The company attributed the increase in part to tighter underwriting within the buy-to-let sector.
As a result, First 4 Bridging has launched a new development finance department in response to the surge, which will be led by First 4 Bridging’s head of structured finance Elliot Hyames.
“As far as First 4 Bridging is concerned, 2017 has certainly been the year of growth within development finance, and it’s clear that developers are looking to make the most of their opportunities, especially given the low level of housing supply that is coming to market,” said Elliot.
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“With that in mind, developers are seeking the right financing solutions which will enable them to develop multi-unit schemes, while ensuring they are at the standard required in order to deliver them to market.
“Our new … department works in tandem with all elements of the development finance sector and we would therefore urge any adviser or introducer with a client in this area to contact us to see how we can make the deal work for them and, most importantly, add significant value to their business.”
First 4 Bridging stated that property developers were still looking to make the most of their portfolios in a housing market which has been low on supply over the past 12-18 months.
The company also suggested demand for its development finance service had been driven by an increase in adviser understanding around the greater complexities in that particular market.
Development finance now accounts for 16% of enquiries received by First 4 Bridging.
“The problem for advisers and introducers with clients seeking such products is that this is a changeable marketplace and one that is often complex, especially when you are seeking to structure the deal in the right way,” added Elliot.
“It’s also the case that development finance cases can be quite large– one recent deal we structured was in the region of £40m, and therefore advisers must ensure they get it right.
“No two deals are the same and you can’t therefore use a uniform approach – instead you have to understand the client, the mechanics of the transaction and the funding opportunities that are suited to each case.”