Bridging grows 39pc

The value of bridging loans written by ASTL members increased by 39.1% yearly and by 12.9% in the quarter ending 31 December 2013 compared to the previous one.

ASTL members lent £440m worth of loans in the last quarter of the year, up from the £390m in the previous quarter.

Benson Hersch, chief executive of the ASTL, said: “The figures reflect the ongoing need for, and use of, bridging finance. Short term loans continue to be useful financial tools as mainstream lenders still lag behind demand despite increased mortgage lending figures.

“Property prices and sales volumes are increasing, as investors and homebuyers show renewed confidence.

“There is, however, a danger of overheating in some areas of the South East, as buyers scramble for residential property.”

The value of applications rose by 23% year-on-year, as ASTL members received applications totalling £5.3bn, up from £4.3bn the year before.

The value of the lenders’ loan books meanwhile increased by 3%, as the total loan book was worth £1.36bn at the end of the period from £1.32bn in the previous quarter, yet compared to the previous calendar year it was up by 29% to £307m.

Hersch added: “The economic climate definitely seems to be improving, but it is too early to be confident that the improvement is sustainable.

“What I think is clear is that the pace of growth has slowed, but growth is still happening and volumes will stay at present or even higher levels until interest rises are imminent.”