'Heavy refurbishment' gains popularity in bridging market



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‘Heavy refurbishment’ has reached the top five most searched for terms in the bridging finance market for the first time since April, according to the latest Knowledge Bank data for August.

This suggests that some borrowers are taking on major structural changes, such as an extension or an annex, alongside smaller projects, like redoing a bathroom.

There was also high demand from bridging brokers searching for ‘commercial property’, which stood at fourth place.

With the demand for BTL properties and the changing face of the high street, the results suggest that some borrowers may be looking to convert commercial properties into BTLs through the PDR scheme.

‘Regulated bridging’ continued to dominate the short-term finance sector as the most searched-for term, followed by ‘minimum loan amount’ and ‘maximum LTV’.

In the commercial arena, ‘semi-commercial properties’ remained the top search for the 14th consecutive month, bar one.

This indicates that some professional landlords are shifting from straightforward BTL into semi-commercial, which usually consists of a shop or other commercial premises on the ground floor, with flats above it.

‘Maximum LTV’ and ‘minimum loan amount’ also continued to garner interest from commercial brokers, placing second and third, respectively.

For BTL, the rush for new investors entering the market showed no signs of slowing down in August, as ‘first-time landlord’ was the most-searched for term by brokers.

This was followed by ‘lending to limited companies’, ‘requirement to be a homeowner’, ‘first-time buyer’ and ‘minimum income — interest only/part-and-part single applicant’.

Matthew Corker, operations director at Knowledge Bank, (pictured above), said: “Regulated bridging continues to be popular, and it appears some are using [it] to adapt and renovate commercial properties.

“With the shift away from offices and online shopping becoming more popular, converting offices and retail spaces may become more [frequent] in the coming months.”

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