PPC Question Time: Tightening criteria makes space for niche lending

PPC Question Time: Tightening criteria makes space for niche lending


Increasingly stringent criteria from high street lenders have left a void for niche funding providers to fill, concluded attendees of this year’s Professional Property Circle (PPC) Question Time.

At an event held by PPC last week, a number of representatives from property firms formed a panel to discuss issues currently facing the industry.

The event was attended by around 80 property professionals and featured a networking event together with over two hours of questions and debate; feedback confirmed that it was an informative and enjoyable event.

At the heart of the debate was James Bloom, Chief Executive of development finance lender Regentsmead, who answered a number of questions put to the assembled experts. 

The panel was also made up of Jeremy Garson, Principal of legal practice Garson Law and Mediation, Andrew Rhodes, Managing Partner at chartered accountants Sobell Rhodes LLP, Peter Amstell, Director at David Charles Property Consultants, Jane Duncan, Principal of Jane Duncan Architects ltd and RIBA Vice President, Warren Baker, Managing Director of independent estate agents David Charles, James Bryden, Civil Engineer at ClearPlan and member of the Chartered Institute of Builders, and Robin Sutton, an IFA with Individually Designed Solutions Limited.

B&C spoke to James to find out exactly what questions the panel were asked and to uncover the industry’s concerns regarding the current property market.

Q: Is the Government pressure on banks going to ease the credit restrictions for small builders and developers and if not what other options would my clients have?

A: At present this does not seem to be making a material difference to the amount of lending being done and, if anything, requirements and criteria are becoming even more stringent. Niche lenders are stepping into the void left by high street lenders, and Regentsmead is the number one private operator in this market. The panel is seeing some fantastic business being turned down by traditional lenders where clients have capital, experience and an excellent project while Regentsmead is only too pleased to be lending.

Q: Are commercial landlords taking a softer approach to tenant’s request to pay rent monthly? Does the panel think this should now be the norm?

A: The panel obviously acknowledges the very tough time that retailers are experiencing and that, where appropriate, it is important to reflect this in the terms that are acceptable for payment of rent. However, a number of the panel are seeing major retailers who are still making strong profits jump on the bandwagon. Major multiples will often write to their landlords across the board to ask if they can pay monthly; the panel felt this was not appropriate in these circumstances.

Q: What is the panel’s view of the current Central London property market and whether the current bubble will continue?

A: The general consensus was that this is here to stay for the foreseeable future but this could change if there were terrorist or economic problems meaning that London was not the safe haven it is today. At present we have a relatively stable economy in the UK and it is seen as a safe place to be but this could change at some point.

Q: What does the panel recommend when considering investing in property?

A: The general consensus was that residential property in the right location is a reasonable bet for the foreseeable future. The population is growing and mortgages are very hard to obtain – a trend which is likely to continue. Although there is pressure on residential yields compared to other investments currently available, it appears to be a favourable option, providing that the property is in the right location.


For further information on Regentsmead’s immediate development finance available please visit www.regentsmead.com or phone them on 020 8952 1414.


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