Latest figures released by the Association of Short Term Lenders (ASTL) from its bridging lender members for Quarter 1 2018 have exceeded the outstanding figures for Q4 2017 when for the first-time quarterly completions exceeded £1 billion. Annual completions are now close to £3.8 billion.

The value of loans written for the quarter ending 31 March 2018 revealed an increase of 1.5% compared to the previous quarter. Annual completions rose by 29.9%. In comparison to the same quarter last year, the value of loans written in the quarter has increased by 32.5%.

Total loan books are continuing to climb, with a rise of 13.1% compared to Q4 2017. Compared to the end of Q1 2017, the value of loan books has risen by 35.6%, to £4.2 billion. All figures highlight the current strength of the ASTL’s bridging lender members.

The pace of increases in applications reversed recent declines and increased by 28.9% compared to a decrease of 11% in Q4 2017. On an annualised basis, applications are up by 23.2%, making up a total of £19.7 billion. Although applications do tend to be unreliable indicators and are dependent on how many lenders are offered the same deals, this is still a staggeringly large figure.

Benson Hersch, CEO of the ASTL says: “Our figures highlight the fact that the bridging finance industry is in good shape and is ready and willing to meet the challenges and opportunities of today’s market. The bridging sector is now a well-established part of the property finance market and, barring any black swans, should continue to grow.”