An easier way to invest in the property market

JSE-listed Purple Group’s latest innovation EasyProperties is ‘changing the game’.

Rupert Finnemore is heading a progressive and novel online platform that is making it easier for almost anyone to invest and get into South Africa’s property market.

Finnemore is CEO of EasyProperties, one of the newest additions to JSE-listed Purple Group’s portfolio of innovative businesses that are disrupting the market.

EasyProperties, established just over two years ago amid the Covid-19 pandemic, has gained traction with its model that “democratises access to property investment through fractional investments”.

The company started in the buy-to-let residential market and offers an alternative way for people to get a foothold in the property market – whether they have R1 or R1 million to invest. It gives investors access to real estate opportunities in prime locations that they might otherwise not be able to tap into, such as Sandton, Rosebank, the Cape Town CBD and Ballito.

“Access to investment in properties and the rewards of capital growth and rental income has historically been reserved for the wealthy,” Finnemore tells Moneyweb.

“We’re changing the game. EasyProperties offers a simple online investment process for any investor, regardless of income or net worth.

“Essentially, we are a prop tech platform that serves to democratise property investing. We are passionate about changing the traditional belief that investing in property is hard, by disrupting and removing the barriers to entry.”

EasyProperties uses its networks and expertise to access property developments like The Rockefeller in Cape Town, BlackBrick projects in Sandton and Cape Town, The Blyde in Pretoria, Ballito Hills on the KwaZulu-Natal North Coast and The Polofields in Waterfall.

The group bulk buys a certain number of units in a specific development – often negotiating a discounted price – then offers the properties to investors on a fractional investment basis.

Finnemore explains that the fractional model which EasyProperties offers is different to the traditional fractional property ownership concept. The latter saw investors buying a share of a specific property unit, and then qualifying to stay in the unit for a few weeks of the year. Like timeshare schemes, these are generally linked to hospitality properties.

“Our fractional investment model sees investors gain a share in property opportunities we research, source and even manage, thus taking away all the friction points that people wanting to invest in the property market may grapple with,” says Finnemore.

“People who invest through EasyProperties gain a share in a specific development that we’ve secured units in. They can invest based on what they can afford … For example, we may have 10 units in a residential property development, but those units can be fractionally owned by 7 000 investors.

You can catch Rupert Finnemore at the Better Investor Conference on Thursday, 23 June (Day 2) at 14h55. You can find out more here

“We handle the leasing, rent collection, management and maintenance of these property units. Our investors get rental dividends based on how many shares they own and can also benefit from capital gains after a five-to-seven-year investment period,” he adds.

Finnemore explains that investors still enjoy liquidity flexibility if they want to sell their shares, which is done on the group’s online platform via auction to others in the EasyProperties investor community.

Just over two years down the line – essentially its start-up years – the company has signed up over a quarter of a million registered customers. Finnemore says the business currently has over 70 000 active investors or “invested customers”.

He highlights that EasyProperties is regulated and operates under the relevant financial sector rules. The company is a juristic representative of First World Trader (Pty) Limited, which trades as EasyEquities, an authorised Financial Services Provider (FSP). EasyEquities has shaken up the market in SA as a low-cost investment platform for those wanting to invest in local and international stocks.

“We have over 260 residential units in the EasyProperties portfolio, valued at around R300 million. And it is growing . We expect to top R500 million next year,” Finnemore points out.

“The average amount invested by our active investors is between R1 300 and R1 500, but we have other clients who have invested a few hundred thousand rand or over R1 million.”

EasyProperties is also eyeing expansion into student accommodation as well as commercial property opportunities in the burgeoning industrial/logistics sub-sector of the market.

Brought to you by EasyProperties.

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