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Bridging grows while mortgage market shrinksBridging lending has seen rapid growth while the mainstream mortgage market has contracted, new figures suggest.

Annual gross bridging grew 35% in year to April 2015, according to the latest West One Bridging Index.

At the same time, CML figures show the mortgage market actually fell by 4%.

Annual gross bridging lending exceeded £2.7 billion in the last 12 months, up from just over £2 billion in April 2014, as the sector defied election uncertainty.

Bridging lenders loaned £1 billion in the first four months of the year alone.

That was made up of £419 million in January and February, followed by £583 million in the months of March and April.

Duncan Kreeger, director of West One Loans, says: "While the mortgage market never looked like recreating its strong start to 2014 in 2015 such worries didn't plague the bridging sector to the same extent - enabling it to continue on its upward trajectory.

"In fact, just as all the election hype was reaching fever pitch in March and April, bridging lenders were beavering away recording one of their busiest and most profitable periods ever, with more than half a billion of short-term finance lent.

"The market has continued in a similar vein since then, with records being broken left, right and centre and the latest annual gross lending figure confirming that the £3 billion milestone is now firmly in the crosshairs."

Kreeger said there is a real buoyancy and can-do attitude about the sector at the minute, with lenders and brokers keen to get deals done and competitive rates helping add to the attractiveness of short-term finance.

"As we head into summer and the weather warms up, there is certainly no sign of the bridging market losing heat."

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