Property developers are, by nature, an entrepreneurial bunch. New opportunities are around every corner, and the rewards can be significant.
However, now, perhaps more than ever, developers need a finance partner to help them navigate the funding maze to unlock potential projects. It’s a belief that drove the establishment of Fresh Thinking Advisory, where a personalised and proactive approach to funding helps entrepreneurs achieve their goals.
There is no doubt that mainstream lenders have a conservative attitude to risk in the property sector. An approach that never recovered from the financial crash. The current inflationary environment is putting pressure on the Bank of England to tighten monetary policy, which will further impact availability of finance for development projects.
The economy is also seeing a downgrading of growth expectations, with analysts expecting a short recession over the next 18 months. It’s a testament to the resilience of the property sector that it continues to move forward.
There is an undoubted squeeze on margins with record land prices and rising building costs that official data shows to be 25% higher than a year ago. Access to labour is also an issue and proves a brake on the speed that projects can be developed.
Data from RICS shows that while tender prices and construction costs will rise over the next twelve months, activity will remain resilient. The RICS indicator also looks at expectations for profit margins over the next twelve months, which remain broadly flat.
The aim of the advisory team is to support entrepreneurs and the vision they have for their businesses. A different approach to risk is possible when time is taken to understand the people rather than simply numbers on a spreadsheet. In addition, access to a wide range of lenders means a more dynamic approach can be taken to finding a funding solution.
And it’s important work. The UK is facing an acute shortage of homes, which drives up property prices and takes the dream of homeownership out of the reach of many young people. So it’s vital that all stakeholders understand that developers of all sizes need funding to bring schemes to fruition.
Flexibility is key in the current economic climate. An open mind to switching between commercial and residential will help take advantage of Permitted Development Rights regulations and “change of use recommendations.” The rules were loosened to make commercial properties more straightforward. It’s a trend that is transforming high-street and city centre commercial structures across the UK.