The latest sentiment survey of ASTL members has found that just 38% of bridging lenders feel more positive about the long term prospects of the UK economy following the budget in March, while 19% of members and 20% of associate members feel less positive.
43% of members and 80% of associates expect no change.
The possibility of Brexit also had a significant effect on positivity. 47% of bridging lenders felt that the uncertainty over whether the UK will leave the European Union will also affect the bridging market. Only two thirds of lenders were now confident of the UK’s economic prospects in the next six months, significantly down from the 100% that felt confident about the UK’s prospects both post-election and at the start of this year.
Although 90% of lenders feel confident about their own prospects and that the volume of business they are doing at their own firm will increase over the next 12 months, this tailed off somewhat when they considered the bridging market at a whole as only 71% thought that this market would continue to grow. While this is positive, it is in marked contrast to a year ago, immediately post-election, when 92% of bridging lenders thought that the market would grow over the next 12 months.
The ASTL membership currently consists of 34 bridging lenders and 24 associate members. Associates cover a variety of professional firms providing services to the bridging sector.
Benson Hersch (pictured), CEO of the ASTL, said: “While our latest sentiment survey is still overwhelmingly positive, there has been a real shift in how positively our bridging lenders view the outlook for the economy – people are noticeably more uncertain about it than they were at this time last year following the general election. Even following the summer budget ,84% of our members then said that they felt positive about the long term future of the UK economy, this has dropped to 38% with 19% feeling negative.
“No doubt the prospect of Britain leaving the EU is causing much of this uncertainty. There are unchartered waters ahead and, whether it is better or worse for the UK to leave the EU, fno-one can really say with any degree of certainty.”