sitting on thousands of properties that drop in value by 5%, can mean huge losses for the operator, however good the original coding is.
International Women’s Day: The Women of nurtur.group
International Women’s Day, Tuesday 8th March, takes place annually, globally pushing for gender parity and celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. In a traditionally male-dominated industry, we are proud to have so many determined and inspiring females within the nurtur.group, women in senior roles who are making their mark in the sector and are instrumental in driving change within the property industry. We wanted to celebrate some of our wonderful female business leaders, entrepreneurs, partners and directors within nurtur.group and thank them for their continued contribution to ensuring our organisation is inclusive and supportive of, not just women, but everyone.
Nicky Stevenson, Managing Director at Fine & Country UK, kicked International Women’s Day off by encouraging other women in the industry to have confidence in their ability. “It is important for women to believe in themselves. One of the best lessons I have learnt in my career is to have self-belief and a positive mindset. In the early stages of my career, there were multiple times when a mentor encouraged me to step out of my comfort zone and push myself in my career because they believed in me and what I was capable of, even when I wasn’t sure. It is that encouragement and belief that has kept me moving forward. I am very grateful to have had amazing men & women who I would class as mentors in my career, people who have shaped and helped my career to develop since starting in the property industry back in 2003.
“As a woman in a male-dominated industry, I want to be an example and encourage other women to achieve things they might not have thought they could, helping to instil both confidence and a positive mindset. If I can help other women progress their careers within the property sector, then I am delighted to do so. We are seeing more & more women breaking into the upper ranks of the industry, which is fantastic to see. It is important for younger women coming into the industry to have strong female role models.”
Lucie Heanley, Chief Knowledge Officer, nurtur.group, said: “It’s a day where we celebrate together the contribution women bring to society, recognising those women who rewrote history for us and for generations of women to come. We must continue to honour the contributions of women, in all sectors and industries, so that there are examples of role models providing a trailblaze for the younger generation to step into and pursue their greatness with confidence.”
She adds, personally, I strive to be my best every day and to be a role model for those young ‘sponges’ around me while they find their feet in this ever-changing world. However, this wouldn’t be possible without the many great female figures I have around me, supporting, listening, and championing. I always think that a woman alone has power, collectively we have impact.”
Emilie Despois, Chief Marketing Officer, nurtur.group said; “I feel privileged to have been born, raised and now working in part of the world where women can have the same career as men. Women before me have fought hard to give women equal rights to men. There are still some inequalities and there will always be things that will set men and women apart. But these challenges can be overcome if you have integrity and believe in yourself and your abilities. I have been raised by strong women in my family who taught me that nothing is impossible, and I believe this to be true. If you set your mind to it, you can achieve anything. But I am one of the lucky ones who can speak their mind in a safe environment.
“International Women’s Day for me is a day to celebrate the women who have fought to give women a voice and support the women who are still fighting for equal rights. To these women, you are allowing the next generation to live a better life and I will forever admire you.”
Phillipa Legg, Chief Operating Officer, nurtur.group: “Michelle Obama’s quote: ‘There is no limit to what we, as women, can accomplish’, really resonates with me when I think about International Women’s Day. I have always focused on what I have personally wanted to achieve, and I am very lucky to have been supported by some extremely influential figures.
It takes a certain grace, strength, intelligence, and fearlessness to stand up and be a woman in power, especially in a male dominated industry. But for me, it is not about celebrating women once a year; as women in power, we are strongest when we cheer each other on, and I think the importance of supporting each other and continuing to change the way the world perceives women’s strength every day is how we inspire the next generation.”
Kim Rush, Group Operations Manager, nurtur.group, said: “For me personally, I see International Women’s Day as a day to celebrate just how incredibly far we have come in the battle of gender equality. Changing how a woman’s value is perceived, particularly when it comes to decision making and job roles / positions of power, is so important. Gender does not determine a person’s capabilities. I particularly like the quote: ‘There’s nothing a man can do that I can’t do better and in heels.’ –Ginger Rogers.”
She continues: “In recent years, I’ve had the privilege of working under two particularly incredible women in our industry; Phillipa Legg (our group COO) and Nicky Stevenson (MD of Fine & Country). It’s so refreshing to work under women in roles of power and decision making, especially in this ‘male heavy’ industry. For me, these fearless, intelligent, professional but also kind and caring women, are my role models who I look up to. They remind me daily why I should always aim higher and demonstrate exactly why there should be no divide, when it comes to men/women, at the top of our hierarchies.”
Jennifer Scott-Reid, Chief People and Development Officer, nurtur.group, comments: “What does International Women’s Day mean to me? Well not only has it been celebrated every year since 1911 (over 100 years) and gives an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of women around the world. It’s also important that women in power inspire and encourage young women to climb the ladder of success and make the sky their limit.”
Andrew Stanton is the founder of Proptech-PR, a consultancy for Founders of Proptechs looking to grow and exit, using his influence from decades of industry experience. Separately he is a consultant to some of the biggest names in global real estate, advising on sales and acquisitions, market positioning, and operations. He is also the founder of Proptech-X Proptech & Property News, where his insights, connections and detailed analysis and commentary on proptech and real estate are second to none.