How to obtain development finance

Development FinanceIt is well known that to secure development finance from a major bank is getting much more difficult, and changes to stamp duty concessions, like those in Victoria, aren’t helping. Like the GFC days when it was virtually impossible to obtain finance, tighter controls continue to be implemented. Banks generally require 100% of debt coverage from pre-sales and they have pulled back on the percentage of hard costs that they will fund.

However, there are non-bank lenders and private lenders that will look at a project from a different angle to the major banks. Developer finance lenders will work off the gross realisation value (GRV) of the project rather than the traditional hard cost or total development cost (TDC) method when working out how much they will lend.

The main things non-traditional development finance lenders will look at are:

  • The project – does it make sense?
  • The profit – is there a big enough profit in the project?
  • The people – are the people behind the development experienced?

GRV development finance method explained

Gross realisation value (GRV) based first mortgage facilities look at the projected end value of the project and will extend funding to a percentage of that. In general, the maximum GRV is 65%, or 70% in some cases.

Advantages of GRV development finance

  • No pre-sale requirements can mean a higher realisation price especially in a rising market.
  • No pre-sale requirements can mean the project holding costs are less and the development can commence more quickly.
  • Less developer equity required.
  • Taxable income figures for the borrowers are not generally required.
  • All fees and interest can be capitalised

GRV development finance general guidelines

With non-bank lenders and private funders, each project is looked at on an individual basis. However, below are some guidelines that, if met, will help you secure developer finance.

  • Projects should be in desirable locations with high demand for the product being built.
  • Profit margins should be between 15% and 25% depending on the type of project.
  • The borrower should be an experienced developer.
  • The borrower, while not generally required to prove serviceability, will need to have some tangible assets behind them and not be credit impaired.
  • While the funding may typically be available up to 65% of the GRV or end value, this ratio cannot be exceeded at the land stage or any stage of the development. If the land has increased significantly from when it was purchased there is no restriction on using the increased value. This means that 100% of hard costs can be funded in some circumstances.

Have a read of a case study for a development finance deal we recently undertook and you can also hear more about how PMA can help developers with finance in this video.

A word from our referrers – Lee Spyda

Lee SpydaLee Spyda from Investor Loans Network Gold Coast is a valued PMA referrer. He is committed to empowering clients through education, supporting them to reach their goals and providing exceptional service. We decided to have a chat with him and find a bit more about why he loves being a commercial finance broker.

  1. Tell us about your career history? I’m celebrating 10 years as a mortgage broker this year which is an important milestone for me as I really enjoy this work. I’ve also worked in sales and prior to moving to Australia in 2000 I undertook an apprenticeship in Pattern Making with Rolls Royce Industrial Power Group which was incredibly interesting.
  2. What do you find interesting about commercial finance? The most interesting thing about commercial finance is that every deal is different, there’s never a one-size fits all. For me, it’s really straight-forward. It’s about applying common sense and assessing each deal on the individual merits and circumstances and getting the best result for your client.
  3. What’s the most interesting commercial finance deal you’ve worked on? I’m currently involved in a property development consisting of over 140 townhouses which is really interesting. Over-purchasing blocks of units or other property with no deposit is a favourite scenario – solving the problems and making it work.
  4. What’s one piece of advice you always give to commercial clients? I always tell my clients that it’s not just about the interest rate, it’s the cost of the money in the long-run. We look at all the costs and make sure that the deal has the best chance of making a profit. In the end a percentage of something is better than a percentage of nothing!
  5. What are the benefits of working with a non-bank lender like PMA? Non-bank lenders like PMA have extremely quick approval times, a straight-forward loan process and, best of all, common sense is applied to each deal.
  6. What do you like about working with PMA? I’ve always enjoyed working with PMA because they have a great team, a simple approach and they look at things for what they are when making decisions.


Lee Spyda talks about commercial lending Lee Spyda is the Director & Finance Strategist at Investor Loans Network Gold Coast where he helps his clients to build their passive income property portfolio through asset protected structures to secure their financial future.

Lee has a Diploma in Finance and Mortgage Broker Management.

To get in touch with Lee contact [email protected]