It’s like a dating website but for home ownership.
It’s the first housing platform in Australia which looks at co-ownership between strangers. By jumping on the sharing culture Mortgage Mates is working in the same framework as Uber and Airbnb by turning strangers, into mates. It has not been seen before and interest is high…
Mortgage Mates has been created to support individuals in the upper end of the rental market who are currently unable to afford their own home.
It’s like a dating website but for home ownership, where you are matched with other users who have the same housing needs as you, enabling you to own a home.
In a time where it seems anything can be done on a smartphone, using technology to reduce the affordable housing crisis makes sense. Using a unique algorithm, Mortgage Mates will match you with other individuals with the same housing preferences by location, deposit amount and property type.
By matching with another user who shares your housing aspirations you can afford to purchase a home to live in, land to build on or an investment property with less financial risks and increased legal protection.
Daisy Ashworth along with co-founder Jess Vesely are doing their best to ride the current wave of interest in Mortgage Mates. In August 2019 the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI) accepted an abstract from the two on co-ownership, a concept growing in popularity amid our housing affordability crisis.
“We acknowledge that we are matching you with a stranger.”
“We really didn’t anticipate that we would be selected,” said Daisy. “Given the calibre of attendees and the presenters we were surprised to be offered a think tank opportunity, which is an intense, smaller presentation.”
Feedback was positive and it came from some unexpected sector areas. For example, it was suggested Mortgage Mates could provide a different opportunity for individuals transitioning out of social housing instead of going straight into a private rental market.
“This wasn’t an area we were initially focused on, so it was exciting for us,” said Daisy.
Given the need to use technology the website is aimed at individuals aged 18-39 who through current circumstance are reliant on a partner to afford a property at current prices.
Using an analogy with Tinder
“We are focusing on a cohort who don’t already have a partner, family member or friend who they can co-own with,” said Daisy.
“We use the Tinder analogy … we acknowledge that we are matching you with a stranger and I think it would be really naive to try and dance around that subject. Tinder helps you fall in love with a stranger and people are very happy and well aware of how successful that has been and that’s how we see Mortgage Mates developing.
“Strangers will become mates and the two are intermingled.”
The safety of the concept of Mortgage Mates is the biggest hurdle for Daisy and Jess. Inevitably questions about safety are raised early on from those hearing about the concept for the first time.
“You get into a car with a stranger when you use Uber, you stay at a stranger’s house when you get an Airbnb property and you fall in love with a stranger on Tinder,” explained Daisy.
“We have co-ownership agreements and legal contracts that actually make it safer than perhaps buying with a family member or friend. You feel much more confident in asking for what you want when the person you are buying with is not somebody you have that intimate relationship with.”
A platform for multiple individuals
While the focus now is on a younger cohort the website can be expanded. In their planning Daisy and Jess wanted to make the product successful for one cohort first and then replicate across multiple cohorts rather than starting out too big.
“Down the track we envisage Mortgage Mates as a platform for multiple individuals, e.g. for those requiring specific, disability inclusive accommodation options or the ability to buy with others also accessing specialised funding for housing, to provide long term, safe and secure accommodation.
“For individuals that are 55 years or older, we know that women are the highest demographic entering homelessness for that cohort, what if we could offer somebody home ownership as a choice as opposed to rental accommodation at that stage. We definitely see it as a website across all areas.”
Recognition of Mortgage Mates is growing
After the AHURI conference Mortgage Mates participated in Pitch@Palace Australia.
The process involved being selected and then attending a boot camp.
Mortgage Mates made it to the final stage and were asked to pitch for 30 seconds to an influential audience of potential supporters including CEOs, influencers, mentors and business partners. Most notable among the attendees was the host the Duke of York, Prince Andrew. While Mortgage Mates were not selected to take part in the Pitch@Palace Global event it was “an amazing opportunity”.
“Our user base has increased by 50 per cent since we completed this event,” said Daisy.
“We did lots of advertising as part of the Pitch at Palace event and we’ve been doing more advertising since.”
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