"With the ASTL reporting a record number of applications among their membership, it’s clear that bridging finance is still very much on an upward trajectory."
Annual bridging lending totalled £5.5bn for the first quarter of 2019, a slight decrease on the previous quarter, according to the latest West One Bridging Index.
Lending totalled £5.7bn in Q4 2018 and West One said that "maintaining that growth trajectory was always going to be a challenge for Q1".
However the average loan size increased by 11% over Q1 to its highest level since Q1 2017, showing "an overall positive start to the year".
West One says the property market "continues to be muted by the ongoing Brexit uncertainty" but that a consistent volume of transactions will help the market remain buoyant.
Additionally, its data shows that bridging rates have fallen to among their lowest levels – with a Q1 average of 0.95% per month.
West One attributed falling rates to a competitive market with product development in the development exit and bridge-to-let sectors, as well as an increase in regulated bridging.
The market also predicts that the Bank of England is unlikely to raise interest rates again before the end of 2019.
Stephen Wasserman, managing director of West One Loans, said: “At West One, we’ve seen robust growth in our bridging service this year, which includes completing one of our largest loans. We provided a £20m first charge bridging facility against a high value site in a prime London location. We were able to complete the deal in just 18 working days; thanks to the quality of the deal, our ongoing relationship with the client and the slick service of our Premier Loan Team. The bespoke service they provide for our high net worth clients with more complex borrowing needs is second to none.
"It is positive to see the average loan size increase, too. With the ASTL reporting a record number of applications among their membership, it’s clear that bridging finance is still very much on an upward trajectory.”