The Covid-19 pandemic has proved to be Nexa Finance’s busiest time since its launch last August.
Mark Williams, who joined Nexa Finance as chief operating officer and head of risk in September last year, said the property development finance lender has found opportunities amid the crisis, continuing to lend where others have pulled back.
“We have very much remained open for business and continue to look for new deals, have been approving deals on a weekly basis and have not stopped providing funds for our existing schemes,” said Williams.
“This is the busiest we have ever been, not on problem lending but on good viable sustainable schemes that warrant our support.
“We’ve found lots of opportunity. Because we remain supportive while some others have stopped lending, developers have been coming to us and we’ve been building relationships with new borrowers and brokers and will get more business from these.
“Developers are seeking alternatives and the demand is still there.”
Williams is optimistic for the future, explaining that by lending at 65 per cent of the gross development value, property values would have to drop by a massive 35 per cent before the developer would potentially have to use their own funds.
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“We’ve looked at the views of experts, like chartered surveyors and Savills to see their thoughts and no one has said that house prices would drop by that extent,” Williams said.
“I remain hopeful, but it all depends how lockdown is eased, and the government gets the country moving again.
“I think we’ll have a dip in the summer and autumn but will hopefully recover quickly because prior to Covid-19 the economy was in a good position with low unemployment.
“House prices might take a slight dip but will come back again and houses still need to be built. People need to upsize and downsize properties and first-time buyers still need homes.”
Nexa Finance’s developments will most likely take a year to complete and sell, Williams said. The platform’s head of business development Andrew Goodbody is visiting construction sites whilst socially distancing.
Developers’ construction firms have been open while following social distancing rules, while valuers have been conducting drive-by or desktop valuations during the lockdown and are now visiting sites again.