Develop Or Buy & Hold.... WHY is the question and EQUITY is the answer

By Jo Chivers
I was looking over some old files and found a TV interview I did some years ago on a popular property program – Your Money Your Call. The very first question I was asked by the host Chris Gray was “Why would someone develop rather than buying and holding?” (watch the video at
What a great question. It’s really the main reason why many investors take that next step from being an investor to becoming a property developer.

My answer was... ‘The best thing about developing property is the creation of equity through the development process. So rather than wait for capital growth to happen (over time), you create equity by adding value’. 

In a nutshell, this really is what most developers are trying to achieve. Some call it the ‘developer margin’ but I call it ‘creating equity’ - it’s the amount of money created when the costs of developing a property are taken away from the value of the project on completion.

I like the term ‘creating equity’ over say ‘manufacturing equity’ because when you are a property developer, you are very much part of a very creative process. 

As a developer, you have a lot that you can control, yet there are also some things you can’t control.  If you make the right decisions around the stuff you are in control of; smart plan design, meeting the needs of your target market, efficiency in the build process by using a trustworthy and experienced builder and some strong interior design choices then you can boost the equity creation process.

At the same time, if you can minimise the risks on the things you are not so much in control of; council processing time, finance approval times and inclement weather then you are giving yourself the best ‘equity creation’ opportunity.

So what would you rather?  Buy, hold, wait for equity or buy, make, create equity?  I know what I would choose every time.


“I was bitten by the property bug, there was no turning back.”

Jo Chivers proves that women can indeed have it all- a career that you are passionate about and a family.  While all of this sounds great, it does require hard work, dedication, perseverance and a bit of risk-taking.

Jo’s love of property development inspired her to leave her corporate career and pursue her true passion. After educating herself in property investing, she started building up her own property portfolio. After purchasing a few blue chip properties in Sydney, she soon realised how negatively geared they were and began researching outside of Sydney. She discovered a more affordable, large region of NSW where she completed her first property development.  Soon her friends were asking her to find them sites and manage their developments. 

She realised there was a need for an all encompassing project management service and her business Property Bloom™ was born.  Ten years down the track, she has developed over 60 properties for clients, creating literally hundreds of thousands of dollars in equity and high end yields.

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