Juan A Balcázar, The CEO of Spanish proptech startup Housers, has today released a Youtube video in which he calls out the journalistic branch of top Spanish property portal Idealista and admits that there has been bad blood between the two companies since an argument between the founders a few years ago.
On the 29th of June Idealista News published an article on property crowdlending platform Housers in which it interviewed investors who have yet to receive their money back from certain projects funded on the platform. The article interviewed a lawyer who has been taken on by a group of investors to pursue a case against Housers as well as two anonymous investors and one named investor. The main investor complaints center around being left in the dark about certain projects and claims that there was a general lack of transparency from Housers around specifically where their invested money was going.
The article was originally published with a headline which claimed that there were 30,000 ‘trapped investors’. In his rebuttal, Balcázar claims that Housers does not yet even have 20,000 investors in total on the platform and that Idealista News simply invented the figure without fact-checking. This in spite of his willingness to give an interview and information to substantiate any figures. Among several other complaints about the Idealista article, Balcázar cites a quote from the lawyer which he says eschews a presumption of innocence and accuses Housers of misappropriating funds.
In the video, Balcázar also all but accuses Idealista of hypocrisy citing a tweet from one of the portal’s founders in February which decried as ‘fake-news’ media articles related to accusations that Idealista had engaged in price-fixing with certain customers.
Perhaps one of the most keenly felt complaints in the video however is that Housers has consistently received negative press from Idealista since its inception in 2015. In his video missive, the Housers CEO points to the fact that since the onset of the pandemic the platform has returned almost €5 million to investors as an example of good news not covered.
Housers has been at the forefront of the property crowdlending scene in Europe for many years and recently announced that thanks to a third party partnership it would become the first lending platform to be able to offer investment projects with mortgage guarantees in Spain. Housers has also launched a number of investment projects in Portugal and Italy and plans to expand the mortgage guarantee projects to these countries as well. The Idealista article seems to have been very keenly felt by a company that relies, to a certain extent, on maintaining a trustworthy image among its investors.
The dispute between Housers and Idealista seems set to rumble on as Balcázar mentions in the video that he will be referring the article to the Press Association of Madrid.
Disclaimer: The author of this article has money invested through the Housers platform and is also on record as being a fan of Idealista and of having found several apartments on its portal. OnlineMarketplaces.com takes no side in this dispute.