Gross lending in bridging finance is set to reach £800m for the first time this year, driven by a big increase in landlords who cannot raise money on the high street .

According to new projections provided by bridging lender West One Loans, the bridging industry has expanded rapidly to fill the gap left by traditional lenders.

The volume of loans advanced has risen 26% year on year as an increasing number of residential property investors have turned to the sector to finance their projects.

In 2009, 70% of loans were granted to the residential sector. Last year, this had risen to more than three-quarters. So far in 2011, 82% of all bridging loans by volume are to residential property investors.

The average loan term now stands at just under eight months, and the average LTV now is 48.4%, up from 42.5% a year ago.

Duncan Kreeger of West One said: “Having a clear exit strategy is the most important consideration when taking out bridging finance. The strong demand for accommodation means investors can be confident they can refinance easily when they are ready to rent.”

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The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) represents the interests of landlords in the private rented sector (PRS) across England and Wales. With over 23,000 subscribing members, and an additional 16,000 registered guests who engage regularly with the association, we are the leading voice of private landlords. Combined, they manage almost half a million properties.

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