A majority of brokers are confident about business growth in 2018, according to the latest Broker Sentiment Survey conducted by bridging finance lender, mtf.
Some 68% of brokers believe overall market conditions will improve in 2018, a sea change in opinion from January 2017, when only 31% of brokers surveyed were confident about the year ahead.
Half of the brokers surveyed said macroeconomic uncertainty would be the main challenge for UK financial services firms in 2018, while 28% cited the impact of Brexit negotiations, and 13% said the level of market competition would be the biggest challenge. Only 6% of brokers thought regulation would prove a challenge.
Despite this, demand for specialist finance is expected to remain strong, with 84% of brokers preparing for a further rise in bridging finance volume in 2018, after 73% of those questioned reported an actual rise in bridging loan volume in 2017.
Refurbishment was the main reason borrowers took out bridging loans in the last quarter of 2017 at 28%, followed by property purchases and funding development projects, at 19% each.
For the fifth consecutive quarter the South East saw the biggest demand for bridging finance in the UK during the fourth quarter of 2017, at 47% - a 1% drop on Q3.
The geographical spread of bridging finance demand continued in the last quarter of 2017, with brokers noting an increase in demand in Northern Ireland (4%), Scotland (3%) and the North East of England (3%).
James Anderson, Head of New Business at mtf, comments:
“After the challenges faced in 2017, it is encouraging to see that brokers’ confidence is strong as we enter the New Year.
“I’m delighted that brokers see the demand for a growth in bridging finance in 2018 and the reasons are simple. Bridging loans provide a real-time solution to the funding gap that has developed as high street lenders come to terms with increased regulation. We can continue to expect to see a substantial rise in the demand for bridging finance throughout the rest of the year.”