Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Delayed Financing Bringing Luxury Buyers Back to the Market

by Peter L. Mosca

In an economic landscape that is unpredictable at best, obtaining financing for multi-million-dollar land/homes packages has become almost impossible feat for many luxury buyers seeking to build their dream home. The developer of Colorado's luxury community Tessa Mesa outside Castle Rock is looking to change that with a rare financing package that lets buyers secure their estate site now and postpone the building process until market conditions improve.

C&A Companies, Tessa Mesa's developer, also is offering buyers interest-only financing through its preferred lending relationships for up to four years, thus allowing buyers time to sell their existing home and design their new home on a timeline that is comfortable for them. Buyers can build when the time is right for them, whether that's now or years from now.
"We understand that people are hesitant to look too far into the future while in the midst of a turbulent economy," said David Pretzler, C&A Companies principal. "We also know that banks will hardly look at new construction financing especially in the luxury custom sector. Our stimulus package gives buyers the opportunity to secure exceptional financing terms so they can build their dream home right now if they want to. These financing options are really unheard of in this economic climate." For those who want to begin the building process now, C&A Companies' lender is offering special home construction financing that requires only 20% down and gives credit for lot equity as part of the down payment.

Tessa Mesa is a 600-acre gated community comprising 16 estate lots ranging in size from 35 to 41 acres. Remaining estate lot pricing starts at $899,000. "The estate lots have level, generous, ready-to-build envelopes that make them ideal horse properties or family estates," added C&A Companies. "Zoning allows for a primary residence, up to two guest houses, a barn and other outbuildings such as a sports pavilion."

"With today's market conditions, enthusiastic and experienced borrowers are finding it increasingly challenging to gain financing in the time needed to accomplish their endeavors," added Ido Gerber, Metro Funding Corp. (MFC) associate, whose firm, a private asset-based lender from Paramus (NJ) recently announced the funding of a $1,400,000 loan for the acquisition of a 13.5 acre parcel in York (PA). MFC makes financing possible for borrowers who have strict timelines, allowing them to complete their projects successfully." After careful underwriting, MFC was able to structure the transaction in a way that allowed the borrower to acquire the property from the local school district. With a $28,000,000 HUD loan, the borrower plans to construct a residential complex, which will include affordable housing for the retirement community in the area.

Another firm doing well in this challenging environment is the Program Solutions Group, a Toledo-based commercial construction company who has achieved growth, prosperity and a high profile client list. In face, in recent months, they have been contracted for several of metropolitan Toledo's most exciting and prominent development projects, including the 500,000 sq. ft. expansion for First Solar Perrysburg, Ohio, the new Health Care REIT headquarters on Dorr St. in Toledo, and Dana Holding Corporation's relocation to new headquarters at their Maumee, Ohio, Technology Campus.
"For us, building lasting relationships is just as important as building a permanent structure," said Program Solutions Group's president, Wayne Burrer. "And you do that by having transparency and communication throughout every facet of the project -- especially in this economic climate, when every dime spent needs to be carefully managed." “We approach each project with the understanding that the growth and success of our business is fully dependent on our ability to exceed the expectations of our customers," says Burrer. "In good times and bad."

A word of caution from Edward J. Sullivan, PCA chief economist: "Without further government cash injections into the banking system, tight lending standards could characterize the economy and mortgage lending through mid-2011 dragging down home sales," he said. "Under such a scenario, the housing recovery and overall economic recovery could be delayed significantly." Whether it is delayed funding like that from the C&A Companies, or the opening of credit markets fueled by government intervention, the need for lending and money to be pumped back into the marketplace is the key to an economic – and housing – recovery. This story, and others like it, proves that industry players are doing their part to get lending moving forward.

Reprinted by permission of RealtyTimes: April 29, 2009

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