Monio: Democratising real estate investment opportunities
By Synne Johnsson | Photos: Monio
In a time when the property market is getting increasingly difficult to get into, crowdlending platform Monio wants to democratise real estate investing. Since launching in 2018 it has already become Norway’s largest crowdlending platform in real estate investment opportunities and has no plans of slowing down.
Monio, previously called Monner, is a digital platform that puts businesses in touch with independent investors to finance their development projects. So far, more than 800 million Norwegian kroner has been invested on the platform across 400 loans.
Crowdlending, the most common type of crowdfunding, provides financing to various projects through a pool of investments from private individuals. Monio focuses on financing for small to medium-sized real estate projects that might struggle to secure traditional bank financing. The three other types of crowdfunding are equity-based crowdfunding, donation-based crowdfunding and rewards-based crowdfunding.
Marius Dybdahl, CEO at Monio, says: “Often, if you want to invest in property, you either buy a home for yourself or you buy a property to rent. With the deposit requirements from the banks, this is getting more and more difficult.”
“Investing in commercial property and projects with high returns is usually reserved for the more privileged people that already have a lot of capital. What we want to do is to democratise the opportunity to invest in loans to these types of real estate projects.”
Benefitting both investors and developers
Investors on the platform benefit from a higher interest than the traditional savings account as well as the opportunity to invest in real estate projects across Norway. However, it is not only Monio’s investors that are benefiting from the service: newer and smaller businesses who face difficulty in getting financing from banks due to lack of finance history, also stand to gain.
Dybdahl says: “It’s difficult if you never get financing to develop a property before you have experience in doing so. It’s kind of like saying all leader positions require leader experience – it’s the best way to ensure that there will be no future leaders.”
That does not mean that they let anyone borrow through the platform though. Monio’s highly qualified professionals evaluate every company and project before it is released on the platform. They finance a range of developments across residential and commercial. However, today’s regulations make it difficult to finance the largest projects in Norway, as they cap crowdfunded investments at one million kroner per year.
This is about to change. The EU has introduced common rules for crowdfunding to be rolled out in the Nordics in the next year. The rules open up for companies to finance projects for up to five million euros annually. With the new rules, Monio will also be able to offer both loan-based crowdfunding and equity-based crowdfunding; allowing its investors to invest in loans for various real estate projects, or in direct ownership.
Putting your money to work
Investing through Monio allows you to put your money to work with higher average returns than a standard savings account: Monio has had a historical return, after losses, of seven per cent. The investments have a one-year maturity, with interest paid monthly. When investing, investors are informed of both returns and maturity beforehand, what interest they will get and when the money will hit their account.
“The reason we have specialised in property investments is that we think it offers the best balance between risk and returns. Your money is secured by a physical property, meaning that if the borrowers suddenly have difficulty repaying, investors can get back part of, or the full, investment by selling the project to someone else,” Dybdahl says.
Registering as an investor is free and only takes a couple of minutes. You can open a savings account with a competitive interest rate and invest that money when you find a suitable project. Monio only takes a small administration fee of the interest on the different projects.
“So far, 80,000 investments have been made by thousands of investors. We believe that the market for this type of project will grow by four to five times in the next few years,” Dybdahl says.
So, do you have to know anything about real estate or finance? Not really, according to Dybdahl. Anyone can start investing with Monio and the platform provides a range of different articles as well as an investment school to teach inexperienced investors about the market.
Dybdahl concludes: “You don’t have to know anything before starting, but if you read our articles and the information we publish on each project, there’s a greater chance of maximising the returns of your investments.”
Monio’s top tips when investing in real estate loans You should never invest more than you can afford to lose, but even if you, in principle, can afford to, no one wants to lose money. Therefore, you should consider how to minimise the risk of loss. 1. Read up on the projects and evaluate the risk and security in each project 2. Spread the risk across several projects 3. Interest on interest: reinvest the returns regularly to increase the returns with interest on interest. Five reasons to invest through Monio Monio’s philosophy is that even semi-professional investors can earn money by investing in real estate and by investing through crowdfunding. So why should you choose Monio? 1. High average interest 2. Low expected loss due to the security of the physical property 3. Monthly repayment of interest 4. Opportunity to spread the risk across several different projects 5. Low minimum limit for investments of only 1,000 Norwegian kroner Web: www.monio.no
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