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Surge in new lenders entering the bridging market

There’s been a surge of short-term lenders entering the market over the last 12 months, up by 50% on 2017, Brightone Law has found. 

Short-term lending transactions are also up 15% year-on-year.

Recent figures from the Association of Short-Term Lenders (ASTL) also show that bridging lending amongst its members rose by 15% in 2018.  The value of applications have also increased, up by 13.4% to nearly £21.5bn and total loan books increased by 3.6%.

Jonathan Newman, (pictured) senior partner at Brightstone Law, said: “Despite Brexit and slowing house prices, the industry has remained resilient.

“The current economic and property market conditions do not seem to have adversely affected transactional volumes, or the appetites of lenders to fund over the market as a whole.

“Whilst some lenders have applied greater caution in underwriting, others have seized the opportunity to gain a foothold.

“Short-term commercial lending is regarded as the last area of unregulated lending, and therefore relatively quick and easy to set up to lend and open to all.

“With the current climate amongst institutional lenders remaining cool and processes viewed as tiresome, labour intensive and unsatisfactory, significant volumes of finance are being redirected into the short-term lending space.”

Newman added: “We are also seeing a loosening of lending criteria and increased flexibility from new lenders entering the market. These new entrants are driven, passionate and have a willingness to adapt and innovate.  They will disrupt the market, just like the first wave of challengers did 10 years ago.

“However, what is deeply concerning is that some of these new lenders lack experience and so have the potential of being exposed to poorly non-performing customers, or unsuitable security.

“Many of these new players are unable to identify future problems and may not  have the personal  know-how, gained from experience, to deal with problem issues in an effective and sensible way.

“However, they can reduce some of those risks by tapping into the experience of professional partners for support.”

Newman said that selection of key professional partners is all-important to securing a successful start.

He said: “Cost is a factor in that selection process but should not be the sole one.Hence selection of key partners is vital.

“Valuers with longstanding experience of market volatility, but with particular experience of the chosen asset class; intermediaries that introduce, but who are active in the wider finance market, and who understand the borrower and maintain the relationship to contribute and participate in the exit too; solicitors who have the technical competence and process to transact the property side competently and securely, but with transactional  experience, knowing what can and sometimes does go wrong further down the timeline, and how to deal with that; solicitors that do not just identify issues but are capable of offering solutions.

“Brightstone Law has a well-established reputation for short term finance transactions and recovery I take great pride from the longevity of our lender client relationships.

“So many of our clients were once those disruptor new boys on the block and now, are established, key players, leading brands and the benchmark for new entrants. To have played a role in their growth and success is truly satisfying from our perspective.”

Source: Mortgage Introducer

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London brokers increasing their amount of international bridging

Based on observations and conversations over the past year, there appears to have been an increase in the search for international funds coming through London brokers.

A growing number of London brokers it seems, are being asked to access money by borrowers keen to do one of three things: either purchase an international property, carry out work on a property based overseas or, increasingly, release money from a property based in continental Europe in order to spend on property or business in the UK. In each of these cases there is another property that is being leveraged on a short-term basis in order to satisfy a development or business need.

There could be a number of reasons for this uplift, but it increasingly seems to be the case that if you have an international property and can’t find funds abroad then you look to London as an international finance centre. For flexible, short-term funding, London is still the place to come, even despite Brexit.

What is interesting is that the people turning to London brokers for help are not even all UK nationals, they are a number of different nationalities all of whom have property on the continent that they need to leverage on a short-term basis.

It makes sense that international brokers like Enness and Knight Frank will be approached for this business as they have international connections so may be contacted in multiple jurisdictions, but the demand seems to be wider than this with a much wider range of brokers being approached. It is not exclusive to London brokers either, but the demand does seem to be predominantly in this region.

The key reason seems to be that short-term finance is not generally available across the continent, but as awareness grows of bridging finance and how useful it is, this is increasing demand. And the key place to realise this demand is in London and the UK.

There has also been an uplift in UK business people releasing capital from properties they may own abroad in order to capitalise on business opportunities here. Many UK business people, especially developers, will have unencumbered property abroad. They are now seeing the opportunity to leverage it for their business or for property development. It is this segment of the market that is showing the greatest potential. This fast turnaround of short-term money can really make a difference to businesses needing to invest, or even needing working capital.

It is an exciting market and what that looks set to increase throughout the year as awareness of the possibilities increase, not only in the UK but across Europe.

Source: Mortgage Introducer

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Bridging market grew by 15% in 2018

Members of the Association of Short-Term Lenders (ASTL) wrote more than £4bn of bridging loans in 2018, representing an increase of 14.8% on 2017.

Figures compiled by the ASTL’s auditors from its bridging lender members for the fourth quarter of last year show an increase in the value of loans completed, outstanding loan books and applications in 2018 from the year before.

Benson Hersch, chief executive of the ASTL, said: “Our latest data survey shows continued growth in the bridging sector, with the value of loans completed in 2018 up by nearly 15% on 2017, the value of applications growing by more than 13% and the value of outstanding loan books also higher than the previous year.

“These results show that, in an uncertain economic environment, our members are continuing to provide useful, flexible finance for a whole range of purposes, and they are doing so whilst maintaining a commitment to high standards of underwriting.

“This is very encouraging and indicates a sustainable sector that is built on robust foundations.”

During this period, the value of applications increased by 13.4% to nearly £21.5bn and total loan books increased by 3.6%.

The value of loans completed for the quarter ending 31 December 2018 increased by 13.5% on the previous quarter and the value of applications increased by 0.3%, although the value of outstanding loan books decreased by 7.1% during this period.

Source: Mortgage Introducer