Weekly Property News Roundup: Satoshi Block Dojo, Zoopla, Yourkeys (03/09)

A roundup of the week’s top property and proptech news stories in partnership with Estate Agent Networking.

Craig Massey unveils Satoshi Block Dojo accelerator

For the first time since the onset of the pandemic, members of my teams at Proptech-PR and Proptech-X teams attended our first in-person meetup in London, with Financial Director Ann Fields, Co-founder and CMO Matt Hughes and myself enticed to Satoshi Block Dojo not just by the Japanese sake and sushi, but for the “pirate ship of mavericks”, as founder Craig Massey put it.

Massey, the ever-enigmatic powerhouse, along with Satoshi Block Dojo Co-founder Richard Boase, is kickstarting a twelve-week programme for entrepreneurs looking to solve problems and bring services to the market using the Bitcoin SV, a prominent breakaway cryptocurrency.

The bold plan is to get close to 250 startups through the programme in five years, with a little help from some seed capital. But, more importantly, the guidance and support from a globally recognised phalanx of experts, many of whom delivered talks at the event.

We heard from Robin Kohze, co-founder and CEO of Vaionex, plus thoughts and observations from Craig Wright, the founder of nChain, Patrick Prinz from the Bitcoin Association, and Michael Hudson, founder and CEO of Bitstocks.

Given that the inaugural event drew north of 200 guests, I think there is sufficient momentum already to say that this endeavour is definitely something to watch.

I have previously worked with Craig Massey during his time as co-founder of Yourkeys, which went on to exit to Zoopla in a multi-million-pound deal, so I’ve seen his journey over a number of years. What I admire about Massey is that he fully understands the startup ecosystem, but more importantly the ingredients required to scale up, gain finance at key stages, and allow the development team to build out their solution and exit.

Having met hundreds of proptech and fintech founders, I can think of no one better suited to imbue doe-eyed startup founders with some great strategic common sense at an early stage and propel them – if they are on the right track – forward at great velocity. 

Satoshi Block Dojo’s mission is simple: “to educate, train and elevate start-up entrepreneurs to the highest standards, by providing best-in-class mentors, and teaching with the latest tech tools.”

To learn more about the Satoshi Block Dojo, visit https://blockdojo.io/

Proptech News Satoshi Block Dojo

Zoopla is bullish about the property market, but are they right?

Zoopla, the second-largest property portal in the UK, feels that the lack of property on the market will mean that it continues to be a seller’s market. 

Their head of research Gráinne Gilmore states: “…higher levels of demand will still be evident, and potential vendors with family houses to sell could be in pole position…the lack of supply, especially for family houses, means the market will start to naturally slow during the rest of this year and into next year.”

If there is a low amount of stock, that means fewer people are looking to move, which is not a good indicator of a healthy market. After the 1988 housing market when two million people bought property in 12 months, there followed four years of very low activity, with little coming to the market unless it was organically generated from the normal hatched, matched, or dispatched driven type of inventory.

Sometimes, housing market sentiment, which so often originates with the traditional property portals, might need to be looked at a little deeper, as they are hardly going to say to their paying clients, the agents, that doom is on the way.

After all, if the amount of stock estate agents list is low and stays static, and property effectively sells itself due to shortage, the argument for listing on portals starts to become moot.

Why not just put up a board and use your CRM to generate a buyer?

“…higher levels of demand will still be evident, and potential vendors with family houses to sell could be in pole position…the lack of supply, especially for family houses, means the market will start to naturally slow during the rest of this year and into next year.”

Gráinne Gilmore, Head of Research at Zoopla

Latest Bank of England figures show mortgage lending drop in July

According to the most recent analytics from the Bank of England, July saw only 75,152 approvals for mortgages, the lowest monthly figure for over a year. Approvals, in this case, are lenders seeking house finance on a property, rather than re-mortgage lending, which is actually booming as many seek to capitalise on the extremely low lending rates.

One raindrop does not equal a downpour, but off the back of house completions being down by over 60% in July, grey clouds are forming on the horizon. 

Housing sentiment may be riding high and a scarcity of property may be engendering high listing prices for properties, but if the skills and labour shortages start to creep into the inflation index and the 0.1% base rate moves a notch or two, then the last third of 2021 might give rise to a very different property market.

New Yourkeys integration pre-qualifies buyers

SPF Private Clients Limited has now integrated with Yourkeys, a Zoopla company, accelerating the process of exchange by digitally transforming the analogue processes.

This alliance will mean that prospective buyers can be financially sliced and diced prior to moving on and looking to reserve or purchase a new home or property. 

Ric Dawson, the co-founder of Yourkeys, is quick to point out that the company’s vision is to “…create greater transparency for all stakeholders through the entire purchase and conveyancing progress, including for brokers.”

It is interesting to see that Zoopla has not just purchased Yourkeys, but it is now adding pieces and developing the value of the offering further, just at the tipping point where consumers are demanding speed and clarity.

The tech-savvy Generation-Z and those even younger than that expect a property journey that can be seen on a platform by all parties involved, a real win for everyone, especially for the user experience. 

Source: Yourkeys

Tenancy deposit disputes drop during covid

According to the latest statistical briefing from the Dispute Service, deposit disputes occurred for just 0.7% of tenancies in England and Wales during 2020/21, likely due to the pandemic.

The report, which is published every year, presents data from a range of factual sources including Freedom of Information (FOI) data and statistics collated internally at the Dispute Service including tenure, the average value of tenancy deposits, the leading cause of disputes, and more.

The report also reveals statistics internally monitored by Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS), TDSNI and SafeDeposits Scotland, as well as insights into the wider private rented sector (PRS) in England & Wales, Northern Ireland, and Scotland.

The report, written by the Dispute Service Chief Executive Steve Harriott, reveals other insights into the broader PRS. It shows that the private rented sector has continued to outgrow the social renting sector, and that total deposits in England and Wales in the PRS have increased to 4.2 million in March 2021. This equates to a value of £4.3 million in deposits held for private tenancies in 2021.

Cleaning continues to be the prominent reason for disputes and accounted for 49% in England & Wales, 42% in Northern Ireland and 70% in Scotland during the 2020/21 period.

Steve Harriott said: “Our annual Statistical Briefing reveals interesting industry trends in the private rented sector and highlights the impact of Covid-19 in all regions of the UK. Transparent, factual data has never been more important, and this report is just one way we play our part in instilling trust in the private rented sector.” 

The report will provide interesting reading for property professionals, landlords and letting agents operating in private lettings. The Statistical Briefing can now be downloaded for free: Statistical Briefing 2020-21


Weekly proptech news in partnership with Estate Agent Networking

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.

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