Propflo secures £860k to develop ‘Retrofit-as-a-Service’ for mortgage industry
PRESS RELEASE Bristol, December 2023. Propflo, an AI property platform, has been awarded over £860,000 by Innovate UK to further develop advanced data-driven portfolio approach to net zero and scale its ‘Retrofit-as-a-Service’ solution for lenders, intermediaries and estate agents. This funding is part of a highly competitive £5m two-phase programme on Net Zero Heat and is due to run until March 2025.
Pictured: Luke Loveridge, CEO (left), Daniel Moyo, Chief Data Scientist (Right)
The primary focus of the project will be developing Propflo’s portfolio AI insights and linking these to its retrofit one-stop-shop (GreenVal) and its ongoing engagement platform (HomeHub). The goal is for lenders, intermediaries and estate agents to have everything they need to support their customers to retrofit their properties in a streamlined and joined up process.
A key part of the project will be testing a model for mortgage intermediaries who play a trusted role in advising homeowners and are forecast to be responsible for 90% of mortgage distribution in 2024. Habito was recently the first mortgage intermediary to launch a retrofit tool – GreenVal – and will now be the primary partner testing the end-to-end solution.
Other partners on the project include: Action Net Zero: A sustainability social enterprise facilitating homeowner engagement to ensure no vulnerable households are overlooked. Propcert: A leader in EPC assessments, partnering with Propflo to provide the Enhanced EPC and facilitate the installation of smart home technology for verification and monitoring. A variety of improvement suppliers including Glow Green and Aico Homelink. Stakeholders including mortgage lenders, intermediaries and estate agents who will take part in the learning and scale up of the solution.
Luke Loveridge, Founder and CEO, Propflo comments, “The UK’s £200bn retrofit challenge is a national priority; not only to meet our legally binding carbon targets and reduce energy bills, but to ensure our national energy security, improve health outcomes, and boost affordability in the housing market. This collaboration between innovative partners will elevate Propflo’s retrofit solution, making it the most sophisticated option for lenders, brokers, and agents.”
Fine & Country expects rental growth in 2024
As we approach the festive season, the rental market is experiencing a slight slowdown in growth, in line with typical seasonal patterns. “However,” says Nicky Stevenson, Managing Director of Fine & Country, “the market remains under pressure and a strong resurgence in rental growth is expected as we move into 2024, with positive indicators and trends supporting this forecast.”
According to the latest data from HomeLet, rents continue to rise with year-on-year growth currently at 8.9%. However, there has been a marginal monthly decrease of -0.3% in November, bringing the average rent across the UK to £1,279. After a busy summer season, a small fall in rents in November follows traditional seasonal patterns, although this could potentially indicate the beginning of a slowdown.
“In the prime market, where demand remains high, the average rent has increased by 5.8% year on year, reaching £3,854 per month. Notably, annual rental growth is positive across all regions, with the South West leading the way with a significant rise of 16.8%,” Stevenson comments.
Speaking about what is expected as we move into the new year, she adds “Looking ahead, industry forecasts suggest a continued rise in rents throughout 2024, supported by the ongoing supply-demand dynamics. However, experts anticipate that the market may reach an ‘affordability ceiling’ in 2025, prompting a more balanced phase.”
With regard to trends in the market and renter preferences, the Property Academy Renter Survey provides additional insights, revealing that more than a quarter of renters are choosing to rent as a lifestyle choice rather than out of necessity. Referring to the data, Stevenson says, “Approximately 37% of respondents plan to continue renting for two years or more, citing benefits such as flexibility, a higher standard of living, and access to amenities, as well as the ability to work remotely.”
She notes that as winter sets in, tenant preferences are becoming increasingly clear. “The survey shows that 55% of renters would prefer utility bills to be included in their rent. Additionally, 44% of respondents stated they would be more inclined to rent a property if utility bills were included, according to Zero Deposit. However, Zoopla reports that only 12% of properties currently include bills within the asking rent, highlighting a potential area for consideration by landlords and letting agents,” Stevenson concludes.
Andrew Stanton is the founder and CEO 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 and editor of Proptech-X Proptech & Property News, where his insights, connections and detailed analysis and commentary on proptech and real estate are second to none.