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Activity in the bridging market reached record levels in Q3 with completions rising by over 40% and applications hitting an all-time high, the Association of Short-Term Lenders (ASTL) has revealed.

The latest figures from its members show applications totalled £7.6 billion in Q3 2020, representing an increase of 39.1% over the previous quarter and an increase of 25.7% on the same period in 2019.

Completions in Q3 2020 were £680 million, which was an increase of 44.8% on Q2, although still down by 27.6% on the same period last year. This reflected the influence of the first national lockdown on the previous quarter’s originations activity, the ASTL said.

Loan books showed a small increase of 0.6% on the previous quarter and 5% on the same period last year – remaining at around £4.5 billion. While average LTVs increased slightly since Q2, but continue to remain at sub-60%

The value of loans in default showed a small increase of 3.3% over Q2 2020 but were 23.1% higher than the same period last year, as borrowers continued to feel the financial impact of the pandemic.

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Vic Jannels, CEO of the ASTL says: “The Q3 lending figures from the ASTL reflect feedback from the market demonstrating that this has been a hugely busy period for bridging lending.

“Applications over the quarter totalled £7.6 billion, which is the highest figure we have ever recorded. Completions also bounced back on the previous quarter but remain down on last year as an overhang of the first national lockdown.

“We’re unlikely to see this overhang again as the market remained open during the second lockdown – but we must still remain cautious about the future, as the road ahead remains full of economic uncertainty.

“That said, if the recent positive news about vaccines come to fruition and lenders continue to underwrite loans sensibly, whilst taking a proactive and collaborative approach to customers in default, then there is no reason why this quarter’s figures should not prove a strong foundation for a robust and sustainable recovery.”

Source: Mortgage Finance Gazette

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