In our latest member’s spotlight interview, we spoke with Mark Macduffie, CEO & Co-Founder at Downsizer. Mark shares the company’s journey so far, introducing the solution into the market and what the future holds for them. “Biggest pivot for us in the past 12 months has been really driven by the global economy, we started as a developer-based product for ‘Off the plan’ sales targeting the 55 year old and above segment. However, as high inflation and interest rates increased, we are seeing greater demand from the 40-50 cohort who are now under mortgage stress and want to downsize their mortgage to a more manageable amount.”
Q1- The downsizer platform helps homeowners, specifically individuals that are planning retirement or recently retired, downsize without a cash deposit, what impact have you been able to achieve with homeowners? And what opportunities has this presented for the developers and agents that you work with?
Since launching our pilot in Australia 12 months ago we have now facilitated more than AUD$23m of Off the Plan residential property sales. At the same time helping buyers secure their next home with the need for a deposit.
With rising inflation and increasing mortgage rates contributing to less qualified buyers in the market, we can help unlock the downsizer segment who are asset-rich, cash-poor and not dependent on a mortgage to buy.
We have now used the product for true Downsizers as well as Investors and more recently buyers who have cash deposit using our product as a cheaper alternate and leaving their cash in high interest account throughout the build. It’s a genuine win / win for everyone.
Q2- You are planning to launch a pilot in UK later this year, how easy/challenging has it been to bring this concept to the UK market?
The global economy has really made it challenging.
Q3- The team are made up of experienced professionals that have a good track record of scaling enterprise businesses. How has the experience helped as you’ve launched Downsizer? Have there been any key learnings or pitfalls that you have avoided with Downsizer?
Our leadership team have 120 years of experience with large corporates in 5 countries where we have been exposed to the most innovative methods to tackle problems / opportunities. This design led approach and agile technology delivery mode is used by some of the biggest companies sin the world like Apple, Google, IBM and here in Australia all the big 4 banks use this methodology. It puts the customers at the centred of everything and keeps has kept then involved throughout the design so that you can fail fast, iterate rapidly and improve each time.
In our case this means developers, agents, conveyancers and most importantly property purchasers.
Biggest pivot for us in the past 12 months has been really driven by the global economy, we started as a developer-based product for ‘Off the plan’ sales targeting the 55 year old and above segment. However, as high inflation and interest rates increased, we are seeing greater demand from the 40-50 cohort who are now under mortgage stress and want to downsize their mortgage to a more manageable amount.
Our flexible platform has allowed us to move into this segment quickly.
Q4-The current economic climate in the UK has had a significant impact in the property industry, how do you think this is affecting PropTechs?
I’m a ‘glass half full to overflowing’ kinda guy and I see every problem and challenge as an opportunity. In Australia the PropTech Community is really strong and is stepping up to the challenges presented such as supply chain and cost of goods.
The key for proptechs is working with industry bodies like UKPA to make sure we work on the right challenges.
Q5- Downsizer has seen significant growth in the last few years and even won the “PropTech to watch award”, as you continue to grow as a business both in Australia and the UK, what does the roadmap look like for the next year?
We are now in full scale up mode in Australia and onboarding property developers every week. We now have more than AUD$1.1bn of off the plan properties for sale in 5 states. We are now partnering with other participants in the ecosystem to scale quicker such as Mortgage Brokers, Banks, Accountants. We have a pilot with Mortgage Brokers starting shortly. Then it’s Upsizer.com – for every house a downsizer releases there are 2/3 Upsizers waiting!!And in parallel we expect to be piloting Downsizer in the UK this year.
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