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Commercial Finance – Business Interruption Loans and COVID

How COVID-19 Has Impacted Commercial Finance

The COVID-19 pandemic has left a lasting impact on many aspects of life, from restrictions on social lives, to businesses going into administration. Even though the UK economy is now experiencing a period of positive growth, mainly due to the pace of the vaccination programme, the financial impact of the pandemic is still very visible.

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Shortly after the first lockdown restrictions came into place, lenders were quick to tighten their lending criteria, to try and protect themselves from the expected risk of higher unemployment levels and people struggling to pay off mortgages and loans.

Commercial finance was affected in a similar way, with so many businesses being forced to close during lockdown, the commercial finance landscape lurched into unknown territory.

Many businesses were provided with financial support in the form of furloughing, business interruption loans and bounce back loans but others were unable to apply for these. Some lenders offered holiday payments for commercial finance, so there were numerous financial support options in place to try and help struggling businesses survive the pandemic.


Commercial Mortgages UK Adverse Credit and BTL

As an independent UK Commercial Mortgage Broker we carefully examine all the Buy-to-Let mortgage offers from leading whole of market lenders across the UK. You will benefit from low interest rates, lenient eligibility criteria and a simplified procedure. You also have the choice of Second Charge Mortgages, Adverse Credit Mortgages for individuals with crediting challenges, to straightforward Residential Mortgages for your own home.

With the reassurance of attractive Mortgage Protection Insurancee options, we also offer specialist mortgage broker services such as self-employed Contractor Mortgages, Expat Mortgages, home loans and Sharia Mortgages, to commercial Serviced Accommodation Finance from holiday homes to Property Investors, Developers and existing Homeowners.

Business Loan Applications – UK’s Changing Priorities

The priority for the government was to assist existing businesses, rather than helping new businesses to launch, which was highlighted by the financial support options that were made available. Startup loans were still available from some lenders but it was now harder for many would-be entrepreneurs to access loans.

In the UK, many people use startup business loans to buy the equipment and pay for other essentials when they start up a business. With the economic downturn, many lenders have withdrawn products from the market and tighter lending criteria was applied.

However, the Bank of England cut interest rates down to 0.1% which meant that some of the new business loan interest rates have been more attractive for startup business owners, but there is a more comprehensive set of lending criteria to enable lenders to manage risk in the unstable climate.

COVID Government finance support schemes for businesses

To assist existing businesses who had been adversely affected by coronavirus, the government introduced the following schemes to support cashflow during this challenging period:

Interest-Free Business and Commercial Loans

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS)

SME businesses have been able to access business interruption loans for lost revenue and cashflow disruptions. The CBILS was also made available to businesses whose growth requirement could not be supported under standard bank lending criteria. Under the scheme, businesses who had been adversely affected by the pandemic could apply for loans of up to £5million.

The first 12 months of the loan is interest-free and the interest rates after a year for the CBILS scheme were set by the lenders. Some lenders provided the loans with an interest rate as low as 1.4%, while at the higher end of the scale, some lenders were offering the loans with a 8.9% interest rate. Terms were available for up to 10 years.

To encourage more lending, the government also guaranteed loan repayments, with the borrower being fully liable for the debt.

Lenders were able to provide the following finance under the CBILS scheme:

  • Term loans
  • Overdrafts
  • Invoice finance
  • Asset finance

Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) SME and Sole Trader Businesses

The Bounce Back Loan was aimed to support smaller businesses and sole traders, to provide them quick access to financial support. The scheme allowed businesses to borrow between £2,000 and up to 25% of their turnover (to a maximum of £50,000). For the first 12 months, there is no interest to pay and following that first year a rate of 2.5% would be applied.

The maximum loan length for the BBLS was six years and this scheme also came with a guarantee to the lender from the government for the repayment, with the borrower remaining liable for the debt.

Pay As You Grow (PAYG) Business Support

For businesses who took out the BBLS, the option for PAYG was later introduced to provide further support, allowing:

  • An extension of the loan term from six years up to 10 years, remaining at 2.5% interest rate.
  • Reduction of monthly payments by paying interest-only for six months. This could be requested up to three times throughout the term of the loan.
  • A repayment holiday of up to six months, which was only available once during the term.

Other financial support provided to businesses included:

Job Retention Scheme – Paid in the form of grants to pay 80% of the salaries of furloughed employees.

New Restart Grants – A one-off cash grant of up to £18,000 for businesses re-opening from April 2021, including pubs, hotels, restaurants, gyms, salons and clubs.

Business Rates Holidays – Business rates were cancelled for all retail, leisure and hospitality businesses for the tax year 2020-21 and up to June 2021, with a discounted rate for the remainder of the tax year.

Recovery Loan Scheme – This has replaced the BBLS and allows businesses to apply for between £25,000 and £10m. The government has given lenders an 80% guarantee for these loan repayments.

There have also been other schemes for different types of businesses, some made available through local authorities.

Commercial Finance Landscape Has Changed – Conclusion

COVID-19 has completely changed the landscape for commercial finance, particularly as the government has been compelled to step in to help save businesses from closure or building up unmanageable debts.

Lenders have been able to provide loans under the schemes with the security of knowing that the repayments are guaranteed by the government, which has helped them to continue providing finance to businesses when the risk to them is extremely high.

The success of the UK vaccination programme has already had a significant impact on economic recovery in the UK and the combination of this, along with the support that the government has provided will certainly have saved many businesses which otherwise would have gone into administration.

Experts are predicting that over the next few years should hopefully see a shift back towards the type of commercial finance products that were available pre-COVID, albeit with stricter lending criteria until we see a full economic recovery.

Commercial Finance Network is a specialist Commercial Finance Broker offering all types of commercial finance to SMEs along with individual investors. Get in touch today via either our Contact Form or call us on 03303 112 646.

Commercial Business Finance – The Rise of AI In The Banking and Lending Circles

June, 2017 archives: “Artificial intelligence can help people make faster, better, and cheaper decisions. But you have to be willing to collaborate with the machine, and not just treat it as either a servant or an overlord,” says Anand Rao, PwC Innovation Lead, Analytics.

The quote neatly sums up our relationship with AI technology. Although we appreciate its potential, we feel edgy about its power and possibilities. However, despite this, it’s pervading our lives as consumers, whether we like it or not. Every time we receive a marketing email or product recommendation, we can be sure the algorithms have been at work and we are far from the random target.

Despite its image of being cautious and conservative, the banking industry as a whole appears to have had few qualms about adopting the technology – and it seems that, as consumers, we are happy with this. A mammoth survey of around 33,000 consumers by Accenture found that more than 70 percent of us would be willing to receive computer-generated banking advice. “Automated servicing can be the sole source of data from some customers, even when making complex decisions around products,” says the report.

One of the main uses of AI so far has been in customer service. Chatbots are becoming the de facto alternative to banking apps. This use AI to simulate conversion through written or spoken text. Just as Amazon has humanised its digital assistant by calling it Alexa, so has the Nordic banking group Swedbank created ‘Nina’. This chatbot is clearly popular; within three months of being deployed, Nina was averaging around 30,000 conversations per month.

However, this is the sharp end of AI – the human/machine interface mainly used in the consumer-facing world of retail banks. But how does – or will – AI play out in a commercial finance environment?

The business sector is understandably more cautious, prudent perhaps, about adopting new technologies until they have matured. But as millennials take up more senior roles in the commercial banking world, they will be increasingly pushing for the rich functionality they know as consumers to also be integrated into their working environment.

Today, we are seeing signs that adoption rates of AI-based technology are set to take off in business banking too. More and more banks are borrowing retail banking experience to build out their commercial and business strategies. But while the focus of its use in the retail banking world has mainly been for customer service and sales applications, in commercial banking, use cases (initially at least) are likely to be more around streamlining operational processes.

In a sense, AI as it stands today, in this environment is all about automation, about making processes faster and more efficient. And there are a raft of applications here where automation is having a hugely positive impact.

Take the introduction of digital expenses platforms and integrated payments tools, both of which have the potential to significantly improve a business’s approach to how it manages cash flow. By having an immediate oversight, through live reporting of all spending from business cards and invoice payments, as well as balances and credit limits across departments and individuals, businesses can foresee potential problems more quickly and react accordingly. All these services become even more powerful when combined with technologies like machine learning, data analytics and task automation.

We are already seeing growing instances of AI and automation being used to streamline payment processes in banks. Cards can be cancelled or at least suspended quickly and easily and without the need to contact the issuing bank, while invoices can also be automated, to streamline business payments. This means businesses can effectively keep hold of money longer and at the same time pay creditors more quickly. Moving beyond straightforward invoice processing, intelligent payment systems can be deployed to maximise this use of company credit lines automatically.

Looking ahead, we see a string of applications for AI in the payments management field around analysing data with the end objective of spotting anomalies in it. With the short and frequent batches of payments data used within most enterprises today, it is unlikely that even the best-trained administrator would be able to spot transactions that were out of the normal pattern. The latest AI technology could be used here to tease out anomalies and pinpoint unusual patterns or trends in spending that could then be investigated and addressed.

While this area remains in its infancy within the banking and financial services sector, with technology advancing, financial services organisations and the enterprise customers they deal with will in the future will be well placed to make active use of AI that will help clients track not just what they have been spending historically but also to predict what they are likely to spend in the future. AI will ultimately enable businesses to move from reactive historical reporting to proactive anticipation of likely future trends.

Source: Russell Bennett, chief technology officer, Fraedom

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UK housing hitting record price peaks on pandemic demand

UK housing market – Property prices in the UK are hitting record peaks this summer as Britons seek more space as the pandemic lingers, courtesy of demand stimulated also by temporary tax cuts.

The average sale price rose by 5.4 percent to a record $320,000 in June from a year earlier, lifted also by a supply shortage of listings according to website Zoopla. That was almost a third higher than the previous market peak in 2007, before the onset of the global financial crisis, it added.

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Prices won solid support as swathes of the nation switched to teleworking during the Covid-19 outbreak, ramping up demand for larger homes.

Zoopla cautioned however that demand growth is currently flagging for smaller apartments.

“Demand for houses is still outstripping demand for flats,” said Grainne Gilmore, head of research at Zoopla.

Gilmore noted that the jump in prices was also in part a result of temporary cuts to stamp duty, or taxes on home sales.

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“But underneath this, there is a continued drum-beat of demand for more space among buyers, both inside and outside, funnelling demand towards houses, resulting in stronger price growth for these properties,” she added.

To boost Britain’s virus-ravaged economy, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government introduced a raft of costly stimulus measures earlier this year.

Those measures included temporary reductions in the levels of stamp duty. That programme is set to be wound down at the end of September.

Source: Khmer Times

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UK buy-to-let has ‘defied gravity’ through Covid-19, says S&P

The UK buy-to-let (BTL) market remained resilient through the Covid-19 pandemic and has features that could help it remain buoyant, says S&P Global Ratings in a new report.

Amid the pandemic-related lockdowns, private sector UK rental arrears reached 9.0 per cent by the end of 2020, but the S&P RMBS post-2014 originations buy-to-let (BTL) index recorded total delinquencies no higher than 0.5 per cent.

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“Diversification in terms of property and borrowers, the increasingly professional nature of BTL, and generally high debt servicing ratios has helped buy-to-let performance remain resilient,” says S&P Global Ratings credit analyst Alastair Bigley.

For post-2014 originations, approximately 50 per cent of properties at a portfolio level could be in rental arrears in the short term before it would affect debt service and cause a significant spike in arrears.

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Ultimately, Covid-19 represented a shock to only one risk factor that determines BTL performance – tenant affordability – while other factors such as the prevailing interest rate environment and house prices were supportive.

“Looking forward, although peak stress for landlords may be argued to be over, the recent prominence of 95 per cent owner-occupied lending may facilitate some renters to become buyers and change the supply-and-demand dynamics for certain properties, and make some properties harder to rent,” says Bigley.

Source: Property Funds World

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Remortgage completions fall 5% while instructions rise

The volume of remortgage completions fell by 5% in June, according to the LMS Monthly Remortgage Snapshot.

However, while remortgage completions slowed, instruction volumes increased by 16.% over the same timeframe.

The overall cancellation rate decreased by 0.45% to 6.01%, while pipeline cases rose by 11% in June.

The average monthly payment decrease for those who remortgaged was £200, and the average monthly mortgage increase was £261.

A total of 42% of borrowers increased their loan size and 49% of those who remortgaged took out a 5-year fixed rate product, which was the most popular product length.

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More than a third (36%) of remortgagers said their primary aim was to release equity from their property.

The average loan increase post-remortgage was £21,586, whilst the average loan decrease was £12,217.

The average remortgage loan amount in London and the South East was £283,685, while the average for the rest of the UK stood at £143,220; this puts remortgage loan amounts 98% higher in London and the South East than the rest of England and Wales.

The longest previous mortgage length was found in the North East at 84.36 months (7.03 years) and the shortest was in the West Midlands at 62.59 months (5.2 years), meaning that the longest was 35% longer than the shortest.

Nick Chadbourne said: “Steady activity and easing restrictions continued to improve lender confidence in June which gave borrowers greater product choice and better deals.

“However, instructions were still not as high as we would expect in the lead up to the large number of [early repayment charge (ERC)] expiries in July.

“This means that many borrowers who are remortgaging are opting for a product transfer.

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“As low interest rates are still in place across the board, staying with the same lender may give borrowers a cheaper rate than switching, but it is still important that borrowers shop around to ensure they are getting the best deal possible.

“As the purchase market continues to boom, supply is the only factor which might slow it down.

“The end of the stamp duty holiday will have had some impact, but the key drivers to move out of cities, find green space and upsize are all still there to drive demand.

“Until supply is properly addressed, inflated house prices and competitive mortgage rates are expected to stay.

“We expect to see more borrowers opting to stay put in this environment, boosting remortgage activity and contributing to a healthy pipeline in the coming months.”

By Jake Carter

Source: Mortgage Introducer

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Rightmove: 68% of homes have found a buyer

Nearly seven in 10 homes (68%) across Great Britain have found a buyer in the current market, the highest percentage recorded over the past 10 years, according to Rightmove.

The analysis of over 13 million listings tracked the journey of a property going up for sale to being marked sold subject to contract; sales that fell through and went on to secure a buyer again were only counted once.

Looking between 2012 and early 2020, 53% of homes found a buyer on average, with the other 47% either being withdrawn from sale or staying on the market.

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Scotland has the highest sales rate in Great Britain at 89%, while London saw the lowest with just under half (48%) of homes being sold.

The top 10 places where people were most likely to successfully sell their home are all in Scotland, with the top three being Falkirk (94%), East Dunbartonshire (94%) and South Lanarkshire (93%)

Outside of Scotland the top three are Sheffield (83%), Craven (81%) and Chorley (81%), while the areas with the lowest sales rate are Westminster (22%), Kensington & Chelsea (25%), and Camden (28%)

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Tim Bannister, director of property data at Rightmove, said: “There’s been a much greater chance of a seller finding a buyer over the past year, which really highlights the sheer number of people who have been determined to move.

“While the long-term average shows that typically around half of properties sell, the increase in 2021 reflects the frenzied buyer activity we’ve seen in the current market, driven by multiple factors such as pent up demand and changing priorities.

“This efficiency in the market means agents are operating on limited stock, and they need more homes to satisfy all types of buyers.

“We’ve seen from previous research that Scotland often contains the most likely areas to find a buyer, and London the least, however the broader numbers are reflective of the trend we’ve been seeing all year, which is that buyers have widened their scope, and the popularity of every area in Great Britain is increasing.”

By Jake Carter

Source: Mortgage Introducer

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UK mortgage borrowing hits a record in June

UK mortgage borrowing hit a record £17.9bn in June as homebuyers raced to complete purchases before the stamp duty holiday started to taper off, Bank of England figures showed.

The net figure was well ahead of the previous record of £11.5bn set in March. There was no large increase in the number of mortgage approvals in recent months, suggesting a shorter time between a lender approving a mortgage and completion.

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Approvals for house purchases fell in June to 81,300 from 86,900 a month earlier. June’s figure was the lowest since July 2020 when the housing market reopened and Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a sharp, temporary cut in stamp duty for house purchases in England.

Sunak’s cut, which finishes completely at the end of September, helped fuel a frenzy in the housing market as buyers scrambled to capitalise on the reduction. However, the resulting increase in property prices meant most of the gain went to sellers. Households have also been moving house after rethinking their needs with working from home becoming the norm for many.

Read about the UK Housing Market via our Specialist Residential & Buy to Let Division

The interest rate paid on newly drawn mortgages rose to 1.95% from 1.9% a month earlier and 1.72% in August 2020.

Consumer borrowing remained low as individuals took on £0.3bn of debt in June. Households repaid an average of £1.9bn a month from March 2020 to February 2021. Households deposited an extra £9.8bn with banks and building societies in June, down from an average of £14.7bn in the six months to May and a peak of £27.4bn that month.

By Sean Farrell

Source: ShareCast

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UK house prices fell slightly in July, says Nationwide

House prices in the UK experienced a 0.5% fall in the month to July, following the record highs seen in June.

The Nationwide House Price Index for July shows annual growth was still significant at 10.5%, but down from the 17-year high of 13.4% a month earlier.

The average UK house price now stands at £244,229, compared to £245,432 in June.

Nationwide chief economist Robert Gardner says the modest fallback in July was “unsurprising given the significant gains recorded in recent months”, adding that house prices increased by an average of 1.6% a month over the April to June period – more than six times the average monthly gain recorded in the five years before the pandemic.

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Gardner says higher priced properties have been driving the increase in housing market activity, with Land Registry data indicating that the number of transactions involving properties bought for £500,000 or higher increased by 37% over the 12 months to March 2021, compared to a rise of 2% for all properties.

“As a result, between Q1 2020 and Q1 2021 the share of transactions involving a property valued at £500,000 or above has increased from 12% to 18%,” says Gardner.

While stamp duty was a significant contributor to UK house prices, the Nationwide data finds the main driver of transactions was from those who would have moved regardless of whether the tax holiday had been in place.

“Amongst homeowners surveyed at the end of April that were either moving home or considering a move, three quarters said this would have been the case even if the stamp duty holiday had not been extended beyond the original March 2021 deadline,” says Gardner.

“Shifting housing preferences appear to have been the more important factor in driving the increase in housing market activity, with people reassessing their housing needs in the wake of the pandemic.”

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Together director of sales Sundeep Patel says: “Despite house price growth slightly cooling off, we’re still seeing double digits. Indeed, while the stamp duty holiday and cheap mortgage deals boosted prices, the growing shortage of available stock, and the fact that property continues to be sold for more than the asking price, threatens the opportunity for those not already on the ladder to find something affordable this year. There is a concern that first-time buyers may struggle to even get a look in, as deposit-rich buyers such as landlords and home movers snap up properties.

“There’s an increasingly a race for space as well, as we see potential buyers are also showing more of an interest in houses over flats and apartments – largely triggered by the desire to have more living space and a garden as we settle into hybrid working, and come to realise the fact that many of us will be spending significantly more time at home for the foreseeable”.

By Bek Commane

Source: Mortgage Finance Gazette

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Buy-to-let remortgaging is on the up

As we emerge out of the latest Covid lockdown we are seeing an increase in interest around remortgaging in the buy-to-let market.

BTL is a buoyant sector, you only have to look at the number of lenders who specialise in it as a well as most mainstream lenders. There is certainly choice for borrowers and rates are competitive.

The BTL sector has increased every year from 2009 to 2019, representing a decade of growth following the global financial crisis.

In 2008 there were 114,740 BTL remortgages but in 2009 cases fell sharply to 32,850 as a result of the GFC. In monetary terms the drop off was £14.61bn down to £3.39bn in 2009.

The figures from UK Finance show how the BTL market has grown since then and in 2019 remortgaging peaked at 187,900 loans with a value of £31.1bn.

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Then the Covid pandemic came along and led to a fall in all lending with BTL remortgaging numbers going down to 163,300 in 2020 and a subsequent fall in value to £27bn.

But we are seeing a pick-up now with Q1 2021 rising compared to the previous quarter as 39,700 loans were issued at a value of £6.9bn.

Remortgaging for equity

These figures resonate with us as we are also seeing a rise in remortgaging especially for people wanting to take out more equity.

Talking to our underwriters, most borrowers want to use the extra money for further property investment. I would say this applies to around 70% of our landlord customers. A large chunk of our mortgage book is portfolio landlords, but it is also smaller landlords who are wanting to grow their investment property business.

There is a combination of factors here as to why that is. The stamp duty holiday has had an influence on landlords buying more property as there has been less tax to pay. Some landlords brought their buying plans forward to take advantage of the tax break.

Another influential factor is that house prices have been rising, therefore LTVs are lower, and more equity can be taken out. Coupled with the fact that many five-year fixes maturing this year, we expect remortgaging to continue an upward trajectory going forward.

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Home improvements

The other reason for borrowers taking out equity on their remortgage is for home improvements, and this applies to around 20% of our customer base. Some are using void periods to spruce up their properties, others are making repairs, but a newer reason has been to make properties more energy efficient.

Since 2018 all rental properties must have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of at least E, but the government has its sights on all homes being rated C or above by 2030.

Astute landlords have been making improvements with changes such as cavity wall and loft insulation and installing new condensing boilers. But others are going further by replacing windows with double or triple window glazing and even installing solar panels.

We expect more landlords will want to improve their EPC ratings and quite a few lenders now are offering green mortgages as an incentive for them to do this, including ourselves. In our case, discounted rates are given for properties with EPC ratings of A, B or C.

By Paul Brett

Source: Mortgage Strategy

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House prices set to continue rising as supply shrinks

Residential house prices will increase by 9% this year as the market is driven by the extended stamp duty holiday and the impact of repeated lockdowns, Savills has predicted.

The estate agent has upgraded its expectations from the 4% annual price growth it predicted in March, prior to the chancellor’s stamp duty holiday extension.

Savills still expect property values to rise by 21.5% over the next five years, in line with previous forecasts, as price inflation eases following the removal of incentives.

Price growth continues to be fuelled by historic low mortgage rates, along with greater demand from buyers for properties with more space and greenery following months of lockdowns.

However, the company says that the shape of growth over the next four years is more difficult to forecast precisely given the extraordinary conditions of the past 18 months.

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“Some of the growth generated by the extraordinary market conditions of 2020 and 2021 could unwind at times during 2022, but we see nothing on the horizon that would trigger a major house price correction,” said Lucian Cook, Savills head of residential research.

Savills mainstream house price forecasts and economic assumptions:

202120222023202420255yr Total
UK9.0%3.5%3.0%2.5%2.0%21.5%
London7.0%2.0%1.5%1.0%0.5%12.4%
Base rate0.1%0.1%0.1%0.3%0.5%
Unemployment (UK)6.0%4.6%4.0%3.7%3.6%
Annual Income Growth (UK)0.8%0.0%4.1%3.9%3.8%17.2%
Source: Savills, Oxford Economics

Cook continued “New buyer demand continues to outweigh supply despite the potential stamp duty saving falling from £15,000 at June 30 to just £2,500 until the end of September, and this against low levels of supply.

“This imbalance looks set to continue,  underpinning further price growth over the near term, particularly as people look to lock into current low interest rates.  But such strong growth in 2021 will leave less capacity for growth over the next few years, particularly as interest rates are expected to rise a little earlier than leading commentators had previously projected.

“The rate at which interest rates rise will also shape price growth. A steeper than anticipated jump in rates would restrict growth, although it would have to be severe to lead to actual falls in values – an outside risk in our view.”

Interest rate rises are critical to the forecasts, Savills says. The forecasts assume a Bank of England base rate no higher than 0.5% by the end of 2025.

A number of other key factors point to what Cook describes as a ‘soft landing’ for the market, rather than any dramatic correction in property values. 

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Since the market reopened last year, price growth has been driven in large part by more affluent buyers, less reliant on mortgage debt and able to lock into low fixed interest rates. More generally, the pace of economic recovery has helped reduce unemployment levels, stress testing of lending is now embedded in the system, while interest rate rises are still expected to be slow and modest by the end of 2025, meaning a gradual squeeze on affordability.

These factors underpin Savills five-year forecasts, but they also indicate limited capacity for further price growth at the end of this period, without substantially affecting who is able to buy and the number of potential transactions. 

First-time buyers are likely to be increasingly reliant on government schemes and, where available, on the generosity of the bank of mum and dad, according to Savills. 

After a strong start to the year, and over 200,000 transactions in June alone, transaction volumes are projected to total 1.62m this, more than a third – 35% – higher than the yearly average over the five years pre-pandemic.

Savills continues to expect the markets of the Midlands and the North of England to show the strongest house price growth, due to greater capacity for growth before hitting affordability ceilings.  In the short term, however, buyer attention is expected to turn back towards urban markets, including London, as social distancing restrictions and international travel restrictions ease.

This will see the ratio of regional to UK average values slowly converge over the next five years, as the lower value regions see stronger growth, “catching up” with the rest of the country.

 202120222023202420255 years to 2025Av value* Dec 2020Forecast value end 2025
UK9.00%3.50%3.00%2.50%2.00%21.50%£230,920£280,568
North West10.50%4.50%4.00%3.50%3.00%28.00%£176,925£226,464
Yorkshire & The Humber10.50%4.50%4.00%3.50%3.00%28.00%£172,326£220,577
Wales10.00%4.00%4.00%3.50%3.00%26.80%£169,846£215,365
Scotland9.50%4.00%3.50%3.00%2.50%24.40%£156,768£195,019
North East8.00%4.00%3.50%3.50%3.00%23.90%£137,531£170,401
East Midlands9.00%4.00%3.50%3.00%2.50%23.90%£200,951£248,978
West Midlands9.00%4.00%3.50%3.00%2.50%23.90%£207,603£257,220
South West8.50%3.50%3.00%2.50%2.00%20.90%£264,512£319,795
South East9.00%3.00%2.50%2.00%1.50%19.10%£336,984£401,348
East of England8.00%3.00%2.50%2.00%1.50%18.00%£310,240£366,083
London*7.00%2.00%1.50%1.00%0.50%12.40%£486,562£546,896
Source: Savills (*Nationwide)

By MARC DA SILVA

Source: Property Industry Eye

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IMLA: “Housing and Mortgage Recovery Will Remain Robust.”

The Intermediary Mortgage Lenders Association (IMLA) has today published its report on the impact of Covid on the UK housing and mortgage market – one year on. This latest report notes the continued strength of the housing market, despite the challenges presented by the pandemic, and predicts that gross mortgage lending will reach £285 billion this year.

In January, IMLA’s New Normal report predicted a rise in gross mortgage lending to £283 billion in 2021, with a swift return to household spending as Covid-19 lockdown restrictions were eased. However, IMLA’s latest report has revised this figure, increasing it to £285 billion – the highest level of mortgage lending since 2007.

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The predictions follow data which show a surge in mortgage lending, stimulated by the strength of the housing market. During the first five months of 2021, lending for house purchase was not only 87 per cent above the same period the previous year, but 51 per cent above the same period in 2019. And while remortgage activity has been weaker, the number of product transfers has risen to record levels.

In light of the high levels of market activity brought forward by the Stamp Duty holiday, however, IMLA has also revised its forecast for gross lending in 2022, reducing it slightly from £286 billion to £280 billion.

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The report, which makes a series of predictions about the market over the coming year, forecasts that house prices will be broadly flat in the second half of 2021 but will rise 1.6 per cent in 2022. House prices have risen as a result of the Stamp Duty holiday, but the report predicts that a more subdued picture can be expected after the holiday fully ends in September.

Kate Davies, executive director of IMLA, said: “Following a difficult period in the wake of the coronavirus crisis, it is very encouraging to see yet another positive prediction for the remainder of 2021. Our findings forecast that 2021 will see the highest level of mortgage lending since 2007 and, with a combination of Government support helping to underpin new purchases and a bumper year for product maturities, we expect this high demand to continue. However, with the Stamp Duty holiday soon coming to an end, and the Help to Buy scheme due to conclude in 2023, there is still a need for a coherent, long-term housing strategy from the Government that embraces the public as well as the private sectors – and delivers a market that meets Britain’s housing needs for the decades to come.”

BY PETE CARVILL

Source: Property Wire

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What Can Bridging Loans Be Used For?

Bridging Loan Uses

Sometimes you might need to access money quickly to buy a property and you cannot wait for the lengthy process of a mortgage application or a house sale, so you look for alternative finance options. One solution could be to borrow money from someone you know but if that is not an option, the next consideration is usually to apply for a Bridging Loan.

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What is a Bridging Loan?

A Bridging Loan is a short-term finance loan that can be used for a number of different reasons. It is commonly used to buy a property while an existing property is in the process of being sold but will not go through in time for the money to be available. It could also be used when someone buys a house at auction and they do not have the time to get a mortgage as they need to pay the seller quickly.

Another reason someone might choose to apply for a bridging loan is if they want to pay for urgent renovation work while they wait for a remortgage application to go through. Bridging Loans are frequently used by Property Investors but people who are not investors can also use it if they are in a situation that requires quick finance.

Types of Bridging Loans

There are two types of Bridging Loan:

Closed Bridging Loans

Closed Bridging Loans have a fixed date for the loan to be repaid. Typically, this will be used if you have exchanged contracts and are waiting for your property sale to complete. It may be that there has been a delay that means your mortgage loan is not ready yet. With this type of bridging loan, the lender will want to know exactly how you are going to repay the loan, for example, through sale of your property.

Open Bridging Loans

With an Open Bridging Loan there is no set date for repayment but most lenders would require it to be paid within a year, as it is only ever intended to be a short term finance solution. When you take out a bridging loan, you do not have to have a specific exit plan, such as the sale of a property.

Bridging Loans will usually have higher interest rates that standard loans, due to the quick solution that they provide. They are often referred to as gap financing because they are filling the gap until another finance option is available.

Who can use Bridging Loans?

Bridging Loans can be used by individuals or by businesses, provided that they meet the required criteria. Some Bridging Loans will require the applicant to have some type of collateral as part of the loan agreement, such as property.

How Businesses use Bridging Loans

Businesses often use Bridging Loans for reasons other than buying commercial property via a Commercial Bridging Loan. They sometimes use it to cover costs such as paying tax bills while waiting for another finance solution. Some business owners use a bridging loan to purchase another business in a takeover, or they might cover the costs of a development project.

Bridge Loans for Property

In some situations, a homebuyer may need to take out a bridging loan to pay for their new property while they wait for their existing property sale to go through. If there is a delay in the sale, to avoid their purchase falling through, they can arrange bridging finance to ensure it goes through.

There are fairly strict lending criteria for this type of bridging loan use and the applicant would have to have excellent credit ratings as well as a low debt-to-income ratio. Another part of the criteria that lenders usually require is that the bridge loan is only up to 80% of the combined value of the two properties, which means that the applicant must have a large amount of equity in their property.

If the applicant does have a bridging loan approved in this type of scenario, the mortgages for the two houses are rolled together.

Property investors and Bridging Loans

Many property investors use Bridging Loans to enable them to build up their property portfolio. When they are buying property at an auction, a quick way to finance the purchase is through a bridging loan but they also use bridging finance to buy properties on the market too. Often, property investors will need property purchases to go through as quickly as possible so that they can get tenants into rented property.

Another way that property investors sometimes use Bridging Loans is if they want to buy a property and refurb it and then sell it on for a higher value than they bought it for. This process is called flipping and a short-term loan is ideal as once the property is purchased, they will spend a few months on the refurbishment and then quickly sell the property on.

Experienced property investors are usually quite likely to get approved for a bridging loan because they will have accumulated a lot of collateral in their property portfolio.

How does a Bridging Loan work?

The way that a bridging loan usually works is that a ‘charge’ is placed on your property. This ‘charge’ is a legal agreement that determines which lenders would get paid first if you were to miss payments on your loan and fall into arrears. If you own your property, then the bridging loan would be your first charge but if you still had a mortgage on your property, the loan would be a second charge.

If you are unable to make the payments on your bridging loan, your property could be sold to pay the loan back to the lender.

Is a Bridging Loan expensive?

Generally, a bridging loan will cost more than a standard mortgage because it is a short-term arrangement and the lenders will want to make enough money from the short period of interest to make it profitable for them.

The fees are usually charged on a monthly basis, rather than an annual basis due to the loans usually only running for a number of months. A monthly fee might be somewhere between 0.5% and 1.5% per month, costing considerably more over a year than an average mortgage interest rate.

When you take out a bridging loan, you will also need to consider that there will be a set-up fee for the product, which will be around 2% of the loan, which can obviously end up being a very high amount if you are taking out a large bridging loan.

How much could I borrow with a Bridging Loan?

This varies massively depending on the applicant’s financial circumstances and amount of collateral. The criteria will also differ depending on the lender but a large number of lenders will only lend up to 75% loan-to-value of the applicant’s property. In certain circumstances, if the client has sufficient equity in other properties, then a 100% bridging finance can be provided.

If you are able to take out a first charge loan, because you have no outstanding mortgage on your property, you will usually be able to borrow more than if you are taking out a second charge loan.

Is a Bridging Loan the right option for me?

A bridging loan can be the ideal solution for many people but there are disadvantages to consider too. These are the main pros and cons to be aware of:

Pros and Cons of Bridging Loans

The main Pros of taking out a Bridging Loan include:

  • Fast access to money
  • Able to borrow a large sum of money
  • Protect property chains
  • Enable projects to go-ahead which otherwise wouldn’t
  • Flexible

The main Cons of Bridging Loans are:

  • The interest rates are usually high
  • You will usually pay a large fee for the set-up of the loan
  • By securing the loan against your property, your property is at risk

When you are deciding whether a Bridging Loan is the right option for your circumstances, you should review all of the different options that are available. For example, if you are buying a new property before your existing property sells, you might be able to take out a Buy-to-Let mortgage instead.

However, if you are looking for an option that enables you to have access to money straight away, either to purchase a property, pay tax bills or pay for property renovations, then a bridging loan may be a better option.

Many property investors and property developers use Bridging Loans as a way to get started and then once they have made enough capital, they can stop using Bridging Loans to avoid paying the higher interest rates that typically come with this type of finance solution.

It is a good idea to get financial advice from an expert before you consider taking out any type of financial product. At Commercial Finance Network, as the UK’s leading Bridging Finance Broker, we can provide free expert guidance and advice on Bridging Loans and can help you to find the right type of finance to suit your needs. As a truly independent Bridging Finance Broker, we also have access to all of the UK’s Bridging Finance Lenders, so we can most certainly secure you the best deal and rates available in the market. If you are interested in any our Bridging Finance services or you want to know how our services could potentially assist in moving your project forward to the next step, speak with one of our Specialist Bridging Brokers today on 03303 112 646 or else request a callback via our Quick Enquiry form below.

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