MetaProp to invest $5M in affordable housing startups

Metaprop’s Zach Aarons and Leila Collins (Credit: iStock and Twitter)

MetaProp, the New York-based real estate tech accelerator, is looking to bolster the creation and protection of affordable housing with a new initiative.

The firm will partner with Enterprise Community Partners, a national nonprofit that focuses on affordable housing, to invest in startups that address the undersupply of affordable homes and make credit and illiquid capital more accessible.

Leila Collins, MetaProp’s “investor-in-residence,” said the firm would commit $5 million to startups that focus on addressing the affordability housing crisis over the next 12 months. Enterprise would not disclose its financial commitment to the partnership.

“We are going to make technologies that make it easier to build housing that’s affordable, and the financing for purchasing a home less onerous,” said Zach Aarons, MetaProp’s co-founder .

As home prices outpace wage increases, the country’s home affordability index hit its lowest level in a decade. Major metro areas saw steep declines in the fourth quarter of 2018, including Los Angeles, which saw its affordability index drop 12 percent. Miami-Dade County and Chicago’s Cook County saw their levels drop 10 percent, and New York saw an 8 percent dip.

In New York, the Department of City Planning flagged that a lack of affordable housing was impacting the city’s growth. Over the past decade, the city added 708,000 new jobs, but only 378,000 new housing units have come online in the five boroughs, a shortage that forces an estimated 100,000 people per year to move further out to the suburbs.

MetaProp and Enterprise did not disclose any startups that may be in line for the funding, but said it will be determined over coming months.

Enterprise, which was founded over 30 years ago, has previously built 470,000 homes and invested $28.9 billion in related causes.

Since launching in 2015, MetaProp has raised $45 million and has a portfolio of around 30 companies. One of these startups, tech-focused appraisal firm Bowery Valuation, last week raised $12 million in a series A funding round.

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