THE FINNIES: A startup that helps people invest in real estate for $100 is looking beyond Sydney and Melbourne

Business Insider Australia is the proud media partner for the 2017 Finnies, the annual Fintech Australia awards recognising leadership and innovation in the nation’s financial technology sector. Get your nominations in by April 21 as we count down to the gala awards night on May 24. Entries are now open here. »

BrickX hit the headlines in the past year as a way Australians can invest in real estate for as little as $100.

With the property market red-hot in Sydney and Melbourne, the venture has signed up more than 3,200 investors – especially appealing to younger generations that have been priced out of bricks-and-mortar.

Seven residential properties are currently available for investment through BrickX, located in Sydney’s Bondi Beach, Enmore, Annandale, Mosman and Double Bay; plus Melbourne’s Prahan and Port Melbourne.

The startup’s chief executive has now revealed to Business Insider that the company is now looking in other Australian cities to add to the portfolio.

“I think there’s some pretty interesting opportunities coming out of Brisbane, Hobart and we’ll be looking in Perth as well,” said BrickX boss Anthony Millet.

The people driving purchase decisions at BrickX have some serious credentials – they include chief economist Nerida Conisbee, CoreLogic head of research Tim Lawless and experienced buyer agents Ramon Mitchell and Nicholas Morrison.

Millet said that, while the company is investigating other markets and the strong growth in Sydney and Melbourne “can’t continue forever”, he believed prices in the two biggest cities would not crash.

“I feel pretty strongly that the good suburbs in Sydney and Melbourne are not going to fall backwards. Sure they’ll slow down, but I don’t think they’re going to go backwards.”

The executive spoke to Business Insider ahead of today’s close of nominations for FinTech Australia’s first annual industry awards, the Finnies. The winners will be revealed at a gala night on May 24.

BrickX’s house in Annandale, Sydney. (Source: BrickX)

BrickX broke a glass ceiling of sorts earlier this month when it became the first startup to win a Canstar innovation award. The milestone has convinced the venture’s chief executive Anthony Millet that Australians are now ready for fintech.

“I think it’s going to be pretty exciting for the fintech industry over the next five years,” he told Business Insider. “With things like us winning the Canstar award… you can just feel that things are changing.”

Australia is slower to adopt to innovations than the rest of the world, said Millet, but the momentum is now here for fintech startups to pounce.

BrickX’s Anthony Millet. (Source: provided)

“It’s only really a matter of time, but it’s interesting to see our time is coming in Australia now. And with people like FinTech Australia we’re only going to help increase the speed of momentum at which businesses like us can actually start to fly.”

BrickX purchases properties then divides the cost price into ten thousand units called Bricks that are on-sold individually to investors. This allows investors to enter the market with Bricks that cost $100 each within a house that cost $1 million.

Bricks can be listed for sale instantly through the BrickX marketplace for others to purchase, with the seller setting the price and the startup charging a 1.75% transaction fee. The median sale time, according to the live stats on the company website on Thursday, is a very liquid 3 hours and 40 minutes.

Millet said that older real estate funds concentrated on commercial and industrial property, putting BrickX in a class of its own.

“There’s genuinely no alternative out there [for] investing in a residential house, other than buying a house or doing it through someone like us.”

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