Real Estate Crowdfunding between Italy and Portugal. The opinion of João Távora (Housers)

In the spring, João Távora was designated International Managing Director of Housers for Italy and Portugal. What better opportunity to ask him about real estate crowdfunding in these two countries and find out what his goals are in Italy!

In your role as responsible for Italy, what kind of goals did you set for our country?

We are still working on the strategic plan for the upcoming years, which includes a reassessment of 2019 quantitative goals. Basically, we are talking about the number of investors, the amount invested by those and the amount raised for real estate projects in Italy. Concerning more qualitative goals, we aim to be recognized as a reference all around Italy, as both an alternative and a complement to the traditional financing tools available to the real estate market

In your opinion, what are the main differences of the Italian real estate market compared to the other countries where Housers operates?

The main differences between the Italian market and the other two where Housers operates (Spain and Portugal), are basically related to the Real Estate cycle in which we currently are and the growth expected for the near future, affected by the overall macroeconomically environment in Italy.
Regarding the Real Estate cycle, while Spain and Portugal have started experiencing significant year-on-year price increases since 2015, meanwhile in Italy the prices only stabilized in 2016 after several years of contraction. On the other hand, the expected growth pace for prices in Italy is also significantly lower, especially due to the existing high supply and slow expected overall economic growth which affects affordability.

How is the economic and legislative landscape in Italy for crowdfunding, compared to Spain and Portugal? Better or worse at the end? Why?

Concerning the legislative landscape, Spain and Portugal both have a very similar situation. In both countries, there is specific crowdlending legislation and correspondent regulation. On the other hand, Italy sees a more similar landscape to the German one, where the provision and offering of lending-based crowdfunding services weren’t expressly regulated.
As far as I know, the Italian legislator has focused on regulating the activity consisting in the administration and operation of online portals focused on streamlining the raising of capital.
Being it different from what we have in Portugal or Spain, which we know well and comply with, the Italian legislation requires an extra effort and resource consumption (both financial and personal). The ideal situation would be to have a European crowdlending law in place as soon as possible, that would enable platforms to operate cross-border in different EU countries the same way as banks do with their passport, without being asked for any more licenses or comply with totally different requirements from one country to the other.

Is there any significant interest in real estate crowdfunding in Italy from international players?

Sure. I think it is due to 3 main reasons:

  1. • The Real Estate crowdfunding has grown exponentially in the last few years among small and large investors that are looking for attractive returns on their investment. The crowdfunding applied to the Real Estate market has also made it a more accessible sector for everyone.
  2. • On the other hand, the Real Estate crowdfunding is also very popular among Real Estate developers that are looking for funds to develop their projects and they see it as an attractive alternative/ complement to the traditional ways of funding, mostly due to its flexibility and velocity.
  3. • The popularity of crowdfunding among investors and developers combined with the recovery of the Italian real estate market has awakened the interest of both national and international players. More and more new Real Estate investment platforms are emerging in Italy led by national or international groups.

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Author: Tudor Sava

17 Giugno 2019