Though the 2008-09 crisis scarred a lot of real estate investors, the fact is that the US real estate sector has been on a secular growth spree in this decade. The sector plays an integral role in the US economy and contributed $1.15 trillion to the country’s economic output in 2018, which is 6.2% of the nation’s GDP. As a matter of fact, till Q3 2018, individuals owned US$25.6 trillion in real estate, and total mortgages amounted to US$10.3 trillion, which implies that home equity stood at US$15.2 trillion until Q3 2018. That’s a record in itself. Approximately 14.7 million homes have 50% or more of their total equity in their houses.
This represents a massive untapped financial asset for American homeowners. But wary of piling on more debt and with selling the house not an option, homeowners need a new solution to monetize their homes. QuantmRE has brought to market a win-win framework with its shared equity contract agreements. In conversation with Matthew Sullivan, founder/CEO of the company, Lending Times gets a front seat view on how the blockchain-powered solution will help millions of homeowners generate additional liquidity without taking on debt.
The QuantmRE Solution
The fundamental concept behind the company’s platform is “the home owner has equity and wants cash, whereas, the investor has money and wants equity.” QuantmRE’s solutions enable an individual to realize the value of their home’s equity without incurring any further debt. QuantmRE’s funds will purchase a fraction of the owner’s home equity and then tokenize it, building a marketplace for both owners and investors, with new financial opportunities. How?
The explanation lies ahead.
Structure of the Contracts
The QuantmRE contracts are flexible to cater to the needs of different stakeholders and are built to suit varied interests of the homeowners – with some contracts having a 10-year commitment attached to them and some contracts committing for 20-30 years. Along with this, the equity ownership framework will rely on risk profiles of the different contracts.
To illustrate, when the owner wants to part with 10% of the current value of their home, they are selling the future rights to its appreciation. When the owner sells the house in the future, they will provide the investor with a 15%-18% of the value of house. Thus, the company is buying 15%-18% of the future value of the owner’s house at 10% of the present value. This 10% is the shared equity. The company will cap the return in the initial years and the ROI will also be capped at 18%-20% per year.
These are strictly real estate contracts and not loans; here the homeowners simply agree to share the present or future appreciation or depreciation of the value of their real estate. The investor is investing in a real estate option and not investing in any debt.
Under the scenario where the house owner does not sell the house, the contract shall either be refinanced under the same terms as before or shall be renewed on new agreeable terms on all sides.
What are the returns for the investors?
Investor in the funds: The fund will buy the equity instruments from individual homeowners, and the investors will benefit from the overall diversification of the fund. The returns are usually asymmetric and are geared for strong positive alpha and downside protection (due to the structure where it pays for 10% on Day One but receives 15%-18% of future value). Even in the scenario where the house prices remain flat or fall marginally, the funds shall still deliver positive returns. But there is still risk involved, as the downside buffer is limited to an extent.
The company is developing a cryptocurrency token with real intrinsic value: EQRE. These tokens shall be backed by audited pooled real estate assets; the tokens derive their value from the equity interests in the single-family owner-occupied homes. These tokens will be launched in the near future.
It provides a platform to the owners and investors to tap the previously illiquid real estate asset class in a stock market environment enabling the fractional interests in the real estate investments to be traded on the blockchain. The tokenization of real estate will allow small mom and pop investors to diversify their real estate holdings and provide institutional players a platform for liquidity in their real estate investments.
QuantmRE To Date
QuantmRE was founded in December 2017 and has successfully originated close to 100 transactions of over $25 million across a few states. Albeit, currently these transactions are not all QuantmRE contracts. Since its inception, the company has developed its technology, contracts, and design. and is just a few weeks away from launching its EQRE token.
As far as funding goes, the company raised close to US$2 million in 2018 in a seed round. The company plans to raise $5 million for working capital and expansion.
The company offers homeowners an opportunity to liquidate a part of their house without taking on more debt. Investors get to partake in the growth of single-family residential units. This is structured through a shared equity contract. These contracts will further back the token of the company that can be traded. The token of the company (EQRE) is being developed and shall be soon launched. QuantmRE plans to integrate the blockchain and cryptocurrency technology with the real estate sector allowing for liquid profitable real estate investments. The company has its eyes on the $15 trillion unmortgaged equity in US homes and is poised to leverage blockchain tech to make it a strong investment proposition.
Written by Heena Dhir.