Mezzanine Finance and Preferred Equity
For Property Developers

Mezzanine Finance and Preferred Equity is a way to increase the property developers borrowing potential beyond the limitations of traditional construction finance facilities.

Mezzanine finance is a form of subordinated debt behind senior debt in terms of ranking on any claim on property assets; and ahead of equity, generally secured by a second mortgage.

In summary, mezzanine debt fills the funding gap between the property developer’s equity and the amount of the senior facility available.

Preferred Equity works in a similar way to mezzanine finance, but no second mortgage is placed on the property to be developed.

Diagrammatically, development project risk can be illustrated as follows:

Mezzanine Finance

 

General Project Time Line:

1.  Land is identified
2.  Development Plan and Marketing Plan are conceptualised
3.  Land is secured (either purchased or optioned)
4.  Development proposal is prepared (architectural plans etc)
5.  Proposal is submitted to relevant authority for approval
6.  Marketing Plan is initiated (i.e. presales begin)
7.  Development is approved
8.  The Construction Facility is put in place
9.  Construction commences
10. Construction completed
11. Project is sold

Experienced and financially savvy developers are interested in mezzanine finance / preferred equity as it provides the following benefits:

  • It gives the developer the power to determine the level of equity (if any) they wish to contribute to a project
  • It is generally cheaper than equity; and provides a higher rate of return on equity
  • The borrower can use their equity elsewhere, effectively diversifying risk
  • The property developer can continue with the project on a ‘stand alone’ basis
  • Control is retained by the developer, not Joint Venture partners
  • Mezzanine finance is passive provided the project is performing to expectations
  • It can be raised relatively quickly as opposed to equity

Lets have a look at an example and the potential benefits.

End Value (GRV):
Land Value:
Construction Costs:
Total Costs (excl interest):
Development Period:
Senior Facility Interest Rate:
Mezzanine Debt Facility Interest Rate:
$13M
$5M
$5M
$10M
12
8% pa
20% pa

 

Note: that rates and figures are for illustrative purposes only.

Project Structure Comparison

 Traditional Senior Debt
 Senior and Mezzanine
Debt Facility
 Sales  $13,000,000  $13,000,000
 Construction Costs  $10,000,000 $10,000,000
 Senior Facility  $8,000,000  $8,000,000
 Mezzanine Debt Facility $0 $1,000,000
 Equity Contribution  $2,000,000  $1,000,000
 Interest Expense – Senior  $500,000  $500,000
 Interest Expense – Mez  $0  $200,000
 Total Interest Expense  $500,000  $700,000
 Total Costs  $10,500,000  $10,700,000
 Profit  $2,500,000  $2,300,000
 Profit % of Costs  24% 22%
 Profit % of Equity  125% 230%

 

As illustrated above, by using mezzanine loans the developer’s profit reduces by $200,000 in this example, from 24% to 22%.

However the property developer’s development profit as a percentage of equity almost doubles, from 125% to 230%. Based on the above if a property developer had $2,000,000 equity, they could opt for either:

  • A traditional structure, and make $2,500,000 profit, as that is all the equity available
  • Undertake two projects as above and contribute $1M each and achieve $4.7M profit

Clearly there are benefits to the developer of freeing up equity

Mezzanine finance lenders (investors) also gain considerable benefits from this type of investment:

  • Fixed term investment
  • Investment is secured by property
  • Only projects which are ready to begin immediate construction are eligible
  • Projects must have pre-sales or pre-leases in place, which are fully verified by GCC
  • Property developers capacity, capability and track record are fully scrutinised by GCC

Are you looking at buying a property or refinance an existing loan? Do you need construction finance for a property development? For a confidential chat call:

1300 011 211

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