Crowdsourcing for kinder, gentler property investment?

The Web platform Sunrise relies on crowdsourcing to pull in local investors for local real estate projects, ostensibly allowing for the creation of more community-focused structures than nameless, faceless and distant private equity fund can muster.

In the process, individual investors win a guaranteed return.

For one recent D.C. project, for example, investors anticiate receiving about a 7 per cent annual dividend stemming from rental income -- that's in addition to a share of the building's price appreciation.

The model is not unlike the REITs Canadian investors are increasingly clamouring to add to their own portfolios, although an exact duplicate of Sunrise hasn't yet sprung up on this side of the border.

If or when it does, say analysts, it should afford investors to help put their money where their mouths and, indeed, they themselves live.

It also lowers the bar on the type of high-net worth investors private equity firms are usually limited to.

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