Barry Searle

A flexible solution to bridge the uncertainty

In case you hadn't heard, the UK is scheduled to leave the European Union next March.

The uncertainty surrounding the outcome of Brexit negotiations has – temporarily at least – put the brakes on an already faltering property market and transaction activity is suffering.

The September 2018 Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) UK Residential Market Survey has shown a continued weakening in national new buyer demand, citing a mixture of affordability constraints, a lack of stock, economic uncertainty and interest rate rises.

RICS says that new buyer demand was down by 11% in September on the same month last year and, at the same time, new sales instructions have also deteriorated, leaving average stock levels on estate agents’ books close to record-low levels.

The combined effect of constraint on both supply and demand has resulted in house price resilience, but with little fluidity in the market, properties are taking longer to sell. According to RICS, the time taken to complete a sale, from initial listing, has increased to approximately 19 weeks, which represents the longest duration since the measure was introduced at the beginning of last year.

For homemovers, this period can be frustrating, but for developers it can also prove very costly and any delay in selling the property and redeeming the development loan can significantly impact the profit they achieve on a scheme.

This provides an opportunity for you, as a stagnant property market leads to increased demand for development exit loans that can benefit developers in a number of ways.

A development exit loan allows a developer to refinance their completed development at a lower rate than most development finance, while giving them more time to achieve the best sales price and even release equity from the scheme to use towards future projects.

When it comes to development exit loans, flexibility is key, particularly if your client is actively marketing their development for sale. A loan with a lower rate may ultimately prove more expensive for your client if it also comes with restrictive early repayment charges.

A stagnant property market doesn’t have to put the brakes on your business and there are always options to deliver your clients appropriate solutions, whatever the stage of the economic cycle. In the current environment, development exit loans provide a great opportunity for you to provide your clients with the flexibility they need to bridge the current uncertainty and continue to grow their portfolio.

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