If you’ve ever been on the sharp end of buying a house, then you probably still have nightmares about finding the right mortgage provider. Before you’ve even got a hope of getting the keys in your hand, the financial wrangling involved can be one of the biggest headaches you’ll ever experience; no wonder moving is such a stressful experience.
In other less good news, Bitcoin’s good name has taken something of a further pummelling in recent weeks too. The EU is threatening to regulate the cryptocurrency (thus removing the one thing that makes it particularly attractive to many enthusiasts), and BlackRock Investment Institute is issuing warnings to its investors to steer clear of cryptocurrency unless their financial aim is to lose everything.
Do these two things have anything in common? Can two negatives make a positive?
In this case, absolutely yes. A vote of confidence in Bitcoin has come from a surprising sector. Hagan Homes, a Ballyclare-based housebuilding company has stated that they are willing to accept Bitcoin as payment for new homes. The Northern Irish company is believed to be the first construction industry client to do so. Their managing director Jamesy Hagan had this to say – “Bitcoin is…a new kind of money. It is very similar to a cash transaction.” He went on to reinforce what any avid follower of cryptocurrency both knows now and hopes for the future; the last year of growth worldwide for Bitcoin has been significant, and any company accepting it as payment for good or services is showing willingness to respond to the market accordingly.
Hagan Homes’ 2016/2017 turnover was a healthy £18 million and represented their second biggest year of new home completions in its 30-year history. The demand is there, with Northern Ireland becoming an increasingly attractive prospect – no one can predict what impact Brexit will have on anything right now, but the appeal of what will almost certainly represent a soft border between the EU and the UK is encouraging a certain amount of speculative growth.
Mainland UK is also seeing some encouraging associations between the housing market and cryptocurrency, this time in the rental market. The Collective, a London property developer dealing in the upmarket young professional co-living sector, announced last year that it was happy to accept deposits from prospective tenants in Bitcoin, and planned to accept rental payments in that format too by the end of 2017. This was largely in response to demands from their international customers, and The Collective were even offering to absorb any financial risk, pledging to return end of tenancy deposits at their original value.
Co-living might be the future for those starting out in their careers and living in big cities, but it will be interesting if any more builders step on board with cryptocurrency payments. Certain for the rental sector, developers would have to look at adopting The Collective’s commitment to shoulder the potential financial risk of deposit payments.