Bridging loan transactions hit all-time high

Bridging Trends recorded a giant 68% leap from the previous quarter's transacted amount

Bridging loan transactions hit all-time high

A record-breaking £278.8 million in bridging loans was transacted during the first quarter of 2023, latest Bridging Trends numbers have shown.

The latest figure represents a 30% increase on the previous high of £214.7 million in Q3 2022 and an enormous 68% jump on Q4 2022’s £166.3 million – marking an all-time high since Bridging Trends launched in 2015.

Demand from residential homeowners was the main driver of bridging loan transactions in the first quarter of 2023, as uncertainty surrounding rising interest rates and risk appetite in the mortgage market persisted.

The percentage of homeowners turning to bridging finance to prevent chain breaks nearly doubled in Q1, increasing from 15% in Q4 2022 to 25% in Q1 2023.

Meanwhile, the Bridging Trends report also revealed that demand from investors and landlords using bridging loans to purchase investment assets plummeted to a new record low of 15% in Q1 2023 – down from 26% in Q4 2022, suggesting that in the wake of recent rate increases, landlords and property investors are waiting until interest rates become more consistent before they purchase new investment properties.

Regulated bridging demand also rose from 43.8% in Q4 to 46.2% in Q1, its highest share since Q1 2021, likely due to homeowners wanting to avoid post-mini budget disruption and take advantage of bridging’s rates and flexibility.

The year’s first three months saw average monthly interest rates remain steady at 0.79%, reflecting the instability felt by lenders and the mortgage market. Despite this, the average loan-to-value (LTV) dropped from 57.9% in Q4 to 54.7% in Q1, possibly due to lenders taking a cautious approach to issuing high LTV products in the current climate.

Demand for second charge bridging loans decreased from 12.9% in Q4 2022 to 11.2% in Q1, the lowest since Q3 2021. This could be attributed to the rise in chain breaks and homeowners taking advantage of the softer property market to move, rather than raising capital on their current properties.

The average completion time of a bridging loan fell to 54 days in Q1 2023, down from 66 days reported in Q4 2022 – the quickest seen since Q1 2022’s 53 days – as the industry handles the increased demand. The average term for a bridging loan remained at 12 months.

Bridging Trends is a quarterly report developed by short-term finance lender MT Finance as a method for monitoring the latest trends in short-term bridging finance lending in the UK. It combines bridging loan completions from several specialist finance packagers such as Adapt Finance, Brightstar Financial, Capital B, Clever Lending, Clifton Private Finance, Complete FS, Enness Global, Impact Specialist Finance, LDNfinance, Optimum Commercial, Sirius Group, and UK Property Finance.

Brokers react to record bridging numbers

“Bridging Trends always makes for interesting reading and shows where the bridging market is going,” Andre Bartlett, director at Capital B Property Finance, remarked. “We’ve certainly seen an increase in regulated bridging requests from clients looking to downsize or chain break, so they can choose when to sell their property and not panic while the market reacted to the changes in the economy.

“More and more clients are realising bridging loans can unlock equity and put them as the best purchaser on a new property if used correctly. With the slight slowdown in the property market, it is good to see that processes are getting quicker and returning to the way bridging loans should be.”

Matthew Dilks, bridging and commercial specialist at Clever Lending, was not surprised to see continued growth in the use of regulated bridging for chain break purposes.

“We are seeing many brokers new to bridging who are using the product and our services for support, experience, and, for some, to do the advice also,” Dilks said. “We’ve also experienced a notable increase in enquiries for regulated bridging from brokers with clients wishing to downsize, so it’s important that brokers consider the wider range of client circumstances such a product can help with.”

Dale Jannels, managing director at Impact Specialist Finance, commented that the latest figures demonstrate that bridging finance is moving towards a product now better understood and offered by an increasing number of brokers, not just those who solely work in the specialist finance sector.

“However, experience in finding solutions and placing such cases is vital, and we have witnessed a wider range of brokers contacting us than ever before, many of whom are coming via our many positions on mortgage club and network panels, and especially relating to the increase in regulated bridging demand,” Jannels pointed out.

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