Bridging applications up 83pc

The figures, sourced from ASTL members, showed that year-on-year 107% more applications were taken out.

Benson Hersch, chief executive of the ASTL, said: “We have all seen for some time that consumer confidence is up and the level of loans is on the rise but this increase in applications for bridging loans is more dramatic than most people expected.

“There are several factors that could be the cause of such a significant rise, it could be a churn in loans, it could be the same people applying to a number of lenders or it could, of course, be a genuine uplift in interest in bridging loans, in which case I would expect to see a similarly large rise in completions next quarter.”

The value of the overall loan book increased by 43.8% this quarter compared to the same quarter last year and by 16.5% compared to Q4 2013.

The number of written loans increased by 35.4% this quarter compared to Q1 2013 although there was no significant increase from Q4 2013, as the average loan size has risen.

Hersch added: “Even if a percentage of the rise in applications is due to churn, the rise demonstrates a growing awareness of and demand for bridging finance.

“The ASTL has done much to stress responsible lending and improve the image of the bridging industry.

“Bridging loans are used for an increasingly wide array of uses and I expect this upward trend to continue for the rest of this year at least.”