Hope Capital launches development exit loan to help on delayed sales
The product is aimed at borrowers whose development is completed and prepared for sale, who want additional time to relieve pressure around paying back the outstanding capital to their development finance lender if they are unable to do so currently.
Rates start at 0.69 per cent for the development exit product, with loans available up to a maximum of 80 per cent loan-to-value (LTV), with maximum loan sizes of £5m. The product is available across terms ranging from three to 18 months.
Gary Bailey (pictured), managing director of Hope Capital, noted that the dual impact of Brexit and Covid-19 meant that developers of all experience levels were facing delays and setbacks. As a result many find themselves in a position where their current loan is coming to an end, but they haven’t yet managed to sell their development.
He continued: “When the sale stalls and the deadline to pay back the loan is missed, this has a huge impact on the profitability of their development, if they are not in a position to tie up the loose ends of their existing finance obligations.
“We recognise this and have created a product which provides brokers and their clients with competitive, flexible and favourable solutions to meet this need and best match their requirements.”
The development exit launch follows Hope Capital’s release of a ‘fast-track’ bridging loan earlier this summer, as well as the appointment of a new operations manager this month.
Masthaven launches its lowest bridging rate as minimum loan falls
The bank’s minimum loan has been cut from £300,000 to £200,000.
For bridging loans at £200,000, rates will start at 0.43 per cent, a decrease of 0.15 per cent marking the bank’s lowest ever bridging rate.
Dual legal representation, where one law firm acts for the lender and the borrower, has been ushered in for bridging deals which Masthaven says will make the legal process smoother and cheaper for borrowers.
Richard Deacon (pictured), sales director at Masthaven, said: “The challenges over the last 18 months, as well as the stamp duty holiday, have all made the traditional homebuying process more difficult and have highlighted the value of bridging finance.
“Today’s changes are designed to cater for this growing demand and allow more customers to access bridging finance solutions easily and at rates close to those we offer on our traditional residential mortgages. Bridging finance is no longer an option of last resort and we’re confident that the product updates we have made today will provide a greater number of customers with the finance that’s right for them.”
Bridging Finance Solutions strengthens BDM team with Adam Wolstenholme hire
Wolstenholme joins the growing team following a ten-year career with large personal finance and commercial lending businesses. He also has experience of the short term lending sector.
Wolstenholme (pictured) said: “I’m really looking forward to getting out and meeting brokers and to be able to discuss our fantastic lending proposition. Long term, I want to significantly increase the amount of work we have within my area, introducing new networks and packagers.”
“My goal is to strengthen brand awareness of BFS and the products and services we offer, whilst bringing new brokers onboard and forging strong relationships, based, most importantly, on trust.”
Steve Barber, managing director of BFS added: “Adam will be a great asset to our business development team. He is astute, keen and ambitious and whilst he already has excellent contacts within the industry he is keen to strengthen his network to support our wider ambitions. We’re really pleased to have him on board.”
United Trust Bank expands its fast track bridging criteria with larger loans and higher LTVs
The updated criteria includes an increase to its maximum loan size, up from £500,000 net to £750,000 net and a rise of the maximum loan to value (LTV) limit from 55 per cent to 60 per cent.
The maximum LTV for automated valuation models (AVMs) also increased to 60 per cent, up from 55 per cent. This will apply across all standard and fast track bridging proposals.
UTB’s bridging division fully launched the service to brokers in February this year. It aims to take bridging loan applications meeting the qualifying criteria through a simplified ‘light touch’ underwriting and administration process to make it even quicker and easier for brokers to get loans approved and paid out.
Brokers can create their own terms, decisions in principles (DIPs) and European Standardised Information Sheet (ESIS) using UTB’s self-service broker portal, or liaise with the in-house fast track team if they prefer.
For example, a customer might require a £350,000 net bridging loan for an auction purchase at £870,000 including a subsale at 43 per cent LTV with an interest rate of 0.48 per cent per month. If the property passed the AVM valuation, then an offer could be issued within 24 hours of application allowing the purchase to be completed ahead of the auction house deadline.
Owen Bentley (pictured) head of sales – bridging, United Trust Bank said: “We’ve been delighted by the response and feedback we’ve had from brokers since launching fast-track to the wider market earlier this year.
“Fast track underlines UTB’s position in the market as a go-to lender for all brokers’ bridging requirements, regardless of complexity.”
Amadeus Wilson, director at SPF Private Clients, added: “Speed and certainty is vital in the bridging business with time pressures on clients increasingly compressed by demanding vendors in this competitive market. UTB’s online portal is quick and easy to use and the fast track process helps us to retain and convert more business.”
Mint Property Finance expands range with high value bridging loan
The high value bridge product has a maximum loan size of £5m and is available up to 70 per cent loan to value (LTV).
It is available on residential kerbside houses and flats, with all borrowers considered. It has no minimum terms and cosmetic works are allowed.
Founder and managing director of Mint Property Finance, Andrew Lazare (pictured), said: “To date, we, along with a lot of our competitors, have been focused on sub-million-pound loans. We are seeing increasing demand for higher value loans particularly within the M25.
“As we continue to significantly grow our business, along with our funding, we are in a position to satisfy that appetite for higher value lending with the launch of our high value bridge; further strengthening our foothold in the South.”
Other products in the range, which it introduced in June, include its standard bridge, available up to 85 per cent LTV and with rates from 0.4 per cent per month.
The range also has a light works product available up to 75 per cent gross development value and a Scotland bridge product for loans from £75,000 and £1m available and rates from 0.4 per cent per month.
First 4 Bridging appoints key account manager and underwriter
Gashi (pictured) has experience in the sales and finance sectors with a focus on specialist lending and private client relationships.
She previously worked at JP Morgan Chase Bank as a lending specialist and Crystal Specialist Finance as a business development manager for corporate sales.
The lender has also appointed Katie Dawes to its underwriting team.
Dawes joins from the Legal Hub Group where she was lending audit manager. She has nine years experience in the finance industry including positions as a case owner at Affirmative Finance and as a case officer at TFC Homeloans.
At F4B, Dawes will be responsible for ensuring cases progress smoothly and service level agreements are reached.
In February 2021, F4B expanded its intermediary proposition with the launch of the F4B Network. This came on the back of demand from advisers who have used the packager’s expertise across the specialist lending markets.
Donna Wells, director at F4B, said further additions would be made to the team as the business expanded.
She added: “The recruitment process is never easy and we are delighted to have attracted two outstanding talents to help accelerate our ambitious growth plans and provide an even stronger level of expertise and support for new and existing intermediary partners.”
Bridging lender Vector Capital targets £100m loan book in two years
The lender, which listed on the Aim in December, reported a year end loan book of £36.4m at the end of 2020, and is predicting a year end loan book size of £40m by the end of this year.
Chief executive officer Agam Jain (pictured) said: “We are still quite small, but we have got an ambitious growth plan, so hopefully in the coming years we will be a bit more prominent.”
He added that there was no need to enter new segments. The lender is focusing on property developers, people buying properties mainly for refurbishment and commercial property.
“From our point of view, there’s lots of opportunities and it is competitive, but you know just by being better and more aggressive we’re going to get our share,” he said.
Jain said that listing was challenging due to the pandemic, adding that the process took around six months.
He said: “It’s not necessarily the easiest way of raising capital, and if people have got connections with private investors of a large enough scale that might not be a motivation for them. But for us, we wanted to go down this road because you know we want to build a brand as well, not just a loan book.”
He added that the pipeline for the business was “very good” and “higher than it has been ever”, but chancellor Rishi Sunak’s upcoming tax announcements on 27 October could have a dampening effect.
Jain said: “If you ask me today, it’s a very good pipeline but it only takes a bit of bad news, especially on taxes, for people that do these projects to feel it’s not worth it anymore. When that happens, then obviously things will change.”
He added: “I think everybody is very optimistic about the economy, particularly in our segment. But I think the next dampener will be when Rishi Sunak announces what he’s going to do about tax.
“We’re on this sort of optimistic gravy train at the moment. I don’t know whether we’ll be able to think, it doesn’t matter, we’re going to pay a bit more [in taxes], but we can still carry on as we are.”
During the pandemic Jain said that there was a “three-month pause” among bridging lenders during the initial lockdown. Most lenders, including Vector Capital, ceased new lending due to uncertainty. The firm restarted new lending at the end of June 2020.
Jain said: “Our industry was less affected than others…because we were lending against property and the property prices didn’t crash in three months. We still had a bit of equity, and then when our borrowers asked for a holiday we were able to be considerate the request and give that.
“We weren’t foregoing the interest, we were just deferring it, it didn’t affect our results that much. As a consequence, we also didn’t actually have any bad debts, which you could have expected.”
He said that the market was still growing but warned that a correction could be on the horizon, as loan to values (LTV) continue to climb.
He explained that twice in the past lenders had gone up to 90 per cent LTV or 100 per cent LTV, with some even going up to 105 per cent LTV as they expected property prices to rise.
Jain said: “We are still trying to play a safe 75 per cent LTV, and the reason for that is there will be a correction at some stage, and you don’t want to be that lender who, in order to grow its loan book and get a bigger market share, went out at 100 per cent or 105 per cent LTV.”
He added: “The market is expanding, there is a lot of opportunity there, but we still think that lenders should be responsible and safe and not over egg the pudding.”
Jain said that recently developers had been struggling with margin, as materials were taking 12 weeks or more to arrive and prices had gone up by between 20 to 30 per cent.
“This means that their project is taking longer to complete, they’ve got more costs and more interest being accrued. Assuming that their expectation that their sale price will hold up, a lot of them are getting very close or borderline.”
He said that to adjust to the changing environment it was important to be supportive, especially if you were working with someone on several projects.
“We have to be supportive for mutual interest. Trying to pull the rug isn’t going to help anybody.”
Some cases had begun to edge up to 90 per cent LTV, he added, but as these clients were doing multiple projects they could offer other security from their portfolio.
Mint Property Finance makes four hires in expansion drive
Joseph Haworth (pictured, middle right) has joined as finance director. He was formerly managing director at private equity group Latium.
Haworth is also currently the director and trustee of Motherwell Cheshire, a charity dedicated to promoting positive mental health and wellbeing in women.
Rachel McIver (pictured, far left) has been hired as portfolio manager and she joined from Lloyds Banking Group where she worked for 19 years. Her most recent position was commercial banking relationship manager, a role she held for 13 years.
The lender has also expanded its underwriting support team with the addition of Samuel Williams and Bethany Clawson (pictured, middle left and far right).
Andrew Lazare, founder and managing director of Mint Property Finance, said: “Investing in the right team is a key part of our growth strategy. As we continue to expand our breadth of market-beating products and our geographic reach both in Scotland and the South, it’s important that we also expand the breadth of our team.
“Joseph, Rachel, Samuel and Bethany, bring to the business not only proven and extensive sector expertise, but a genuine passion and commitment to the industry. They’re incredibly talented and a great fit with our team, we’re delighted to welcome them to the Mint Property Finance family.”
Aspen lowers rates to offset stamp duty in September
Prime residential purchase and refinance bridging products at this tier will now have a rate of 0.64 per cent.
Applications for loans at 75 per cent LTV will now also be considered for the £10m maximum loan size, up from £5m, with terms running from 10 to 18 months.
Additionally, Aspen Bridging has launched a no valuation residential bridge product.
To determine the value of the property, the lender will undertake a remote internal valuation assessment, which is similar to a desktop valuation.
This will be available up to 70 per cent LTV on loans between £400,000 and £1.5m. Rates begin from 0.74 per cent and offer a completion time of up to 10 working days.
Applications are open to UK and overseas borrowers, either individuals or limited companies, for properties across England and Wales.
Jack Coombs (pictured), director at Aspen Bridging, said: “September is traditionally one of our busiest months, and the lower rates offer supported by our product and service proposition is designed to help property professionals as stamp duty fully returns.
“This is also the perfect time to launch our new no valuation product, which continues our focus on meeting borrowers needs for faster completion times.”
Avamore hires Masthaven’s former bridging director to senior role
In his role he will lead the firm’s management team, and he will be a board member and credit committee member. He will also manage strategic initiatives and lead commercial aspects of the business.
Prior to joining Avamore, Margolis worked at Masthaven Bank as its credit and operations director, a role he held for nearly two years, before taking on the position of bridging director in 2019.
Before that he was head of bridging at United Trust Bank for nearly seven years and prior to that, ran his own company, Cheval Property Finance.
Avamore’s co-founder and director Zuhair Mirza said: “Under Alan’s leadership, we believe this team will go from strength to strength, and we expect that Avamore’s lending volumes will increase substantially.
“Alan’s appointment is an important step in Avamore’s evolution as the we look to increase market coverage, drive efficiencies and deliver outstanding customer service for our borrowing and broking partners.”
Michael Dean, fellow co-founder of the business, added: “Alan’s experience and knowhow, combined with his shared cultural values make his appointment something for everyone in the company to be really excited about. It is a significant achievement and milestone for the firm to have attracted such an accomplished industry star.”
He added that there were further senior hires to be announced that would “cement our position as a major player in the development and bridging space”.
Avamore has been expanding its team in recent months, hiring Andy Gray to its origination team, where he will focus on the South West region and Tirath Singh to target the Midlands.
It has also grown its underwriting team with Gili Cohen, who previously worked at Pluto Finance.
The firm surpassed £300m in lending earlier this year, and is targeting further growth in the months to come.