Community Development Lending, Explained: Construction Loans

In this series about community development lending, we aim to shed light on the diverse types of loans we offer, in the hope that it will provide the clarity our borrowers need to make an informed decision about applying for a community development loan.

In this third installment, we turn our attention to construction loans, the financial cornerstone that transforms plans into reality and buildings into vibrant community assets.

Black and yellow graphic that reads: Community Development Lending Explained: Construction Loans.

What is a Construction Loan?

A construction loan is a short-term loan that propels your development project from the drawing board to a physical structure. It provides the necessary funding to cover the costs associated with building, renovating, or expanding community assets. Construction loans may also cover the costs of buying land, drafting plans, taking out permits and paying for labor and materials. Construction loans typically have higher interest rates than other types of loans because lenders are taking on more risk by financing the construction of a new property. 

Turning Blueprints Into Bricks 

At the heart of any community development project lies the construction phase. This is where ideas take shape, and communities begin to witness tangible progress. Construction loans provide the essential capital for hiring contractors, purchasing materials, and overseeing the entire construction process. They also empower developers to maintain high standards of quality by financing skilled labor, sustainable materials, and adherence to safety standards. Moreover, construction loans cover costs at various stages of construction, from groundbreaking to final touches, keeping the project on track and minimizing delays so communities can start benefiting sooner. 

How are Construction Loans Used in Community Development?

Construction loans enable developers to borrow money to purchase materials and pay for labor necessary to build or rehabilitate a real estate project. Unlike traditional loans, construction loans are tailored to the unique financial needs and timelines of development projects, ensuring that funds are available precisely when they’re needed the most. Because construction loans generally are intended to cover the building process, they’re typically issued for a period of 12 to 18 months. Community developers can use construction loans towards projects such as building or rehabilitating spaces into affordable housing. Capital Impact Partners has closed on a loan to finance the construction of a 37-unit apartment building for veterans and their families living with very low incomes and experiencing homelessness. Once completed, the six-story, 28,0000-square-foot apartment building in the Brightwood Park neighborhood of D.C. will play an important role in building the resilience of the local community.  

Construction loans can be used towards the rehabilitation or construction of charter schools as well. Capital Impact Partners has closed on a construction loan to fund the renovation of a 25,000-square-foot former Kaplan College into the Betty M. Condra School for Education (Condra School) in Lubbock, Texas. When complete, the renovations will allow the Condra School to increase its capacity by 88 percent to 375 students, with larger classrooms and more play spaces to benefit students with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Flexible, Short-term Financing for Long-term Impact

In the case of a construction loan, disbursement happens in phases. This means that the lender pays the developer in installments, called “draws,” instead of transferring a lump sum. This is to ensure that the developer is using the loan funds for the intended purpose. Each installment coincides with an important phase of the project, such as pouring the foundation, framing, and finishing work. 

One benefit of construction loans is that developers would only pay interest on installments that have been drawn, versus paying interest on the entire loan amount. Another benefit is that construction loans offer more flexibility in terms of loan terms, compared to traditional loans. Developers can make loan terms around the needs of their projects.

Check out our mission-driven lending page for more information about our products to find out which might work best for you.

Business Acquisition Loans: Coming Soon