Lender Masthaven Bank’s broker poll found that seven in 10 had seen an improvement in awareness of bridging finance since the onset of the pandemic, with more than half reporting an increase in customers coming to them for bridging finance. By contrast just three per cent said they had seen a drop in demand.
Brokers said a host of factors were driving this jump in demand. Issues caused by the pandemic were significant, with 41 per cent pointing to chain breaks and mortgage delays, suggesting that borrowers are turning to bridging to help deal with disruption to regular property transactions.
A third noted a boom in refurbishment, while more than one in four pointed to borrowers buying property at auction as a factor in the jump in bridging interest.
This demand increase tends to be focused on the specialist market too, with one in three brokers seeing more cases that in the past would have gone to a high street lender instead.
Richard Deacon (pictured), sales director at Masthaven, said that bridging finance has always been a useful tool but it has really come into its own in the current market.
He continued: “The factors pushing borrowers towards bridging may have been boosted by the pandemic, but they’re not going away any time soon. Bridging finance is no longer just an emergency option for borrowers, it has become truly mainstream.
“As awareness of the power and utility of bridging continues to grow, it will be increasingly important that lenders work hard to make their products competitive and accessible.”
The Masthaven study is borne out by figures from the Association of Short Term Lenders, which revealed that in the third quarter the value of bridging applications rose to a new record high.