According to the latest report by Bridging Trends, bridging volumes halved during Q2 as a result of the covid-19 lockdown. £79.4m worth of bridging deals were completed from May to July 2020, down from £184m in the same period of 2019 and from £123m in Q1 2020.

As a result, in the six months to the end of June 2020, bridging volumes declined by £168m to £202m, compared to £370m in the first half of 2019 – something that brokers and lenders considered as ‘inevitable’ given the circumstances.

How bridging fell by 50% in Q2

Bridging interest rates rose during the period, perhaps reflecting the increased risk and more limited product availability during the period.

The average weighted monthly interest rate in Q2 2020 increased to 0.85 per cent – up from 0.8 per cent in Q1 and 0.75 per cent in Q4 2019. This is the highest average monthly interest rate recorded in Bridging Trends data since Q3 2016. Investment purchase and re-bridging saw notable increases as the reason for borrowers accessing bridging finance.

A quarter of deals were completed for investment, up from 20 per cent in Q1, while 13 per cent were as re-bridges, up from 8% between January and March.

In contrast, chain breaks made up just one in 10 bridging deals, down from 20 per cent in Q1, while heavy refurbishment dropped from 13 per cent of transactions to 10 per cent.

Dan Kettle of Octagon Capital commented: “The drop in bridging volumes is unsurprising. During the covid-19 lockdown, very little action could really take place, since there was no property valuations, certainly no auctions and most lenders had temporarily turned off their lending.”

“But that does not mean that things won’t improve. There has been real enthusiasm to get deals done and get out there at the moment, especially whilst covid-19 threats are relatively low and if a second wave comes back to bite us.”