Property Development Finance - What's Best For You?
Last updated 05/09/2019
To succeed in property, you’ll need to raise a lot of money.
But if you’re new to property development, you might be worried about how you’re going to get the property development finance necessary to get your first developments off the ground.
When it comes to all the property development finance information you need, from bridging loans to joint venture funding, we hope our guide will help you decide which option is best for you and your project.
Using a bridging loan for property development offers a short term package for securing a loan quickly.
For example, if you’re on the lookout for great new properties to buy, but you’re still waiting for one of your current properties to sell, you could use this type of loan to ‘bridge the gap’ between purchase and sale, so you don’t have to burn a hole in your pocket or see your dream property in another developer’s hands.
Your bridging lender will ask to see proof to ensure that this loan will actually be used for the short term as it’s meant to be, and you’ll have to sell or refinance your property in the very near future.
Bridging loans for property development are a useful financing strategy when high street lenders and banks might be more cautious to lend other types of mortgages.
But you’ll have to remember that this type of loan is secured against your property - which makes it even more necessary to repay in time, otherwise you’ll lose your property.
You can also pay steeply for this type of property development loan, as the interest rates are higher than for other types of mortgages.
Development loans have the interest paid up front or ‘rolled up.’
The main consideration for this type of property development loan is that you’ll need to have planning permission in place already or agree on the deal subject to securing planning permission.
You’ll also have to have a good base of assets to offer as security and make sure that it’s a financially feasible project.
The feasibility of your project will be decided based on the estimated time that it will take to finish your development, a breakdown of the costs that will be involved and a good end value estimate.
Once this is sorted, you’ll typically be able to borrow about 50%-60% of the purchase price depending on the scale of your project.
Again you’ll need to be able to either sell your property/ies or be able to refinance them.
These loans are typically an option for more experienced developers, but don’t get discouraged.
If you yourself don’t have much hands-on expertise, you may be able to secure one of these property development loans based on the expertise and track record of the people that you take on, e.g your builders, architects, etc.
If you want to pursue this financing option in that instance, you’d probably want to find a highly experienced property development finance broker who has access to a wide variety of lenders from various different backgrounds - lenders who are equally happy to invest in any different type of property project regardless of the size or scale.
Buy to let
A buy to let mortgage is the type of property development mortgage specifically designed to allow developers to purchase a property to then rent it out.
If you want to benefit from this type of loan you’ll need to have a good credit score and earn more than £20,000 per annum.
These are known for being pricey enterprises - with higher fees and higher interest rates.
You only have to pay the interest on your loan on a monthly basis, but you’ll still have to pay the full original loan cost at the end of your mortgage term.
The minimum deposit for a buy to let can be anywhere from 20-40% of the property price, but is usually 25%.
The amount you can borrow will be dependent on the amount of rental income you can make on the property and its value.
You can have a buy to let mortgage on a repayment basis, this then offers the protection of knowing the debt will be repaid at the end of the term. The monthly payment will be higher than interest only though, as you are repaying the capital debt as well as servicing the interest.
The deposit would be the same as an interest only mortgage and your borrowing capacity will be calculated in the same way.
Commercial term mortgages will usually grant you between 60-75% of what the property is worth.
Like with buy to let properties, the amount that you’ll be able to borrow will be dictated by the amount of rental income that you expect to make off your property.
Using a commercial term mortgage might mean that it’s harder for you to find fixed rates, and these mortgages usually have higher interest rates than general residential mortgages, as these types of investments are seen as risky by the banks.
The interest that your mortgage racks up will, however, be tax deductible.
Like with development loans, lenders like to see that you’ve got some property development experience, so if you’re a relatively recent trader they’re likely to want to see personal guarantees.
Residential Land Development Loans
Residential land development loans are a subset of development loans which can be used to fund the construction of a residential scheme.
The loan is offered as a short term option on an interest only basis, with the construction funds released in stages.
You’ll need to prove you have a solid exit strategy in advance, which would usually include either the sale of your development or a remortgage.
You’ll usually be offered between 70-75% of the funds you need to acquire your site, as well as 100% of the staged development funds. Once your loan term ends, the lender will expect you to pay up the debt in full.
It’s likely that your lender will carry out an inspection of your development site before they release your funds, in order to ensure that the project is on track, and they’ll charge a fee every time they do so.
Providers often carry out a site inspection before each instalment is issued to make sure the project is on track, and will charge a fee each time they attend the development.
You can use mezzanine finance for property development as a type of ‘top up loan’ to top up the gap between the developer’s affordable deposit and the loan from the senior debt lender.
It’s a hybrid of debt and equity financing.
It’s a type of property development loan where your debt becomes an equity share once the time frame you’ve predetermined with your lender has passed.
So if you can’t pay back your funding, they’ll get a share of the equity or your profits instead, on top of your interest payments - effectively equity acts as the lender’s protection instead of any other assets.
Mezzanine finance is a very complex option for a property development loan, with the specifics varying between developers.
It’s a flexible funding option that’s great for getting long term projects off the ground, but be warned - it’s known for being a very expensive method of finance.
Ok, we’ll cut to the chase and admit that we’re a little bit biased.
JV funding is certainly our favourite form of finance - but that’s because our business has proven time and time again that it’s a strategy that works!
It’s a method of financing where 2 or more parties pool their resources in order to fund a project to completion.
There are plenty of joint venture partnership options from individuals to big companies, each with their own specialisms - but they can be tricky for the general public to track down.
It might be best to liaise with them through a specialist property finance broker - or even just a deep dive into google!
Because of the wide range of options, not all joint venture financing systems have the same requirements, so full disclosure, we’re going to be using ourselves as an example.
We take on schemes with:
- Full planning permission
- Prior approval
- Permitted development
- Same use class consents
With our target GDV’s (Gross Development Value) ranging from £750K to £50M depending on your track record. We’re looking for a minimum margin of about 20% on the GDV pre finance.
As firm believers in growing organically, we require your proposed scheme to be justified by your experience in the market.
In terms of exit, we’ll want you to build either to sell or rent.
If we approve you, great things await!
Please note, this blog post is not to be considered as investment advice. We recommend you seek independent financial advice and conduct your own due diligence before making any investment.