Bridging loans are the new star of the UK lending market, and some analysts are expressing surprise at this scheme’s growth. Others aren’t surprised a bit.
High street banks of late have been particularly tight-fisted in loaning money for construction projects and home purchases. This void has been filled by other lenders who have created the financial instrument called the bridging loan.
These loans are designed as a short-term funding mechanism for individuals and businesses. They are commonly used to buy commercial and residential property. The loans can range from three to nine months and stand as a source of cash until more traditional funding, such as a standard mortgage, can be arranged.
Bridging loans came to dominance in the early part of 2012. Borrowers were frustrated by banks that loaned only to individuals with a high net worth. This closed shop lending attitude left many individuals and companies, who were asset rich but cash poor, out in the cold.
Specialty lenders, seeing an opportunity and a need for liquidity in the construction and housing market, rode into the funding gap. They offered an innovative product that added value for both the lender and the borrower.
These lending specialists saw increasing numbers of people who fell out of the typical lending box offered by big banks. Those big banks also showed an unwillingness to loan money because of the stagnant economy. This left borrowers with few other options to get cash to buy homes and expand businesses. They turned to lenders willing to write bridging loans.
Some analysts expect the bridging loan sector to grow by 25 percent or more this year. Numbers are all over the map on how much money has been loaned through bridging. The West One Bridging Index released the figure of £1.57 billion in bridge lending for 2012.
The chairman of West One Loans, Duncan Kreeger, said that high street financial firms were growing at a fraction of the rate of the bridging industry. Kreeger pointed out that consumers paying down debt had added little or nothing to the big banks’ willingness to loan to new borrowers. Instead, banks are tightening requirements and walking away from any projects that hint of development. This is at a time when people and businesses are hungry for funding sources.
Kreeger’s numbers show that bridging lenders approved £439 million in loans in the last quarter of 2012. The average bridging loan has also jumped 14 percent to £450,000. Kreeger feels certain that bridging loans will top £2 billion in 2013.
Hanover Square Brokers chimed in and joined Kreeger’s assessment of bridging loans, stating that the company has seen a huge surge of interest in bridging loans for both residential and commercial property since the beginning of the year. This is in contrast to the recent news that approvals for mortgages had fallen by 11 percent. Mortgage approvals are now at the lowest point since July 2012.
“The increase in applications reflects that the need for bridging finance will remain and demand will continue to grow despite the effect of the Government’s Funding for Lending Scheme and increased bank lending,” said a spokesman at Hanover Square.
The plodding UK economy and the hesitance of big lenders to fund construction projects have created the perfect weather for speciality lenders to shine. Bridging loans have become the flavor de jure to get cash for funding the purchases of commercial and residential properties.
Hanover is projecting that bridging loans may grow to sufficient size to trigger sustained growth in the UK.
Bridging loans are typically used by borrowers to act as a source of cash to close a property deal. For example, a homeowner may be suspended between selling an old home and buying a new one. Because the old home hasn’t been sold yet, the homeowner doesn’t have the cash to buy the new home. These kinds of loans act as a bridge between the two homes.
With the cash from a bridging loan, the borrower is able to buy the new home before another buyer beats him to it. Typically, the bridge loan is secured by a mortgage taken out against the old home. When the home is sold, the mortgage is paid off.
Lenders are amenable to approving a bridging loan when the deal to sell a home hasn’t been hammered out yet. In addition, no long-term loan has been written to purchase the new home. A loan is written to provide cash until a long-term mortgage is in place. This loan is set for a period of three to nine months. It’s called an open bridge loan.
Bridging loans can be arranged for buying homes, business property, auction properties and remodeling properties to sell. Loans can range from £25,000 to £500,000. Loans will typically be set at about 75 percent of a property’s value. Monthly interest will range from 1 to 1.5 percent.