Vikki Jefferies – Proposition Director, PRIMIS
In my opinion, the bridging market has yet to receive the credit it deserves. Often perceived as niche and underdeveloped, the sector has long been an underdog compared to more popular longer-term lending solutions.
However, the UK’s bridging market is going from strength to strength. The latest figures from the Association of Short Term Lenders* show that bridging loan applications totalled more than £5.96 billion in the first quarter of the year, up 13.6% compared to Q4 2018 and an increase of 6.9% on the same quarter last year. Clearly then, the demand for these products is very much alive and well. But, to keep up with this demand, we need more brokers to effectively address the current bridging gap that exists in the market.
Historically, these products have been used mainly for ensuring a property chain completes, but bridging solutions span far further than that. Whether it be home improvements, complex buy to let refinancing, landlords reassessing their investment portfolios or even helping businesses to raise capital – short-term finance is a solid solution that can be tailored to meet a growing pool of borrowers’ needs.
Networks are in a good position to ensure that brokers are considering bridging as part of their ‘broker toolkit’. As specialist lending options increasingly become more common, ensuring more advisers are aware of these opportunities is vital if we are to ensure the best possible customer outcomes. At PRIMIS, we host emerging markets events for this very purpose – to walk brokers through the ins and outs of the ‘specialist finance’ sector and to communicate the importance of products such as bridging.
This is complemented by our extensive lending panel, providing members access to a range of specialist products to cater for the increasingly diverse pool of borrowers that now exists in today’s market. It’s important that all our advisers can offer the perfect mortgage solution no matter the background of their client. Having bridging solutions under a broker’s belt supplements the longer-term solutions we also offer through the network, so that brokers can cater for a wider variety of clients. With the Prime Minister announcing her resignation only last week, this may be particularly useful during these uncertain economic and political times.
With more lenders such as Precise Mortgages offering innovative short-term finance solutions, alongside networks making a concerted effort to train, support and ensure brokers are fully equipped with the tools and knowledge they need to advise on this sector, it’s never been a better time to become a broker boss in the bridging sector.