Lending conditions still choking growth

JULY 2010

A BRISBANE property acquisition specialist says the local commercial property market is picking up, but growth will likely be restricted in the next two years.

Corpacquire director David Taylor says the market is in a much stronger position than last year with an increased emphasis on transport nodes, but the banks are not keeping pace.

“2009 was a basket case that everybody accepted was too hard, it was dreadful for everyone, but the key difference in 2010 is that people have now got the attitude of ‘let’s get back to business’ and they want to be here for the long term,” he says.

“We’re getting back to developers wanting to create value, investors wanting to add value and people are looking to buy and sell.

“The dictating fact of the market place is that it relies on funding and debt is vital, but the difference is that the majority of banks are really only primary lenders, and mezzanine lenders don’t really exist, so commercial property relies on the big tier banks.”

Restricted lending has meant many developers are downplaying the features of projects in a bid to get enough presales, but this makes many developments unviable.

“Even without immigration, just with internal population growth, with the supply and demand equation developers will find themselves out of kilter,” he says.

“If it is picking up you’ve got to compare one base to another - volumes are probably 20 per cent of what the market was three years ago, and after last year there’s certainly an upturn and well-versed people are coming forward, but the banks need to come with them.

“South East Queensland has strong fundamentals going forward, retail is good, the council is encouraging density and transport hubs, and I think the industry has accepted that you need to be near transport nodes.”

Corpacquire is currently engaged in an inner-city residential acquisition drive and Taylor hints that a commercial acquisition round is coming soon.

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