Developers Big Winners in Lending Battle
First, the bad news. A wave of increasing construction costs is hitting Australia’s property development sector.
Now, the good news.
According to Barwon Investment Partners head of property finance Jonathon Pullin: “It has probably never been a better time to be a developer or property owner wanting to take on debt”.
Record low cash rates are prevailing and there are large amounts of capital available out in the market both on the debt side and also coming through on the equity side.
“The major bank lenders in Australia that have had a rough time of it over the last five or six years, they’re coming out the back of the Royal Commission, they’re coming into a bit more certainty through the Covid journey,” he said.
“And what we’re seeing across the country and in all sectors, they’re starting to become a little more front-footed in terms of wanting to get back into the market and claw back some of that market share that they lost to the larger non-bank lenders.
Pullin said the major banks had started to loosen some of their traditional covenants to win back business.
“Going back three years, across the market it was a 100 per cent pre-sales requirement for any residential project but you’ll see that’s now more a conversation around 80 per cent coverage and even in some cases lower than that,” he said.
“Funding limits also are increasing. At its worst, only a few years ago, the major banks were typically stopping at 65 per cent, maybe 70 per cent, of total development cost… we’re now seeing it coming up to 75 per cent of total development cost, sometimes 80 per cent.”