Property investment - Perfect way to become an impact investor?
At GrowthFunders we provide our investor network with investment opportunities in three core areas - high growth SMEs, clean energy and property.
Drill down further and the opportunities become particularly diverse, ranging from those suited to an investor looking to make tax efficient investments right through to the investors who want to become involved in low carbon commercial properties.
If you take a step back, however, there's one focus that stretches across everything we do - impact. We want to make an impact and we want to provide investment opportunities that allow others to make an impact with their investments, too.
And in many ways, property can be one of the best routes to achieving this.
Building homes that are needed now
There's been lots of discussions around the housing crisis, and whatever your view on the 'solution' is, the common belief is we need more homes. Or more accurately, we need more of the right homes, in the right locations, for the right people.
Without the most suitable homes being built, we risk seeing a whole host of issues emerging.
We could realistically see the average homeowner age head well into the 40s or even 50s for example. If this happens, it's likely people will delay starting families, something that could have financial implications personally, on the already struggling NHS, and the wider economy as a whole.
I appreciate that's really speculative, but theoretically it could happen. And it's not unrealistic.
On a related note, if those homes don't get built, it's almost inevitable that prices will continue to rise. Incomes aren't increasing at the same rate as the prices of houses are, meaning we'll have less disposable income, once again something that will have a knock-on effect on the whole economy.
By investing in UK housebuilding, you're supporting the supply of this much needed demand. Whether you invest directly into a specific residential property development project or it's something that's more indirect - investing through a property bond, for instance - you're building homes.
The government might be committed to building 300,000 homes by 2020, but many believe this won't be achievable without additional support from property developers and therefore investors.
It might sound like a huge cliché, but your money can make a difference.
Help support future generations
And the people it can make a difference to?
Your sons and daughters. Your grandsons and granddaughters. Your nieces, nephews and godchildren.
The school age children and their older college relatives. The university students and the younger adults who've just entered the world of work.
At these ages, the thought of homeownership won't be anywhere near the forefront of their mind. They won't have a burning desire to own a home and for this reason they're unlikely to be aware of the huge challenges so many are facing right now when trying to get onto the housing ladder.
You can make a direct change to a part of their lives by investing in property. It sounds like a bold statement, but it's accurate. The investors into our residential property development projects (like that at Chilton, which closed out recently) are part of the housebuilding process.
Sure, they aren't digging foundations or laying bricks, but it's their finances that have allowed the development to happen.
And if these developments happen in the places they're needed and driven forward by knowledgeable and experienced housebuilders, it's hard to argue against the fact it's a strong recipe for success - money from investors who want to make a difference by investing into UK housebuilders who have the same focus; housebuilders who themselves don't just want to build houses as quickly as possible, but who want to build homes for people who need them in the areas they're most required.
The best way to become an impact investor?
I'm a big fan of bold (and accurate!) statements and generally don't like to sit on the fence, but it would be too definitive to say property is the best way to become an impact investor.
There are so many ways you can make a difference through investing, but property is undoubtedly a brilliant way. And arguably it's the way many start to become an impact investor - we all know property to some degree, so can relate to it. We know the issues and hurdles faced in the property market and would prefer future generations didn't have to experience them.
There's no doubt investing is about financial returns first and foremost for the majority of people, but so many want to achieve more. And by investing into the right property opportunities, you can make an impact that will be seen now whilst also being realised well into the future.