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by Joel Lea, Senior Underwriter at Bath & West Finance.As a principal lender, we appreciate the necessity of carrying out a RICS ‘Red Book’ Valuation to help us assess the financial risk of a property – whether housing, commercial or semi-commercial properties,...

Spotlight on property conversions and refurbishments

by Martyn Smith, Managing Director at Bath & West Finance. I’ve been in the specialist lending arena for over thirty-five years, and bridging finance has near enough remained close to its origins of being flexible, short-term finance which is secured against...

Bridging Industry stalwart Matthew Anderson joins Bath & West Finance

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Should unregulated bridging really be driven by borrower status?

A recent report into the bridging market, penned by EY Financial Services, articulated some interesting features of the current short-term market that bear a little more thought. According to EY’s analysis, growing competition in the bridging market ‘requires...

Thematic review of the short-term sector: Is it time to re-visit the basics of bridging?

The bridging market has changed a lot over the past decade. No longer is the dominant model to have a number of private individuals funding short-term development projects, underwritten on a case by case basis and priced typically at between 1.5 and 2 per cent a...

by Martyn Smith, Managing Director at Bath & West Finance.

I’ve been in the specialist lending arena for over thirty-five years, and bridging finance has near enough remained close to its origins of being flexible, short-term finance which is secured against property .

A bridging loan has remained a very useful tool for property investors and developers as the repayment term can be tailored to meet the client’s needs, with most bridging loans having a repayment term of less than 12 months. Further flexibility can be found in a bridging loan, for example other properties may be considered as security in addition to the principal property if that property does not offer enough security on its own. By having a common-sense approach and looking at the bigger picture of each application, it allows Bath & West to ensure the best chance of success for each and every application we receive.

Given the recent changes of ‘Article 4’ Direction on the permitted development rights in Bristol, we see some additional obstacles to overcome for developers to obtain full planning permission prior to works in certain areas of the city, for example on change of use to HMO’s. These same areas are still producing high yield opportunities, and still allowing many of the developers we have supported take advantage of the many opportunities out there once planning has been obtained. 

We’ve seen strong demand from developers in all major cities for short-term finance to convert both semi-commercial and commercial properties into residential use, whether for BTL or re-sale, catering for the demand lead by growing populations for quality and affordable housing.

Despite some market hesitation over the last 12 months , our clients are certainly seeing a greater number of regional opportunities to expand upon. Our refurbishment and conversion bridging product is in most cases offered on the basis of the main property and the proposed exit route; rather than the borrower’s ability to meet regular repayments, and our bridging products and flexible approach can assist property investors and developers in a wide variety of situations to release each property’s full potential.

See below some of the examples Bath & West have supported to allow property investors and developers achieve their goals.

Martyn Smith 

Bath & West Finance
Managing Director


Conversion, Trowbridge

Our client needed a loan for build and finance costs to convert a Grade II listed building into 7 town houses x 9-bed and two x 4-bed. They also needed to redeem with an existing lender withina short timescale before costs began to ramp up. We had to act swiftly.

We provided a loan for £1,116,000 woth an initial drawdown of £550,000 to redeem the loan with the existing lender in time. The LTV was 68% and interest at 0.95% was retained each month of the 12-month term.

Loan: £1,116,000
Value: £1,660,000
GDV: 68%


Refurbishment, Richmond

Funding was needed for the purchase of a 4-bed semi-detached house in a highly desirable area of Richmond, close to Kew Gardens and 7 miles from central London. Our client wanted to invest £114,000 of their own funds into the refurbishment of the property and put it back on the market.

We were able to offer a total facility of £728,000 at 70% LTV to purchase the property in a single drawdown, based on an open market value of £1,040,000 and using the property as ecurity. Interest was retained at 0.95% per month over 12 months with no exit fee.

Loan: £728,000
Value: £1,040,000
GDV: 70%

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