DONNA WELLS | DIRECTOR AT FINANCE4BUSINESS
In many ways, we’ve seen a huge number of changes take place over the lockdown period. In other ways, we’ve seen precious few.
Working practices have obviously evolved, as have the ways in which we interact with clients, colleagues, introducers, lenders and even some family members. One thing that hasn’t changed is the strength of demand for short-term finance. If anything, it has increased. Of course, this comes with its own set of challenges when it comes to sourcing the right lenders and the right solutions but frankly, as a packager, that’s our problem to overcome.
Despite lockdown making us all operate in something of a bubble, it was important for us, as a business, to look beyond this and ensure we were able to deal with introducers throughout the UK. On a regional basis, it’s clear that transaction levels across many regions have remained robust and these continue to differ in terms of property type, client status, loan purpose, value and location.
Let’s focus on these last two factors.
It was interesting to see Hope Capital recently report that new cases for loans in excess of £1m had seen a 350% month-on-month increase in July. This also reflects our experience over the past few weeks and helps to highlight the continued appetite for high value levels of short-term finance. In fairness, this has been evident over the past 18 to 24 months – lockdown excluded – and it’s a real positive to see these types of deals still going through despite all the recent market turmoil.
£1m+ transactions are relatively commonplace in the specialist lending market but as important are the smaller specialist cases which remain key for our regional introducer client base in maintaining business levels and bolstering income streams. As someone who grew up in the North West of England, it’s fair to say that these types of areas are the breeding ground for smaller but equally complex cases which require alternative forms of finance. And this is an area which is seeing sustained property-related growth. Analysis from Home.co.uk recently revealed that asking prices in July rose for a third consecutive month in all English regions, Scotland and Wales. The best-performing regions were said to be the North West and Yorkshire, both showing year-on-year price growth uptrends of 6.7% and 8.1% respectively.
Despite, lingering additional lockdown issues, the mood in the North West and Yorkshire remains buoyant. These regions are operating from a robust platform after a real push in the supply of much-needed affordable housing and a stronger commercial infrastructure. There are pockets within these areas which can provide swathes of opportunity for property professionals and proactive intermediaries who are best positioned to support them. Access to alternative forms of finance are vital in maintaining this property-related momentum. And a growing number of advisers within these regions are utilising the experience and expertise of packaging partners to tap into this rising demand and meet ever-shifting client needs in a timely and responsible manner.