Property development finance

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Property development finance

Property development finance plays a critical role in the real estate industry, providing the much-needed funds to transform a parcel of land or an existing structure into a value-added asset. Whether it’s residential, commercial, or mixed-use developments, a well-structured financial plan is key to the success of any property development project.

Property development finance is a short-term loan that’s specifically designed to cover the costs of developing a property, from ground-up construction to heavy refurbishment works. It typically involves staged drawdowns where funds are released in accordance with the project’s progress. This type of finance is invaluable for property developers as it facilitates quick access to funds, enabling them to start their projects promptly and progress without the hindrance of financial shortfalls.

Whether you’re a seasoned developer or just starting in the industry, understanding property development finance is essential. It can be the difference between a successful project that’s delivered on time and within budget and a project that struggles to get off the ground. This discussion will delve into all aspects of property development finance – from how to apply, what lenders look for, the costs involved, and much more.

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What is property development finance?

Property development finance is a short-term loan for residential, commercial, or mixed-use development projects. These loans are typically used by property developers or investors to cover the cost of building or renovating properties, which are then sold for a profit or refinanced to a longer-term loan product.

The amount of finance provided is generally based on a percentage of the projected Gross Development Value (GDV) of the project – typically between 60% and 70%. However, the actual percentage can vary based on the specifics of the project and the perceived risk.

The lender will usually require detailed plans for the project, including planning permission, building regulations approval, and a clear exit strategy. This is because the loan is given on the expectation that the property will be sold or refinanced at the end of the project, providing the means to repay the loan.

The loan period for property development finance can vary but is generally between 6 and 18 months, depending on the scale and complexity of the project.

How does property development finance work?

Property development finance is a form of short-term lending designed to fund the costs of development projects, whether they are new constructions, renovations, or conversions. Here is a basic step-by-step outline of how it works:

Initial application: The developer or property investor will initially apply to a lender (often a bank or a specialist property development finance firm). The application will need to contain detailed plans for the project, such as planning permissions, projected costs, an estimated timeline, and an exit strategy (often the sale of the developed property or refinance to a longer-term loan).

Assessment and valuation: The lender will assess the viability of the project, looking at factors such as the location, potential market value, cost estimates, and the developer’s experience. A professional valuation of the site and the potential Gross Development Value (GDV) – the estimated value of the project once completed – will be carried out.

Agreement of terms: If the lender is happy with the project’s feasibility and the developer’s ability to complete it, they will propose the loan terms. These terms will include the amount to be lent (usually a percentage of the costs or the GDV), the loan duration, the interest rate, and how the loan will be drawn down.

Funds release: Upon agreement of terms, the loan will be structured in a way that funds are released in stages, often coinciding with various phases of the project. It’s common for the initial loan to cover the purchase of the land or existing property, with subsequent drawdowns made as construction progresses and certain milestones are reached. Each drawdown is usually subject to a site visit or survey to confirm progress.

Interest payments: The interest on the loan is typically rolled up and repaid at the end of the term, although some lenders might require monthly interest payments. Rolled-up interest means that interest is calculated throughout the loan term but is not payable until the end of the loan. This can be beneficial to developers as it allows them to focus their finances on the project rather than servicing the loan.

Loan repayment: The loan is usually repaid either by selling the developed property or refinancing it onto a longer-term mortgage product. This should happen within the loan term agreed with the lender.

How much can I borrow?

The amount you can borrow with property development finance will depend on several factors, including the lender, the type of project, the cost of the project, and the projected Gross Development Value (GDV), which is the estimated value of the project upon completion.

In general, property development lenders typically offer loans that cover a certain percentage of the total project costs or the GDV. This is often around 60% to 70% of the GDV, but it can go up to 75% or even 80% in some cases. This means that you will typically need to contribute a substantial portion of the project costs yourself, either through your own funds or other sources of financing.

However, the exact amount you can borrow will depend on a detailed appraisal of the project and your financial situation. Lenders will look at factors like the feasibility of the project, your experience with similar projects, the local property market, and your financial standing, including your credit history and any existing debts.


What are the key advantages and disadvantages of property development finance?

Property development finance has several key advantages and disadvantages that need to be carefully considered before proceeding with this type of funding.

Advantages of property development finance:

Project funding: It provides a means to fund large-scale construction projects that might be beyond a developer’s immediate financial capacity.

Profit potential: Given that these loans are designed for property development, the potential for high profits upon project completion can be significant.

Flexible terms: The loan terms can be flexible, and lending is typically structured in stages to support the project’s development.

Interest payment options: Interest can often be ‘rolled up’ and paid at the end of the loan term rather than monthly, improving cash flow during the project.

Potential for 100% Finance: In some cases, with additional security, some lenders may offer up to 100% of the project costs.

Disadvantages of property development finance:

High risk: Property development can be risky due to factors such as market fluctuations, planning issues, or construction delays, which can impact the project’s profitability and, in turn, loan repayments.

High-interest rates: The interest rates for property development finance are typically higher than those for standard mortgages due to the higher risk associated with development projects.

Strict criteria: Lenders typically have strict criteria regarding experience, project viability, and exit strategy. They also require thorough project details, including costings and timelines.
Limited Time Frame: The loans are short-term, usually between 6 to 18 months, which might not be sufficient for larger or more complex projects.

Exit strategy dependence: A clear exit strategy is required, such as a sale or refinance, and failure to achieve this can lead to significant financial implications, including the potential loss of the property.

Understanding these factors can help determine whether property development finance is the right choice for a particular project or not. It’s crucial to plan carefully, taking into account all potential risks and rewards, and seek professional advice if necessary.

The funds release process explained

The process of releasing funds for a property development finance loan is typically staged, aligning with the various phases of the construction project. This process is sometimes referred to as “drawdowns”. Here is a step-by-step outline of the typical process:

Initial drawdown: Once the loan is approved and all legal processes are complete, the first drawdown usually occurs. This first portion is often used to acquire land or property if it hasn’t been purchased already. It can also cover initial costs such as site preparation and the start of construction.

Further drawdowns: As the project progresses, additional funds will be released. The release of these funds usually coincides with the completion of predetermined stages in the construction process. For example, there may be drawdowns after the completion of the foundation, the building shell, the roof, or the installation of windows and doors. The exact stages and the amount released at each stage will be detailed in the loan agreement.

Inspections: Each stage of drawdown is typically subject to an inspection or site visit by a representative of the lender or a surveyor. The purpose of the inspection is to verify that the project is progressing as planned and that the previous drawdown has been used appropriately. If the project is not progressing as agreed, this could delay the release of further funds.

Final drawdown: The final drawdown often occurs upon completion of the project once all work has been inspected and signed off.

Please note that the specific stages and requirements may vary depending on the lender’s policies and the terms of the loan agreement.

One important thing to note is that interest is usually charged on the loan amount that has been drawn down, not on the total loan facility agreed. This means you won’t be paying interest on funds that you haven’t yet received, which can be beneficial for managing the project’s costs.

How long does it take?

The time taken to secure property development finance can vary significantly based on a number of factors, including the complexity of the project, the lender’s processes, and how promptly the borrower can provide the required documentation.

On average, it can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months. Here’s a rough timeline:

Initial application: This step includes gathering all the required documents and submitting them to the lender. This can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, depending on how readily available your documents are.

Assessment and Approval: The lender will then need to assess the application. This process, which includes property valuations and sometimes site visits, can take a few weeks.

Legal process: Once the application is approved, the legal process begins. Solicitors will handle this process, which includes conducting searches, finalising loan agreements, and setting up the charge on the property. This part of the process is often what takes the longest, potentially lasting several weeks or even a few months.

Fund release: Once all legal work is completed and all contracts are signed, the first tranche of the loan can usually be released within a few days.

So, in summary, you could potentially receive funds within a month if your project is straightforward and all documentation is ready. However, it’s often safer to plan for a process that might last 2-3 months, particularly for more complex projects.

As always, these timelines can vary from lender to lender, so it’s important to discuss timescales with your potential lender at the earliest opportunity.

When should I apply?

Ideally, you should start the application process for property development finance as early as possible to allow enough time for your application to be assessed and approved. Below are a few key points to consider:

Before you need the funds: Start the process well in advance of when you actually need the funds. As mentioned before, the approval process for property development finance can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months.

Once you have a clear project plan: You should have a clear project plan, including costings and timelines, before applying. Lenders will want to see detailed plans, including planning permissions, architectural drawings, construction schedules, and a clear exit strategy.

After securing planning permission: If the project requires planning permission, it’s beneficial to have this secured before applying, as it will enhance the credibility of your project and increase your chances of approval.

Before finalising any purchase agreement: If you’re purchasing a site or property, it’s recommended to get your finance approved before finalising the purchase agreement. This way, you’ll know the amount you can borrow and ensure that the purchase is contingent on obtaining finance.

Do I have to pay the interest during the loan term?

The method of interest payment for property development finance loans can vary depending on the lender’s policies and the specific terms of the loan agreement.

Typically, there are two main ways in which interest payments can be structured:

Rolled-up interest: With this structure, interest accumulates throughout the loan term but is not payable until the end of the term. This means you won’t have to make monthly interest payments during the construction period, which can help with cash flow management for the project. However, the total interest payable will be higher with this method, as the interest is compounded over the loan term.

Monthly interest payments: Some lenders may require monthly interest payments. In this case, you’ll need to budget for these payments as part of your ongoing project costs. The advantage of this method is that the total interest payable at the end of the loan term may be lower, as interest does not accumulate in the same way.

In some cases, a combination of both methods might be used, where interest is rolled up for a portion of the loan term, and then monthly payments are required.

Remember, it’s important to understand how interest payments will be structured before agreeing to the loan. Make sure you’re comfortable with the payment schedule and that it fits within your project budget and cash flow.

An example of property development finance in practice

Let’s consider a hypothetical example to illustrate how property development finance might work in practice.


Let’s say a property developer wants to purchase a plot of land for £500,000 in order to build four residential homes. After conducting thorough research and getting professional advice, the developer estimates that the total cost of the development (including the land purchase, construction, and other associated costs) will be £1,200,000. The developer also projects that the sale of the completed homes will generate £2,000,000.

The developer doesn’t have sufficient funds to cover the entire cost of the project, so they decide to apply for property development finance.

Application & approval:

The developer approaches a lender and provides all the necessary details and documents about the project, including planning permissions, project timeline, cost breakdown, and the projected sale price of the homes (the Gross Development Value – GDV).

The lender reviews the application and agrees to provide a loan at 70% of the total project cost, which comes to £840,000.

Fund disbursement:

The funds are disbursed in stages according to the project’s progression. The initial drawdown might cover the purchase of the land, and subsequent drawdowns could align with stages such as the completion of foundations, the shell, and the final fixtures and fittings.

Interest payments:

In this example, let’s assume the lender has agreed to roll up the interest, meaning it will be accrued over the loan term but will only need to be repaid when the loan term ends.

Project completion & loan repayment:

The development is completed within 18 months, and the homes are sold for the expected £2,000,000. The developer repays the loan amount of £840,000 plus the accrued interest. The remaining balance after loan repayment and other costs (like marketing and sales expenses) is the developer’s profit.

Please note that this is a simplified example, and actual scenarios can be much more complex, considering variables like unexpected construction issues, market fluctuations, sales delays, and among others. Also, interest rates, the loan to cost ratios, and other terms can greatly vary between lenders. Therefore, thorough planning and getting professional financial advice is always recommended.

Private property development finance

Private property development finance refers to financing sourced from private lenders as opposed to traditional banks. These private lenders can be individuals, groups of investors, or private companies that provide loans for property development. The structure and process of private property development finance can be similar to traditional lenders but may offer some additional benefits or risks.

Benefits of private property development finance:

Speed: Private lenders often can move faster than traditional banks, meaning you might be able to secure finance more quickly.

Flexibility: Private lenders can sometimes offer more flexible terms, including tailored repayment schedules and bespoke loan structures, depending on the specifics of your project.

Greater risk appetite: Private lenders may be willing to finance projects that are seen as too risky by traditional banks. For instance, they might fund a larger part of the project cost or back a developer with less experience.

Bespoke service: You might find you get a more personalised service with a private lender, with direct access to decision-makers helping to streamline the process.

Potential downsides of private property development finance:

Higher costs: Private lenders often charge higher interest rates and fees compared to traditional banks, given the increased risks they are willing to take.

Less regulation: Private lenders are not always regulated to the same degree as banks, which can potentially increase the risk to borrowers.

Variable lending criteria: Private lenders may have more variable lending criteria. While this can sometimes work in a borrower’s favour, it can also make it harder to compare loans and ensure you’re getting the best deal.

As with any type of finance, it’s important to thoroughly research your options, understand all terms and conditions, and seek professional advice if needed. Also, ensure any lender you consider is reputable and has a proven track record in property development finance.

First-time property development finance

Obtaining property development finance as a first-time developer can be challenging, but it’s not impossible. Lenders typically look for proven track records and experience in property development, as this can help to mitigate their risk. However, there are options for first-time developers. Here are some key points to consider:

Business plan and project viability: As a first-time developer, it’s crucial to present a comprehensive business plan that demonstrates a clear understanding of the project, market conditions, realistic costings, potential returns, and a well-defined exit strategy. The viability of the project is one of the most important factors that lenders will consider.

Experience and expertise: While you might not have direct property development experience, relevant expertise in related fields, such as architecture, surveying, or project management, can be beneficial. Partnering with experienced professionals or hiring an experienced team can also strengthen your proposal.

Securing a profitable deal: If the project is highly profitable, it might offset some of the perceived risks associated with lending to a first-time developer. Strong potential returns can make the project more attractive to lenders.

Additional security: Offering additional security, such as personal guarantees or additional property as collateral, can help to mitigate the lender’s risk.

Personal investment: Demonstrating that you have a significant amount of your own funds invested in the project can help convince lenders that you’re committed and have a stake in the project’s success.

Professional advice: Engaging a professional broker or financial advisor who specialises in property development finance can increase your chances of securing finance. They can guide you through the process, help you present your project effectively, and introduce you to suitable lenders.

Building development loans

Building development loans, also known as property development finance or construction loans, are a type of finance specifically designed to fund the costs of a building project. These loans are usually used for large-scale projects such as the development of housing estates, apartment blocks, commercial properties, or substantial renovations.

Here’s a brief overview of how building development loans typically work:

Application & approval: The borrower submits an application to the lender, providing detailed information about the project, including costs, timelines, planning permissions, and expected profits. The lender assesses the viability of the project, the borrower’s experience, and their ability to repay the loan.

Loan amount: The amount of loan provided is usually a percentage of the total development costs or the Gross Development Value (GDV – the estimated value of the project once completed), typically ranging from 60% to 70%. The exact amount will depend on the lender’s policies and the specifics of the project.

Fund disbursement: The loan funds are generally released in stages, aligning with the project’s progress. Each stage may need to be verified by a surveyor or the lender’s representative before the next tranche of funds is released.

Interest & repayments: Interest on the loan is usually rolled up and paid at the end of the term, or it can be serviced monthly. The loan is usually repaid in full once the development is completed and the properties are sold or refinance is arranged.

Loan term: The term for building development loans is typically short, generally ranging from a few months to a couple of years, depending on the project’s scale and complexity.

It’s important to remember that property development involves significant risk, and securing a building development loan requires thorough preparation, including a robust business plan, accurate cost estimates, and a clear exit strategy. Furthermore, the terms and conditions of building development loans can vary significantly between lenders, so it’s recommended to seek professional advice or consult a broker to explore the best options.

How do property developers raise finance?

Property developers typically use a combination of funding sources to finance their projects. Here are several methods commonly used:

Property development finance: As we already discussed, lenders provide funds in stages aligned with the project’s progress, and the loan is usually repaid once the development is sold or refinanced.

Private investors or joint ventures: Developers can partner with private investors or other developers to share the project’s cost and risk. This could involve creating a joint venture where both parties contribute funds and share profits.

Angel investors or venture capitalists: Some developers may seek funding from angel investors or venture capitalists interested in real estate development. These investors typically seek high return potential and may want equity in the project.

Crowdfunding: Crowdfunding platforms enable multiple investors to contribute smaller amounts towards a project. This is a newer form of financing and is becoming increasingly popular in property development.

Personal savings: Developers often use their own savings, especially for smaller projects or to cover initial costs such as planning permission applications or professional fees.

Bridging loans: These are short-term loans that can provide quick access to funds. They are often used to bridge gaps in financing, such as buying a property before a development loan is approved.

Mezzanine loans: These are secondary loans used to supplement primary development finance. They are typically used when the primary loan does not cover all the required funds, but they come with higher interest rates and sometimes involve giving the lender a share of the project’s equity.

Sale of assets: Some developers might finance their projects by selling other assets, such as properties from previous developments.

Government grants or schemes: In some cases, government grants or schemes might be available to help fund property development, particularly for projects that meet certain criteria like affordable housing or sustainable building practices.

Each funding source has its pros and cons, and the best option can depend on various factors, including the project size and scope, the developer’s experience and financial situation, market conditions, and the risk appetite of potential lenders or investors. It’s often advisable to seek professional financial advice when planning the financing for a property development project.

How do I get started in property development?

Starting a career in property development can be a rewarding but challenging venture. Here are some steps to help you get started:

Education and research: Begin by gaining a thorough understanding of the property market and the property development process. This could involve formal education, such as a degree or courses in real estate, business, or finance, or self-study through books, online resources, seminars, and industry events.

Gain experience: Experience in the property industry, such as working in real estate, construction, architecture, or planning, can be highly beneficial. This can provide practical knowledge and help you establish valuable industry contacts.

Build a network: Establish relationships with key professionals you’ll need to work with, including real estate agents, architects, builders, solicitors, and financial advisors. Networking events and industry associations can be good places to meet these professionals.

Develop a business plan: Identify what type of property development you want to pursue, such as residential, commercial, renovations, or new builds. Analyse the market to identify opportunities and develop a detailed business plan outlining your strategy, timeline, budget, and projected returns.

Secure financing: Evaluate how you will finance your projects. This could involve savings, loans, investors, or a combination of these. If you’re planning to apply for property development finance, prepare a robust application including a detailed project plan, financial projections, and evidence of your competence to execute the plan.

Find the right property: Look for properties that fit your business plan and have good development potential. This could involve factors like location, purchase price, renovation or construction potential, and potential resale value.

Assemble your team: Depending on the size and nature of the project, you may need to hire professionals such as architects, builders, surveyors, and solicitors. Make sure you have a competent and reliable team in place before starting the project.

Manage the project: Oversee the project carefully to ensure it stays on schedule and within budget. This involves coordinating with your team, troubleshooting issues, and making necessary decisions.

Exit strategy: Have a clear exit strategy, whether that’s selling the property, leasing it, or refinancing.

Property development involves significant risk, and it’s not a quick way to make money. Projects can take months or years to complete, and there are many variables that can impact profitability. It’s crucial to do your due diligence, plan carefully, and be prepared for unexpected challenges. Professional advice can be invaluable, especially when you’re just starting out.

What are the different types of property development finance?

There are several different types of property development finance, each designed to suit different types of projects and stages of development:

Land Purchase Loans: These loans are used to purchase land for development. They are typically short-term loans, with the expectation that construction will commence shortly after purchase.

Development Loans: These are loans designed specifically for financing the construction or substantial renovation of properties. They are usually provided in staged payments throughout the development.

Bridge Loans/Bridging Finance: These are short-term loans used to ‘bridge’ a gap in financing. They can be useful for purchasing property quickly, before long-term finance is in place, or for resolving cash flow issues during a development project.

Mezzanine Loans: These are supplementary loans used when the primary development loan does not cover all of the required funds. They are subordinate to the main loan and typically come with higher interest rates due to the increased risk to the lender.

Refurbishment Loans: These loans are designed for light to medium refurbishment projects where the property doesn’t require structural changes.

Commercial development loans: These are loans for the development of commercial properties such as offices, retail units, or industrial buildings.

Residential development loans: These are loans for the development of residential properties, whether single-family homes, multi-unit housing, or apartment buildings.

Joint venture (JV) finance: This is when a developer partners with a financial backer (an individual, a group of investors, or a company) to share the costs and profits of a development project.

Auction finance: This is a type of short-term loan designed to help people buy properties at auction. Because auction purchases often require quick payment (usually within 28 days), auction finance can provide the necessary funds faster than traditional mortgages.

Second charge loans: These are loans where the borrower’s property is used as security, and it is already secured against a primary (first charge) mortgage. They can be used to raise additional funds, but they generally come with higher interest rates due to the increased risk to the lender.

Light refurbishment loans: These loans are designed for minor refurbishments that don’t require planning permission or major structural changes. This might include cosmetic updates like redecorating, replacing kitchens or bathrooms, or upgrading fixtures and fittings.

Heavy refurbishment or renovation loans: These loans are for more substantial renovations that involve structural changes, extensions, or conversions. They require more planning and regulatory approval, and they typically involve higher costs and risks than light refurbishment loans.

Ground-up development finance: This is a type of development finance specifically for new build projects, starting from the acquisition of land through to the construction of the property. It’s typically a short to medium-term loan, and the funds are usually released in stages as the project progresses.

Each type of finance is designed to suit different types of property projects and situations, and the best option will depend on various factors, including the nature of the project, the borrower’s financial situation, their experience, and the level of risk involved. It’s often advisable to seek professional advice when choosing a type of property development finance.

I’m looking to buy properties and improve them before selling. Can I get property development finance?

Yes, property development finance can certainly be used for buying properties, making improvements, and then selling them, a strategy often referred to as “fix and flip”. This process typically falls under the category of refurbishment, and depending on the extent of improvements or renovations needed, there are different types of loans that could apply:

Light refurbishment loans: These are suitable for properties that require minor updates such as cosmetic enhancements, kitchen or bathroom upgrades, or other non-structural work. These projects typically don’t require planning permission.

Heavy refurbishment loans: If your property requires more extensive renovations, such as structural changes, extensions, or full property overhauls, you might need a heavy refurbishment loan. These projects usually require planning permission and potentially other regulatory approvals.

Bridging loans: If you need quick access to funds, perhaps to secure a property deal, a bridging loan can provide short-term financing. These loans can also be suitable for refurbishment projects, and then you’d typically repay the loan by selling the property or refinancing with a longer-term mortgage.

When applying for property development finance, you’ll generally need to provide a detailed project plan, including the purchase price of the property, the cost of renovations, the timeline for the work, the expected sale price, and an exit strategy for repaying the loan. The lender will also consider factors like your experience with similar projects, your financial situation, and the viability of the project.

How do property development loans differ from bridging loans?

Property development loans and bridging loans are both types of short-term financing used in the real estate industry, but they serve different purposes and are structured differently:

Property development loans: These loans are specifically designed for large-scale property development projects, such as constructing new buildings or making substantial renovations to existing properties. The funds from a development loan are typically released in stages as the project progresses. The amount you can borrow is often linked to the Gross Development Value (GDV), which is the estimated value of the project once completed. The loan term typically ranges from 6 to 24 months, depending on the scale and complexity of the project.

Bridging loans: Bridging loans are designed to ‘bridge’ a short-term gap in funding. They’re often used to secure a property quickly when long-term finance isn’t immediately available or to cover a temporary cash shortfall. The full amount of a bridging loan is usually released as a lump sum at the start of the loan period. The loan term for a bridging loan is typically much shorter than for a development loan, often ranging from a few weeks to 18 months.

While both types of loans can be used in property development, the key differences come down to the scale and complexity of the project, the disbursement structure, and the term of the loan. The choice between a development loan and a bridging loan will depend on the specifics of your project, your financing needs, and the timeline of the project.

How is the maximum loan calculated?

The maximum loan amount for property development finance is typically calculated based on a percentage of either the total costs of the development project or the projected Gross Development Value (GDV). The GDV represents the estimated value of the property or properties upon completion of the development.

The exact percentage can vary between lenders and the specifics of the project, but it often ranges from 60% to 75% of the GDV. Some lenders may go higher, especially if the borrower has a strong track record in property development.

Here’s a simplified example: If you’re planning a development with total costs of £1,000,000 and an estimated GDV of £1,500,000, and a lender offers you 70% of the GDV, then the maximum loan would be £1,050,000.

It’s important to note that while this calculation gives a general idea of the maximum loan amount, the actual amount a lender is willing to provide will also depend on other factors such as:

  1. The feasibility of the project
  2. Your experience and track record in property development
  3. The location and state of the local property market
  4. Your credit history and financial situation
  5. Your exit strategy (i.e., how you plan to repay the loan)

Costs of property development finance

The costs associated with property development finance can vary greatly depending on the specifics of the loan and the project, but there are several common types of costs that you may encounter:

Interest: This is the cost of borrowing the money, typically expressed as an annual percentage rate. Interest rates for property development loans can be higher than those for standard mortgages due to the increased risk associated with development projects.

Arrangement fee: This is a fee charged by the lender for setting up the loan. It’s often a percentage of the total loan amount and is typically added to the loan or paid upfront.

Exit fee: Some lenders charge an exit fee when the loan is repaid. Like the arrangement fee, it’s usually a percentage of the loan or the gross development value (GDV).

Valuation fee: A valuation will be required to determine the current value of the property and the projected GDV. The cost of this valuation will generally be your responsibility.

Legal fees: Both you and the lender will likely have legal fees associated with setting up the loan. Again, these fees are usually your responsibility.

Broker fees: If you use a broker to help arrange the loan, they will typically charge a fee for their services.

Early repayment charges: If you repay the loan before the agreed term, you may have to pay an early repayment charge.

Monitoring surveyor fees: For some development loans, especially larger ones, a monitoring surveyor may be appointed to oversee the release of funds at different stages of the project. You would typically be responsible for these fees.

Keep in mind that every lender will have their own fee structure and pricing, so it’s important to fully understand all the costs before agreeing to a loan. It’s often beneficial to seek advice from a financial advisor or broker to ensure you’re getting a loan that fits your needs and budget.

Can you get 100% development finance?

In general, it’s uncommon to receive 100% property development finance from most traditional lenders, as these loans carry a higher risk. Typically, lenders offer a certain percentage of the project costs or the Gross Development Value (GDV), usually around 60% to 75%, though it can go up to 80% or more in some cases.

This means that property developers are usually expected to contribute a significant portion of the costs themselves, which can include not only the purchase of the land or property, but also the construction or refurbishment costs.

However, in some circumstances, it may be possible to obtain 100% development finance. This is often achieved through a combination of a first charge development loan and additional forms of security or finance, such as:

  • A second charge on another property with significant equity.
  • Joint venture partnerships where another party contributes additional funds in exchange for a share in the project profits.
  • Mezzanine finance, a type of loan that sits between senior debt and equity, often secured against the project’s future profits.

Securing 100% development finance is more complex and can be riskier, as it can involve multiple lenders and potentially higher costs. The ability to secure this type of finance often depends on factors such as the viability of the project, the track record and experience of the developer, the robustness of the exit strategy, and the overall risk profile of the deal.

As such, anyone considering 100% development finance should seek professional advice to understand the implications and potential risks. It’s also worth noting that during uncertain economic times, lenders may be more conservative in their lending, making it more difficult to secure 100% financing.

Who offers property development finance?

Property development finance is offered by a variety of financial institutions. Here are some of the common types:

Banks: Many traditional high street banks offer property development loans, especially for larger, more established property developers. They typically have rigorous lending criteria and may require a solid track record of successful developments.

Specialist property development lenders: These are financial institutions that focus specifically on property development finance. They often have a more flexible approach and may be willing to lend to smaller or less established developers. However, their interest rates may be higher than traditional banks.

Peer-to-peer lenders: These platforms connect developers with investors who are willing to fund property development projects. Peer-to-peer lending can be more flexible and faster than traditional forms of lending, but the costs and terms can vary widely.

Building societies: Some building societies provide property development loans. Like banks, they may have stringent lending criteria and prefer to lend to developers with a good track record.

Bridging loan companies: These are short-term lenders who can provide property development finance, often in the form of bridging loans. This type of financing is typically used for short-term projects or to ‘bridge’ a gap in funding.

Private Investors and venture capitalists: Some private individuals or groups may be willing to provide development finance, particularly for high-potential projects. This is often in exchange for a share in the profits of the development.

The right lender for a project depends on a variety of factors, including the size and scope of the project, the experience and creditworthiness of the developer, the expected timeframe of the project, and the specific requirements of the loan. It’s always a good idea to shop around and consider using a broker or financial advisor to help find the best option for your specific needs.

Working directly with a lender or through a broker

Both approaches – working directly with a lender or going through a broker – have their own advantages and disadvantages. The best option for you depends on your experience, your understanding of the market, and the specifics of your property development project.

Working directly with a lender:


  • You may be able to negotiate a better interest rate or other terms if you have a strong relationship with the lender or if you’re a frequent customer.
  • You might save on broker fees if you manage the process yourself.


  • It can be more time-consuming to research lenders, compare offers, and apply for loans on your own.
  • If you’re not familiar with the property development finance market, you might miss out on the best deals or make mistakes in the application process.

Working with a broker:


  • Brokers have a deep understanding of the market, so they can guide you towards lenders that are likely to be a good fit for your project.
  • They can help you prepare a compelling loan application and negotiate favourable terms on your behalf.
  • They can save you time and effort by handling much of the loan process for you.


  • Brokers charge fees for their services, which could increase the overall cost of your loan.
  • They can often negotiate better loan terms that more than make up for their fees.
  • Some brokers might be biased towards certain lenders, so it’s important to choose a reputable broker who will act in your best interests.

Development finance criteria

When applying for property development finance, lenders will assess your application based on a range of criteria to determine the risk associated with the loan. Here are some of the key criteria they often consider:

Experience and track record: Lenders prefer applicants who have previous experience in property development, as it shows that you have the skills necessary to successfully complete the project.

Project viability: You need to demonstrate that your project is viable. This involves creating detailed plans for the development, obtaining necessary planning permissions, and proving that you can manage the project effectively.

Financial stability: Lenders will examine your financial history and current financial situation. A solid credit history, evidence of stable income, and the absence of any significant outstanding debts can improve your chances of approval.

Loan security: Development loans are typically secured against the property being developed. The lender will evaluate the property’s current value and the projected Gross Development Value (GDV) to determine how much they are willing to lend.

Exit strategy: Lenders will want to know your plans for repaying the loan at the end of the term. This could involve selling the developed property, refinancing to a commercial or buy-to-let mortgage, or another viable repayment strategy.

Costings and profitability: Detailed costings for the project, including purchase cost, build costs, professional fees, contingency and finance costs, along with an assessment of the potential profitability of the project (usually through a comparison of the project costs against the GDV), are also crucial.

Each lender may have different criteria and the weight they assign to each factor can vary. This means that while you might not qualify for a loan from one lender, you might still be able to get a loan from another. It can be beneficial to work with a broker or advisor who can help you understand these criteria and improve your application.

Who can apply?

Property development finance is available to a wide range of individuals and organisations who are involved in property development. This can include:

Individuals: If you’re an individual looking to finance a self-build, refurbishment, conversion project, or small-scale property development, you may be eligible for property development finance.

Property developers and builders: Both small-scale and large-scale property developers and builders can apply for property development finance for residential, commercial, or mixed-use development projects.

Limited companies and LLPs: If you operate as a limited company or Limited Liability Partnership (LLP), you can apply for development finance for property projects.

First time developers: While it can be more challenging for first-time developers to secure property development finance due to lack of experience, it is not impossible. Lenders will likely scrutinise the viability of the project, your financial stability, and your exit strategy more closely.

Investors: Property investors looking to refurbish and flip properties, or convert properties for a change of use, can apply for development finance.

However, each lender will have their own specific criteria. Typically, lenders will look at factors such as the borrower’s experience with similar projects, the feasibility of the project, the local property market, the borrower’s financial standing, including their credit history, and their exit strategy (how they plan to repay the loan).

Does planning permission have to be in place?

Whether planning permission needs to be in place before securing property development finance largely depends on the lender and the specifics of the development project.

In many cases, lenders will require you to have planning permission in place before they agree to provide funding. This is because the absence of planning permission can significantly increase the risk associated with the project. For instance, if planning permission is subsequently refused, it could halt the project, making it difficult for the borrower to repay the loan.

That being said, some lenders may be willing to offer finance based on “subject to planning” agreements, particularly in the case of experienced developers who have a strong track record of obtaining planning permission.

For small-scale renovations or refurbishments, planning permission may not be required at all, depending on local regulations and the nature of the work being carried out.

In short, while it’s not always necessary to have planning permission before applying for property development finance, having it in place can make it easier to secure finance and can reduce the risk of project delays or cancellations. As with all aspects of property development finance, it’s advisable to seek professional advice tailored to your specific situation and project.

What types of projects are eligible for property development finance?

Property development finance can be used for a wide range of projects, big or small. Some of the typical projects that may be eligible for such funding include:

Residential developments: This can involve building new houses or flats, or converting or refurbishing existing residential properties.

Commercial developments: These might include office buildings, retail properties, warehouses, or industrial units.

Mixed-use developments: These projects combine residential and commercial elements, such as a block of flats with retail space on the ground floor.

Land purchase and development: You can use development finance to purchase a plot of land and fund the construction of properties on that land.

Conversion projects: These involve converting a building for a different use, such as turning a commercial building into residential flats or vice versa.

Property refurbishments: If a property is in need of significant upgrades or renovations, development finance can be used to fund this work.

Self-build projects: Individuals who are building their own home can use development finance to fund the construction.

Large-scale developments: For major projects involving multiple properties or large-scale construction work, development finance can provide the necessary funding.

Can you arrange funding for people with adverse credit?

Yes, it’s possible to arrange property development finance for people with adverse credit, although it may be more challenging. The availability of such finance will depend on several factors, including the specifics of the individual’s credit history, the feasibility and profitability of the development project, and the lender’s policies and risk appetite.

A few points to note if you have adverse credit and are seeking property development finance:
Higher Interest Rates: Lenders often see borrowers with adverse credit as higher risk, which can result in higher interest rates on loans.

Lower loan-to-value ratios: You may be able to borrow less as a proportion of the property’s value compared to someone with a better credit history.
Increased Scrutiny: Lenders will likely scrutinise the project details and your exit strategy more closely if you have adverse credit.

Specialist lenders: Some lenders specialise in providing finance to individuals with adverse credit. These lenders often have a deeper understanding of the circumstances that can lead to credit issues and may be more willing to consider other factors in their lending decisions.
Brokers Can Help: A broker experienced in dealing with adverse credit situations can help you navigate the process, understand your options, and present your application in the best possible way.

Most importantly, improving your credit score is always beneficial, not just for securing property development finance, but for managing your overall financial health as well. Consider seeking advice from a financial advisor or a credit counselling service if you’re struggling with credit issues.

Can you fund projects under Permitted Development Rights (PDR)?

Yes, projects under Permitted Development Rights (PDR) can typically be funded with property development finance.

Permitted Development Rights are a grant of planning permission which allows certain building works and changes of use to be carried out without having to make a planning application. This can include certain types of extensions, conversions, and changes of use, among other things, depending on the specific rights in place.

Lenders are generally willing to provide finance for projects under Permitted Development Rights because these rights reduce the planning risk associated with a project. The specifics will depend on the individual lender’s policies and the nature of the proposed development, but in general, having PDR in place can make it easier to secure finance.

As with any type of property development finance, it’s important to work with a lender or broker who understands your project and can guide you through the application process. Keep in mind that while PDR eliminates the need for planning permission in some cases, other approvals may still be required, such as building regulation approval.

Can finance be arranged for part-built schemes?

Yes, finance can often be arranged for part-built schemes. These are development projects that have already been started, but for various reasons require additional funding to be completed. This can happen due to unforeseen costs, initial underestimation of the budget, or problems with the original source of funding.

However, securing funding for a part-built scheme can sometimes be more challenging. The lender will need to assess why additional funding is required and whether the project is still viable. They will take into account factors such as the progress already made on the project, the remaining budget required to complete it, the projected final value of the property, and your plan for repaying the loan.

A form of finance known as “rescue finance” or “development exit finance” is commonly used in these scenarios. This type of finance aims to provide the necessary funds to complete a development project, usually offering faster arrangement and more flexible terms compared to traditional finance options.

Is property development profitable?

Property development can indeed be very profitable, but it’s not without risk. The profitability of a property development project depends on several factors, including:

Market conditions: The state of the property market when you sell the developed property will significantly impact your profitability. Ideally, property prices will be rising, and demand will be high when you complete the project.

Project management: Good project management is crucial to keeping the project on time and on budget. Delays and cost overruns can quickly eat into potential profits.

Location: The location of the property can significantly impact both the cost of the project and the potential selling price of the completed development. Researching the local market thoroughly before starting the project is crucial.

Cost control: Carefully managing all costs, from construction to finance, is vital for ensuring profitability.

Planning and design: The design of the property and the planning permissions you can secure will significantly impact the property’s final value.

Exit strategy: Your exit strategy, whether it’s selling the property or renting it out, will also impact profitability.

Experience and skill: Those with more experience in property development and relevant skills can often achieve higher profitability through better project management, better anticipation of potential issues, and more effective mitigation of risks.

While property development can be profitable, it’s essential to remember that it also carries risk, and it’s possible to make a loss if costs overrun or the market conditions are not favourable. Therefore, thorough planning, research, and financial forecasting, as well as professional advice, are crucial before starting a property development project.

How is development finance repaid?

Development finance is typically repaid once the property development project is completed and the properties are either sold or refinanced. There are three common ways that developers typically repay development finance:

Sale of properties: If your strategy is to sell the properties once they are developed, the proceeds from the sale can be used to repay the loan. This is often the case for projects such as housing developments or commercial property developments where the end goal is to sell the units to individual buyers or businesses.

Refinancing: If your strategy is to rent out the properties and generate an ongoing income, you might choose to refinance the properties once they’re complete. Essentially, you would take out a new, longer-term loan (like a buy-to-let mortgage) based on the property’s final value, and use this to repay the development finance. Then you would repay the new loan over time from the rental income.

Combination of sale and refinancing: Sometimes, developers use a combination of sales and refinancing to repay development finance. For example, in a development of multiple units, some might be sold and some might be rented out. The developer could use the proceeds from the sales and a refinance loan based on the value of the remaining properties to repay the development finance.

It’s important to note that the specific terms for repaying development finance can vary from one lender to another and depend on the details of the individual loan agreement. Therefore, it’s crucial to understand the repayment terms before you take out development finance. It’s also crucial to have a clear exit strategy – your plan for repaying the loan – in place before you start a development project.

How does the application process for property development finance differ for an individual versus a limited company?

While the basic principles of applying for property development finance are similar for individuals and limited companies, there are some differences in the specifics of the application process.

Information required: Limited companies will need to provide additional information compared to individual applicants. This can include company accounts, information about directors and shareholders, and potentially the company’s credit history. Individual applicants, on the other hand, will typically need to provide personal financial information and a personal credit check.

Legal structure: The legal structure of the borrowing entity can affect the loan terms and the security required by the lender. For example, a lender may require personal guarantees from the directors of a limited company, while this wouldn’t be applicable for an individual borrower.

Tax considerations: The tax implications of borrowing can be different for individuals and limited companies, and this may affect the choice of finance. For instance, limited companies can often offset interest costs against profits for tax purposes.

Risk and liability: Limited companies provide a level of separation between the company’s finances and the personal finances of the directors, which may affect the risk perceived by the lender and therefore the terms of the loan.

Ownership of assets: For limited companies, the developed properties are usually owned by the company, whereas for individual borrowers, the properties would be owned by the individual.
Potential for Larger Projects: Limited companies, particularly those with a good track record and strong balance sheet, may find it easier to secure funding for larger, more complex development projects.

In both cases, the lender will want to see a viable development plan, a realistic budget, a profitable exit strategy, and evidence of the necessary experience and skills to complete the project successfully. As with any form of borrowing, it’s essential to take advice and thoroughly understand the implications before proceeding.

What are the legal aspects to consider while applying for property development finance?

When applying for property development finance, there are several legal aspects to consider. Here are some of the most significant:

Loan agreement: The loan agreement details the terms of the loan, including the interest rate, the repayment schedule, and any fees or charges. It’s essential to understand these terms and ensure they are feasible for your project before signing the agreement.

Security: Property development finance is typically secured against the property being developed. This means the lender has a legal claim on the property if you fail to repay the loan. It’s crucial to understand what this means for your project and what will happen if you can’t make the repayments.

Personal guarantees: If the loan is being taken out by a company, the lender may require personal guarantees from the company directors. This means the directors are personally liable if the company fails to repay the loan. Understand the implications of this before agreeing to provide a personal guarantee.

Planning permissions and regulations: You must ensure that all the necessary planning permissions are in place for your development and that you are fully compliant with all relevant regulations. Non-compliance could lead to legal problems and jeopardise your project and loan.

Contracts with builders and other contractors: Legal agreements with builders, architects, and other contractors are a key part of any property development. These contracts should clearly set out the terms of the work, including costs, timelines, and what happens if things go wrong.

Insurance: You will need to have the right insurance in place, such as buildings insurance and public liability insurance, to protect yourself and the project. The lender will often require evidence of this.

Legal due diligence: The lender will carry out legal due diligence, checking the title of the property, planning permissions, and other legal aspects. They may also require a valuation of the property.

As with any legal matter, it’s highly recommended to seek professional legal advice when applying for property development finance to ensure you fully understand the implications and obligations of the loan. A solicitor with experience in property development finance can help guide you through the process and help ensure you’re fully protected legally.

Are there any specific insurance requirements for a property under development finance?

Yes, there are specific insurance requirements for a property under development finance. The exact requirements can vary depending on the lender, the nature of the development, and other factors, but here are some common types of insurance that might be required:

Contract Works Insurance / Builders risk insurance: This covers damage to the property while it’s under construction. It can cover things like fire, theft, and vandalism.

Public liability insurance: This covers any injury or damage claims made by third parties (like members of the public or contractors) who might get injured or have their property damaged in connection with the development.

Professional indemnity insurance: If you’re employing professionals such as architects or engineers, they should have their own professional indemnity insurance. This covers claims if their work leads to a loss.

Employers’ liability insurance: If you are employing anyone to work on the development, you’re legally required to have employers’ liability insurance in the UK. This covers claims if an employee gets injured or becomes ill as a result of working on the development.

Contract Works Insurance: This covers the cost of redoing work if it’s damaged or destroyed while the development is in progress, for instance, due to a natural disaster.

Site Insurance: Also known as “self-build insurance,” this covers a range of risks associated with a building site. It typically includes public liability and employers’ liability, and may also cover tools, equipment, and materials.

Warranty insurance: Also known as “latent defects insurance” or “structural warranty,” this covers defects that become apparent after the development is completed. Some lenders will require this as it gives a form of protection to the property’s future owner.

Before the project starts, it’s crucial to ensure you have the right insurance in place. A broker who specialises in construction and development insurance can advise you on the right coverage for your project. Additionally, the lender may have specific insurance requirements as a condition of the loan, so these need to be factored into your planning and budgeting.

How to manage risk in property development finance?

Managing risk in property development finance involves a combination of careful planning, due diligence, and ongoing project management. Here are some strategies to mitigate risks:

Thorough planning: Developing a detailed business plan with clear objectives, timelines, and budgets is essential. You should also have a well-thought-out exit strategy for how the loan will be repaid.

Financial analysis: Conducting a thorough financial analysis of the project can help mitigate financial risks. This should include an analysis of the potential return on investment, a sensitivity analysis to see how changes in key variables could affect the project’s profitability, and a cash flow forecast.

Market research: Understanding the local property market and wider property trends can help to manage market risk. It’s important to know whether there’s demand for the type of property you’re developing and how much you can realistically expect to sell or rent the properties for.

Due diligence: Conducting thorough due diligence on the property and any contractors you’re using can help manage legal and operational risks. This should include checking planning permissions, conducting a thorough survey of the property, and ensuring that any contractors have the necessary qualifications and insurance.

Contingency planning: Including a contingency in your budget for unexpected costs can help manage financial risks. It’s generally recommended to include a contingency of around 10-20% of the project costs.

Insurance: Having the right insurance in place is crucial for managing risk. This might include builders risk insurance, public liability insurance, and professional indemnity insurance.

Ongoing project management: Regular monitoring and review of the project’s progress against the plan can help identify and manage risks as they arise.

Seeking professional advice: Getting advice from professionals with experience in property development, such as financial advisors, solicitors, and property consultants, can be invaluable for managing risk.

What’s the role of a broker in securing property development finance?

A broker can play a significant role in securing property development finance. Here’s how:
Identifying Suitable Lenders: Not all lenders offer property development finance, and those that do can have very different terms and criteria. A broker with experience in the sector will have an understanding of the market and can identify the most suitable lenders for your specific needs and circumstances.

Negotiating terms: Brokers can negotiate with lenders on your behalf to secure the best terms for your loan. This can include the interest rate, loan-to-value (LTV) ratio, and other key terms.

Simplifying the application process: Applying for property development finance can be complex, requiring detailed business plans, financial projections, and various other documents. A broker can guide you through this process, helping you gather the necessary information and prepare a strong application.

Faster approval: Because brokers are familiar with the process and know what lenders are looking for, using a broker can often lead to a quicker decision on your application.

Advisory role: Brokers can provide valuable advice and insights based on their experience in the industry. They can help you understand the terms of the loan, the potential risks and benefits, and how to plan and manage your project effectively.

Access to a broader range of lenders: Brokers often have relationships with a wide range of lenders, including those that don’t directly market to the public or specialise in certain types of property development finance. This means they can often find options that you wouldn’t be able to find on your own.

Remember, while a broker can be a valuable ally in securing property development finance, it’s essential to choose a reputable broker who has your best interests in mind. Check their credentials, look for reviews or testimonials, and make sure you understand their fees and how they are paid before agreeing to work with them.


What are the typical interest rates for property development finance?

Interest rates for property development finance can vary widely depending on the lender, the specifics of the project, and the borrower’s circumstances. Typical rates ranged from around 6% to 15% per annum. The exact rate you’re offered will depend on factors such as the size and term of the loan, the loan-to-value (LTV) ratio, the perceived risk of the project, and your own creditworthiness and experience in property development.

Can you get a loan for property development?

Yes, you can get a loan for property development. These are specialist loans designed to provide the funds needed to undertake a property development project, such as building a new property or renovating an existing one. They are usually short-term loans, typically for a term of 6 months to 24 months. Property development loans are often provided by specialist lenders and may be arranged through a broker.

Is there a possibility to extend the term of a property development finance loan if the project is not completed in time?

In some cases, it may be possible to extend the term of a property development finance loan if the project is not completed on time. This will generally depend on the terms of your loan agreement and the lender’s policies. Some lenders may be willing to offer an extension, particularly if the delay is due to unforeseen circumstances beyond your control. However, this is not guaranteed, and there may be additional fees or higher interest rates involved. It’s important to discuss the possibility of delays and extensions with your lender before you take out the loan, so you know what to expect. Planning your project with a realistic timeline and a contingency for potential delays can also help manage this risk.

Can a property developer with no prior experience apply for development finance?

Yes, a property developer with no prior experience can technically apply for development finance. However, it’s important to note that experience in property development is one of the key factors that lenders look at when assessing an application. Lenders want to be confident that the borrower has the necessary skills and expertise to carry out the project successfully, and experience is usually a strong indicator of this.

That said, some lenders may be willing to lend to less experienced developers, especially if they have a strong business plan, a solid team, or experienced partners or advisors supporting them.

How can property development finance help in accelerating a project?

Property development finance can provide the upfront funds needed to start a project, which can allow the development to begin sooner than if the developer had to raise the funds themselves. This can be particularly beneficial for larger projects, where the cost of the development work can be substantial. Additionally, having the finance in place can provide a level of certainty, allowing for firm project planning and scheduling, and enabling you to pay contractors and suppliers promptly, reducing the likelihood of delays.

Can I refinance property development finance?

Yes, it is possible to refinance property development finance. Developers often refinance their loans for a variety of reasons. They might want to extend the term of the loan, reduce their interest rate, or switch to a different type of loan that better suits their needs (for example, moving from a development loan to a commercial mortgage once the property is generating income).

Refinancing is subject to credit approval, and the terms and availability of refinancing will depend on factors such as the progress and success of the development, the borrower’s financial situation, and market conditions.

What happens if there is a default on a property development finance loan?

If a borrower defaults on a property development finance loan, the lender will generally have the right to take legal action to recover their funds. This could involve taking possession of the property and selling it to recoup their money. The specific actions the lender can take will depend on the terms of the loan agreement and the applicable laws. It’s worth noting that defaulting on a loan can have serious consequences, including damage to the borrower’s credit rating, potential legal costs, and loss of the property. It’s therefore crucial to understand your loan agreement fully, and to seek advice if you’re struggling to meet your repayment obligations.

Can property development finance be used for land acquisition?

Yes, property development finance can often be used for land acquisition, particularly if the purpose of purchasing the land is for development. It is common for developers to use this type of financing to secure a site and then build on it, with the loan covering both the cost of the land and the subsequent construction work.

How does property development finance differ from a traditional mortgage?

Property development finance and traditional mortgages serve different purposes and have different structures:

Purpose: A traditional mortgage is used to purchase a property that is already built and habitable. In contrast, property development finance is used to fund the construction, conversion, or heavy renovation of properties.

Repayment Terms: Traditional mortgages usually have longer terms, typically up to 25-30 years, with the loan repaid in regular installments over this period. Property development finance is usually short-term, often 6 to 24 months, and the loan is often repaid in full at the end of the term, typically once the development is complete and has been sold or refinanced.

Loan Release: With a mortgage, the loan is typically released in a lump sum at the start. With property development finance, the funds are usually released in stages, tied to the completion of different phases of the project.

Can a non-resident apply for property development finance?

While it can be more challenging, it is often possible for non-residents to obtain property development finance, depending on the lender’s criteria and the specifics of the project. However, lenders may see non-residents as higher risk, which could impact the terms of the loan, and they may require a higher deposit or additional security. It’s also worth noting that non-residents may face additional legal and tax considerations.

What role does the valuation of the property play in getting property development finance?

The valuation of the property plays a crucial role in property development finance. Lenders use this valuation to determine how much they are willing to lend. Typically, loans are based on a percentage of the property’s value, known as the loan-to-value (LTV) ratio. This often includes both the current value of the property (or land) and the projected ‘gross development value’ (GDV) – the estimated value of the project once completed. If the valuation is higher, the potential loan amount might also be higher, assuming all other factors are equal.

Can I get property development finance for a renovation project?

Yes, property development finance can be used for significant renovation projects. This can include ‘light refurbishment’ – projects that do not require planning permission or building regulations approval, such as cosmetic updates – or ‘heavy refurbishment’ – larger scale works that may involve structural changes and require appropriate permissions. The specifics will depend on the lender’s criteria and the scope of the renovation project.

What kind of security do I need to provide for a property development finance loan?

The primary security for a property development finance loan is usually the property being developed. This means that if the loan is not repaid, the lender has the right to take ownership of the property. The property can then be sold to recoup the outstanding loan amount. The specific terms of this arrangement, including the loan-to-value (LTV) ratio, will vary between lenders and depend on the individual project and borrower circumstances. Other types of security may also be required in some cases, such as personal guarantees or cross-collateralisation with other properties.

Can property development finance be used for brownfield sites?

Yes, property development finance can be used for the development of brownfield sites.

Brownfield sites are areas that have been previously used for industrial or commercial purposes and are now slated for redevelopment. Due to the potential for contamination or other issues, developing a brownfield site can be complex and risky, but many lenders will consider financing such projects.

The specific terms and availability of funding will depend on the project’s viability and the developer’s experience and capability to manage potential risks.

How do lenders assess the viability of a project for property development finance?

Lenders look at several factors to assess the viability of a project:

The developer’s experience and track record: Lenders will look at the developer’s past projects and how successfully they were completed. A track record of successful projects can increase a lender’s confidence.

The development plan: Lenders will want to see a comprehensive plan for the development, including projected costs, timescales, and the expected final value (Gross Development Value or GDV).

The property market: Lenders will consider the current state of the property market, and specifically the market for the type of property being developed. They will look at factors like property prices, demand, and the average time it takes to sell properties in the area.

Financial position: Lenders will also look at the developer’s financial position, including their credit history, current financial commitments, and the equity or cash they have to invest in the project.

Professional valuation: Lenders may require a professional valuation or survey of the property and the proposed plans to confirm the project’s viability.

Can property development finance be used for self-build projects?

Yes, property development finance can be used for self-build projects, where the owner of the property acts as the main contractor, either doing the work themselves or hiring subcontractors. Some lenders specialise in self-build finance. As with other types of property development finance, the funds are typically released in stages as the project progresses. The specifics will depend on the lender’s criteria and the details of the project. It’s worth noting that self-build projects can carry additional risks and challenges, so lenders will look closely at the borrower’s plans, budget, and experience.

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