Voltaire Financial | Property Finance

Voltaire Briding, 1 Year On.

11/11/2014 | by Andrew Hosford

Andrew Hosford - Head of Bridging, Voltaire BridgingAt the end of September 2013, Voltaire Financial launched a specialist short term loan business, Voltaire Bridging. A year on things are looking good in the short term loan market and our specialist business.

The annual gross lending figure has now broken through the £2 billion mark and is continuing to rise, while the average loan size is closing in on £500,000. Rightly so, then, that lenders are banging the drum about hitting the £1 billion mark in lending, short term loans of over £100m, record breaking months and a constant flurry of new products being offered.

During our first year we have been selected to become preferred partners with a number of key lenders, such as Dragonfly Property Finance, United Trust Bank, Shawbrook Bank and Precise Mortgages. They all have different names for the partners they adorn with this honour, but essentially the message is the same; they trust us, believe in us and we perform. On top of being regarded by a number of lenders as preferred partners, we have also been approached by a significant number of lenders to develop new products for them to expand their deal flow. We have developed lease extension products, advised lenders on their development lending offering, as well as having private funds entering the short term lending space based on our view on what will work for both the client and the lender.

Our ability to secure funding for a wide range of asset types and our diverse lender relationships have allowed us to fund a wide variety of deals. In the last year we have completed a transaction of over £100,000,000 for a portfolio made up of student accommodation as well as a deal to purchase a plot of land, without planning, for under £500,000. We have also placed a number of development deals, split roughly 50/50 between commercial and residential development. The relationships we have with property developers has helped us grow Voltaire Bridging at a fantastic rate in the first year. Historically, a number of our developer clients would complete on sites with cash, work up planning, then we would raise the required development finance. However, utilising bridging finance has allowed our clients to save their equity and secure sites before they begin the planning process. We have benefitted from these types of deals as we are effectively handling two separate transactions and often placing the deal with two different lenders. However, there are cases where the lender providing the bridging finance can also offer the development finance. This is where we add real value as a brokerage, as this saves the client not only time but also reduces fees and professional costs. This time and cost saving has been the biggest positive for us and our developer clients, particularly in London and the South East where margins are tight due to the cost of land and competition from a saturated developer market.

As previously mentioned, we have been consulted by lenders when developing new products to take to market. This is clearly flattering, but more importantly it gives us an opportunity to influence lenders to focus their products on what our clients actually need. We extended this facility when we were approached by a private fund looking to lend in both the development and short term space. We advised the fund on where their pricing and gearing should be, as well as structures and assets that are in demand with our clients.

Our first year has been a success and putting focus and structure into Voltaire Bridging has grown our business, deal flow and income substantially. Additionally, Voltaire Bridging was nominated for 3 awards in 2014, earning a 3rd place and two 2nd place certificates. Everyone would rather win, of course, but for our first year we are content and are looking forward to pushing for a 1st in 2015, along with growing our reach and influence in the short term lending market.

 

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