The kids are back at school, we’re hurtling towards the end of another wash-out summer and I can’t believe the deadline for this month’s Bridgingwatch is upon me again.
But with plenty of positive things to share with you all in the world of bridging, let’s get started.
The hot topic of recent days has been Shawbrook Bank’s overhaul of its product suite, including enhancements to its short-term lending proposition.
It’s excellent to see a lender listening to its broker partners and making changes to its product range as a direct result of broker feedback.
To summarise, Shawbrook now offers short-term loans not just for residential property investors, but also to those clients looking for short-term finance to fund refinances or purchases of both commercial and semi-commercial, mixed-use property as well.
The maximum LTV on its residential bridging products has been increased to 70 per cent of purchase price or market valuation.
It now offers bridging for mixed-use properties up to 65 per cent LTV and a product for pure commercial properties up to 60 per cent LTV.
Loans are available from £75,000 up to £2.5m – loans over £2.5m will be considered by exception in prime central London on residential properties only.
Shawbrook are looking to lend to experienced property professionals with a successful track record in the sector. Where the property is commercial, there must be a suitable existing lease in place on completion.
It has also released two further products for clients looking to acquire property in need of light refurbishment, for both residential and mixed use properties. With its current Libor set to reduce further from 1 October, down from 0.95 per cent to 0.75 per cent, its new bridging products will start from rates as low as 0.68 per cent – a market-leading rate.
In addition, Shawbrook will also consider more extensive refurbishment deals on a case by case basis and the lender has a range of term lending products, which may provide clients with additional piece of mind for potential future refinancing.
In other industry news, we have also seen the soft launch of Masthaven Secured Loans via a limited panel of experienced secured loan master-brokers, including Brightstar Financial, Brilliant Solutions and V-Loans.
Masthaven’s secured loan offering includes solutions for clients looking to raise capital on both residential (owner-occupied) and residential investment properties.
This adds to the limited pool of lenders offering secured loans to investors on buy-to-let properties, with Blemain Finance and Dragonfly previously monopolising this space. Good luck guys.
Next came the biggest news of the week from the Blemain Group, which incorporates Blemain Finance, Lancashire Mortgage Corporation and Cheshire Mortgage Corporation, that it has secured a £640m three-year banking facility to contribute towards funding its existing business and to provide a platform for its future growth.
A funding line of this size is the greatest sign yet of growth in the industry.
The Government also recently announced that it intends to relax planning permission and make it easier for people to both build their own new homes and to extend their existing homes.
This is extremely good news for the secured loan, bridging and development loan sectors – which will all be key in providing essential funding where the main-stream lenders may not be as willing.
My final word is on the Association of Short-Term Lenders’ announcement of its new executive committee.
New members confirmed are: Mark Abrahams, chief executive officer of West One Loans; Andrew Bloom, managing director of Masthaven; Christian Faes, managing director of Montello Private Finance; Allan Kay, head of operations at Cheval; Steve Marsh, managing director of Goldentree Financial Services; and Mark Posniak, head of marketing and operations at Dragonfly Property Finance.
The recently appointed CEO of the ASTL Benson Hersch and his new band of merry-men seem keen to push forward with a voluntary code of conduct, which will benefit both lenders, brokers and customers alike by imposing minimum standards of requirements for members and help to improve the broker and public perception of bridging finance.
At a time when this industry is still undergoing unprecedented growth and continues to be scrutinised by the FSA and the Council of Mortgage Lenders, this can only be perceived as a huge positive for the bridging industry.