Editor's update: Something to celebrate...

Editor's update: Something to celebrate...


News from the US was far from rosy last week as house prices dipped below their 2009 level and the housing market officially entered a ‘double-dip’.

 The causes of the dip, according to the Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller index of 20 cities, included a ‘flurry of repossessions’, as well as a surplus in new homes and the inability of first time buyers to jump aboard the ladder – symptoms which are all too frequently observed much closer to home.

When it comes to debate over whether the UK’s housing market is set to follow that of the the US, expert opinions are clearly divided, leaving the average Brit left guessing as to what the future will bring.

What we do know, though, is that lending criteria among high street banks has shown few signs of easing over the last six months. Project Merlin has been little more than good PR (albeit fleeting) for the banks who signed up at the time, and Lloyds, one of the only banks who appeared to offer any concrete assistance to homeowners in negative equity through their  ‘Equity Support Scheme’, looks  set to suffer more than any other if house prices slump. Amid a seemingly grey market though,bridging has continued to step up its game. Having spoken to various large and medium sized bridging lenders over the last few days, it is clear that May was a productive month for most.

One company, whose identity will come to light in Thursday’s newsletter, reported having completed over £7 million in new business through the period. The CEO of the company , and no, it is neither Dragonfly nor Precise, also explained that the high figures did not come from one big loan but rather from a general augmented demand.

 So, whilst we all hope that the UK housing market will manage to at least keep its head above water, the strength of the bridging market should give us reason to feel a little less guilty in the face of the upcoming industry summer parties... These invitations, which are steadily streaming into my inbox, are sure signs that this niche but necessary industry has something to celebrate.

The countdown to  the Bridging & Commercial Awards has begun and  this occasion promises to leave any doom and gloom at the iron gates of the Tower of London.  If you have yet to bag a place of one of the tables, I suggest you flex your negotiating skills with one of the 31 prestigious hosts. I hear some of them have yet to confirm their guest lists...

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