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Commercial mortgage market swerves Brexit impact

Commercial mortgage market swerves Brexit impact
Aidan Crawley/Bloomberg

Brexit seems to have had a negligible impact on small businesses as commercial mortgage enquiries through the National Association of Commercial Finance Brokers’ (NACFB) online platform rose 132 percent in October. 

The figure was more than double the amount of inquiries during the same period last year. 

Business mortgage inquiries in October also increased substantially , up by three-quarters (75 per cent) compared to September this year .

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Regionally, small businesses in London powered the growth with nearly two-thirds of enquiries (64 per cent) coming from the capital, more that six times the interest from second placed region the Midlands (9 per cent).

Paul Goodman, chairman of the NACFB, said: “Appetite for commercial mortgage finance is a good indicator of small business confidence as it shows firms are confident enough to commit to the long term.

"Last month we saw a huge uplift in enquiries from a variety of businesses – ranging from publicans and smaller retailers to hairdressers and restaurants – so it’s starting to feel like the SME community has got over any Brexit-related nerves.

"While some of those businesses will also be looking to avoid steep commercial rents, especially in the capital, the confidence to take out a commercial mortgage bodes well for the future.”

The uplift in commercial mortgage inquiries follows the NACFB’s annual results from earlier this year, which revealed £5.2bn of commercial mortgage business was written in the year ending 30 June 2016.

This is up by more than half (55 per cent) on the previous year - and the second strongest area of growth for NACFB’s members after bridging finance.

Matthew Fleming-Duffy, director of Christchurch-based Cherry Finance, said: "Brexit continues to polarise opinion and its all about confidence.

"Some people are extremely confident about the future and some - probably 50% - are not at all confident. However, half of the UK are really looking to get out of the EU and see it as a positive move. 

"Whether this is the factor causing the increase is something I'd question though, as there is a good possibility that, as buy-to-let is technically a commercial mortgage, that this is to do with increased interest prior to the changes in the tax situation next year. 

"We've seen an uplift in buy-to-let interest, but I can't really personally say that we've seen more interest in mortgages for pubs, bars and restaurants and other commercial mortgages."