- Digital real estate pioneer Zillow had 22% revenue growth through online sales
- New real estate technology company Opendoor Technologies lost nearly half of its market value
Why Cathie Woods?
Cathie Wood, the founder and CEO of ARK Investment Management, is a star stock-picker, who identifies large-scale investment opportunities. She focuses on investing in “disruptive innovation” centring around robotics, artificial intelligence, and blockchain technology, etc. Wood is an important voice when it comes to talking about platforms and technology that will dominate our future, and she is of particular interest especially among millennials for her digital savviness and deep understanding of future trends. If she is, she would be the perfect advocate for current PropTech companies and their mission.
What is PropTech?
Let’s imagine how our lives would be without technology. Well, It is purely impossible as technology plays a fundamental role in our lives. Since almost every industry in the world utilizes technology to streamline operational processes and improve workflow, the real estate industry is no different.
PropTech (also known as property technology) is the application of technologies in real estate. It uses Big Data, Artificial Intelligence, virtual reality, and machine learning, etc.
Here at Denzity, we use Big Data technology to reduce uncertainties to help you make better decisions in your home search journey.
Wood’s Proptech Investment
Wood’s focus on disruptive innovation is inspired by a unique investment thesis. It suggests we underestimate the value of innovative companies emerging now that will one day shape the entirety of industries and our way of life – including how we do real estate.
While PropTech has been used as a buzzword for some time, in recent years there has been serious endeavours to build platforms that actually may have an impact on the real estate industry. Wood’s firm invests in themes such as Artifical Intelligence, FinTech, IoT, etc. themes that emerging PropTech companies are capitalising on. This is no wonder she has made the following companies her stock picks:
This is why Wood decided to invest in Zillow (NASDAQ code: Z), a pioneer in the digital real estate industry. The company offers a platform that handles real estate transactions and services. Amidst the global pandemic, its revenue has grown by 22%, and the adjusted EBITA metric has climbed to an all-time high. This highlights the company’s future profitability and opportunities ahead.
- Opendoor Technologies
Similarly, Wood decided to invest in Opendoor Technologies (NASDAQ code: OPEN), an app platform that enables people to buy and sell their properties freely. The platform collects a 5% handling fee of the property’s total asset value. Although the company is facing the headwinds of COVID-19, it is preparing for a comeback. The property boom driven by the pandemic should be able to assist the company to further expand its businesses. Therefore, it is believed that the existence of Opendoor Technologies would potentially eliminate the need for real estate agencies as time proceeds.
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No doubt Wood is quite optimistic about the PropTech outlook. Being a top-tiered seasoned investor, anything in her portfolio must have done something to deserve to be there. With that said, however, is Wood is a very long term investor, and her time horizon is something many investors need to get used to. Given current turbulent conditions in the market, it’s good to understand how it’s affecting her current investments in these PropTech companies, and how she is seeing past that:
- Higher Interest Rates
The world came through from a low interest rate period due to COVID-19. As the pandemic starts to get under control, Wood expects the interest rates to rise and the stock market has already shown some signs of panic. The Federal Reserve fluctuates between yes or no on interest rate hikes. Especially when Jerome Powell, the Chairman of the Federal Reserve, admits the huge uncertainty in the economy as the country recovers from the pandemic. This leads to people moving their money in and out of the stock market, bringing huge fluctuations.
The rise of the annual interest rate is one of the major factors that influence investors in both real estate and the stock market as it indicates how much they should pay for the amount of mortgage or the leverage they used. Unlike others who panic when interest rates rise, Cathie Wood believes that the adjustment of interest rates would not be a big deal as we were used to about 2% of interest rate before the pandemic. It just takes time to adjust back into the mood.
The increase in interest rate also leads to a loss in revenue for new real estate technology companies such as Opendoor Technologies. The company has lost nearly half of its market value during these days. However, The Federal Reserve has reassured the public about the central bank’s commitment to keeping a loose monetary policy. They stated that the interest rate would not rise in a short period until late 2022 or early 2023. Therefore, Opendoor Technologies should have time to get back to its peak price. As online real estate trade is the mainstream in the future, buying this stock for a long hold is recommended.
Wood and the Future of PropTech
While we can’t say how best to avoid losses or make short-term gains in the market today, we can all learn from Wood’s determination not to be distracted by current trends and focus on the future picture. PropTech has made significant gains in the past few years, but it has so much more to offer, and we have yet to see the force that will alter the industry forever. Staying true and studying the long-term trends like Wood will help us see that PropTech is a certainty and coming alive.
Locally (in Hong Kong), you can start being involved in the shifting calculus. Associations like PropTech Institute (PTI) and our own company – Denzity – are seeing these trends and capitalising on the moment. If you are an interested real estate company that believes it’s time to make a digital transition and stand out in a crowded digital space, Denzity has the solution to help you do it within a day. And finally, check out PTI for more recommendations to help you on your PropTech journey. Like Wood, make the big bets today and own the future.
Now that you’re here…
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Please note all the above stated is opinion only and does not constitute proper investment advice. Denzity is not liable for any investment decisions that result from following the opinions outlined above.