Bridging market holds course: West One

The bridging market remained steady amid market uncertainty in the second quarter of 2019, according to data collected by West One Loans.

Gross annual bridging lending increased to £5.6bn in Q2 2019 from £5.5bn in Q1 2019.

According to West One Loans, more experienced and larger businesses are turning to specialist finance, which in turn is having a positive effect on the market.

The firm adds that experienced and larger businesses are increasingly using specialist finance due to property market volatility, “bridging finance is often opportunity finance” and lenders are meeting the demands of professional borrowers.

Looking at refinancing bridging loans, 51.7 per cent transferred their debt into a different form of finance in 2018, rising to 59.1 per cent in 2019. Meanwhile, within the same time frame property sales dropped from 28.5 per cent to 26.2 per cent.

West One Loans managing director Stephen Wasserman says: “With a few well-known lenders leaving the market, perhaps we are benefitting from strong demand shared amongst fewer lenders.

“Our average loan size was, naturally, boosted by some larger loans that we were able to complete at the beginning of this quarter, so we did see this fall as the quarter went on.

“I am also glad to see it has not been a ‘race to the bottom’ with rates, seeing a slight increase to 0.95 per cent against the average rate of 0.94 per cent in Q2.”

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