How does access to development finance shape our cities?
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Abstract: In market economies the built environment is largely the product of private sector property development. Property development is a high-risk entrepreneurial activity executing expensive projects with long gestation periods in an uncertain environment and into an uncertain future. Risk lies at the core of development: the developer manages the multiple risks of development and it is the capital injection and financing that is placed at risk. From the developer's perspective the search for development capital is a quest: to access more finance, over a longer term, with fewer conditions and at lower rates. From the supply angle, capital of various sources - banks, insurance companies, superannuation funds, accumulated firm profits, retail investors and private equity - is always seeking above market returns for limited risk. Property development presents one potentially lucrative, but risky, investment opportunity. Competition for returns on capital produces a continual dynamic evolution of methods for funding property developments. And thus the relationship between capital and development and the outcomes for the built environment are in a restless continual evolution. Little is documented about the ways development is financed in Australia and even less of the consequences for cities. Using publicly available data sources and examples of different development financing from Australian practice, this paper argues that different methods of financing development have different outcomes and consequences for the built environment. This paper also presents an agenda for further research into these themes.
Urban Policy and Research
© 2014 Taylor & Francis (Routledge). This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Urban Policy and Research on 20 Jun 2014, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/08111146.2014.924922
Housing Markets, Development, Management