Bridging sector passes £3.5bn mark

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Gross annual bridging lending topped £3.5bn in 2015, according to the latest West One bridging index.

The sector, which has grown by nearly £1bn in the past year, is now worth approximately 1.6 per cent of the total mortgage market.

West One forecasts the sector will break the £4bn barrier in the “not-too-distant future”.

Director Duncan Kreeger says: “Despite its growth, bridging remains a relatively alternative product, so there is still plenty of room for expansion, especially as new regulation drives future growth.

“Bridging is known for its speed, so it follows that short-term finance is easily outpacing the mainstream mortgage market. Bridging lenders are flourishing with an enhanced reputation for providing an excellent service. Borrowers are turning to short-term finance because it offers much faster time to completion than high-street lenders.”

The typical bridging loan size rose to £984,000 in December, up from £747,000 six months earlier, as “multi-million pound deals become an even more regular occurrence”, says West One.

The average first charge LTV rose slightly from 49.5 per cent to 50.1 per cent over the same period.

The average rate was 1.16 per cent in December, where it has been for the past six months.