Bridging finance industry is buoyant according to new survey

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The bridging finance industry is in promising shape and continues to flourish. That's the conclusion of Gareth Lewis, commercial director at MT Finance (mtf) after a new survey showed a spike in demand.

The desire for bridging loans increased in the third quarter of 2018, despite the traditional summer slowdown, according to the latest Broker Sentiment Survey conducted by bridging lender mtf.

Demand for bridging finance grew in the third quarter of 2018, with 48 per cent of brokers experiencing a rise in bridging loan volume, up from 38 per cent in the second quarter of 2018. And just 17 per cent of brokers did not experience a rise in bridging loan volume in Q3 2018.

Feedback from brokers points to a strong need for specialist lending but the geographical spread of bridging loan demand narrowed in the third quarter the year, with demand in the North West, South West and Scotland dropping from the previous quarter.

The South East saw the biggest demand for bridging loans in the UK at 48 per cent, up from 30 per cent in Q2. The second highest area of demand was London, at 41 per cent.

For the third consecutive quarter, funding development projects was the most popular reason for taking out a bridging loan at 31 per cent. Business purposes was the second most popular reason at 21 per cent, up from 16 per cent in the second quarter of 2018.

However, 66 per cent of brokers said the bridging loan process is longer than it was 12 months ago, while the majority, some 48 per cent, suggesting three to four weeks was the average length to complete a bridging loan. Meanwhile, some 21 per cent indicated that bridging loan cases generally took two to three weeks to complete. Of 113 brokers polled, 61 per cent blamed solicitors as the main reason for delays, followed by the valuer at 16 per cent.

And Lewis said: “The bridging finance industry is in promising shape and demand continues to grow, particularly from property investors looking to fund development projects in London and the South East.

“However, speed has always been a vital element in bridging finance and it is essential we don't lose sight of this. It is important that all parties involved- the lender, lawyer, valuer and the broker, move swiftly to complete to the borrower's schedule.

“It is important we stay true to the fundamentals of bridging: providing borrowers with fast access to the capital they need in a responsible and sustainable way and not fall in to the more traditional computer banking model.”

Carl Eldridge is a journalist with more than 25 years’ experience working on local and then national newspapers, including a spell on the City Desk at the Daily Express, before switching from print media to the internet.

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