The Australian Financial Review

Aug 18th, 2020

by Larry Schlesinger

Young Rich Lister and former Essendon football player Andrew Welsh has added to his extensive landholdings in Melbourne’s west after buying an additional 32 hectares to bolt onto his 3000-lot Thornhill Park housing estate.

Mr Welsh told The Australian Financial Review he paid $23 million for the 288 Paynes Road site, which has the capacity to deliver an additional 400 lots and a government school as well as wetlands and parkland.

The vendor was well-known Wyndham City councillor Intaj Khan, whose Countryland Australia is developing a neighbouring 83-lot subdivision called Mount Aliza Estate.

Mr Welsh, who has rebranded his Welsh Group development company as Wel.Co, financed the acquisition through Asian-based non-bank lender OCP.

“We’ve been working with OCP since 2016. They provide tailored and flexible funding, which allows us to position ourselves in the right place when opportunities come to the market,” he said.

“We have a great partnership with them. They understand the development phases and cycle. Other forms of mainstream finance have dried up for quite a period of time.

“Although bank funding comes in at a lower price level, there is minimal flexibility in a challenging market. We wouldn’t be able to take these opportunities if we were chasing a low bank [lending] rate.

“It’s a good purchase price on good terms. Across market, prices are coming back,” he added.