The industry continues to show sustained growth with numbers of transactions and overall deal sizes slightly up compared to the same period last year.
Quarter 4 typically sees a number of ‘urgent’ cases where completion is required before year end. This can prove problematic when trying to arrange valuations and liaise with lawyers. Our experience at BFS is that the more third parties that are introduced to a proposal (contractors or other lenders for example) then the longer these cases can take, therefore, we rely heavily on proactive clients and their lawyers.
Deal size and property values continue to be the fundamental differentiator between northern and southern markets. Business volume tends to be steered towards London ‘specialists’ and we are happy operating in our own space which is typically covered across the Midlands, Wales and North England. It is interesting to note that the number of ‘out of the ground’ property development deals has been markedly up in the North and this is a trend we will see continuing into 2019.
We are now starting to see more enquiries for bridging loans and development finance in the Midlands and Wales. This is largely derived from our local BDM, Keith Litherland. Keith joined the team earlier this year and he is now firmly embedded within our business, has a sound understanding of where we can assist customers and this is reflected in the deal flow from the Midlands.
For 2019, I believe economic and political uncertainty will continue to have a considerable impact particularly during the first half of next year. The property market is sensitive to a number of factors, not just fluctuations in interest rates, so we will be aware of any early warning signs that may affect pricing and demand. At BFS, we have always priced in line with risk and kept LTV’s at a sensible level to enable us to react quickly to any future developments.
Moving into the new year, we are very keen to continue our linear growth by playing on our strengths in this industry and focussing on what makes us unique. We will continue to champion the small developer by funding more sub £1m developments which we see very much as a prime driver of the wider economy, focusing on the northern market and using technology to enhance and strengthen our products and customer service offering.
Head of Sales at Bridging Finance Solutions