Budget 2017: Changes to stamp duty hits Victorian developers

Budget 2017: Changes to stamp duty hits Victorian developersChanges to stamp duty concessions in the latest Victorian budget and restrictions from banks on developer finance are driving property developers to seek alternatives for finance.

The 2017/2018 State budget has introduced changes stating that from 1 July 2017, purchasers of off-the-plan commercial properties or residential investment properties (not yet constructed) in Victoria will be liable to pay stamp duty on the purchase price or the market value of the property (whichever is greater). This will not affect owner occupied off-plan purchases.

Until now, Victorian purchasers of real estate that was not yet constructed were only required to pay stamp duty on the value of the land and any improvements that were already constructed on the land, as at the date of the contract. The value of any construction or refurbishment that was carried out on or after the contract date and before settlement was disregarded for the purposes of calculating the purchaser’s stamp duty liability.

Under the proposed new regime, purchasers of commercial properties or residential investment properties who enter into an off-the-plan contract of sale on or after 1 July 2017 will be liable to pay duty on the purchase price or the market value of the property (whichever is greater).

This will have a significant impact on the purchase price feasibility for property investors and the confidence of developers to attract sufficient pre-sales to obtain financing in the current challenging lending environment. Furthermore, obtaining finance for development projects has become even more difficult with banks placing stronger restrictions on lending and increasing serviceability requirements.

Property developers are copping blows from both sides, however there are still options for obtaining finance for projects from alternative lenders like Private Mortgages Australia. The flexibility of non-bank lenders will be an attractive option for developers who are finding it difficult to access a loan following the restrictions being put in place by the banks.

To discuss developer finance please get in touch with Private Mortgages Australia.

Funding options for settling a development site

Funding options for settling a development siteIn this guest post, PMA referrer, Dan Holden, Director of HoldenCAPITAL, writes about the benefits of using private capital to settle a development site.

Banks are very reluctant to get involved in lending against development sites. Some developers were getting sites funded as house investment loans because there was an existing house on the land they were purchasing. This was all too common until 2015, when the valuation industry was ordered to make a note wherever they thought the purchase was actually intended for a development project rather than a passive rental return house. The heads up from the valuer to the bank resulted in loans being declined if the bank believed it was for a development project.

Some of the reasons the banks are so reluctant to lend against a development site include:

  • An inability to prove the borrower can service the monthly interest, usually requiring 1.5 times interest cover from recurring income.
  • The main exit strategy is via a construction loan, which the banks are now only doing on a selective basis.

Banks take a view that they will only lend up to 75% of total development cost for the construction loan, and the land in a development project should typically takes up less than 20% of the total development cost. If they were to advance monies against the land, then they are reliant upon the developer putting in further cash to actually convert it into a construction facility. Being reliant upon a developer to find more money down the track is not a palatable credit answer. To put that in numbers, if you had a $10 million TDC project and the land was $1.8 million, the bank is only going to lend you $7.5 million to build the project. So if you don’t have $2.5 million now, they won’t rely on you finding it under your pillow in six months’ time.

We have seen a rise in developers using private capital to get these loans completed quickly and without the fuss of proving serviceability or an exit strategy. The cost of capital is higher at 15%p.a. however, at a lower LVR and/or with a robust sponsor we have been able to secure 12%p.a. While 15%p.a. sounds high, it is typically just for 4-6 months while the developer finalises his BA and any marketing, so the overall burden to the project is fairly insignificant. It is also better than using cash for that period and if you’re an elite property developer, you would want to see your cash invested at better than 15%p.a.

Dan Holden is Director of Holden CapitalDan Holden – Director, Holden Capital

HoldenCAPITAL is a specialist construction finance group, recognised as a market leader through its successes in deal structuring and the sourcing of debt and equity solutions.

Dan has over 13 years of development and finance experience which includes over six years in finance consultancy and funds management. You can contact Dan at [email protected].