Rightmove founder backs new bridging lender

Rightmove founder backs new bridging lender

A short-term property lender has launched, backed by Rightmove founder and former Countrywide chief executive Harry Hill.

Mayfair-based Glenhawk will lend to property investors, buy-to-let landlords, and SME developers using its own money initially.

The firm's typical loans will be between £300,000 and £5m but it will also consider smaller loans for instance for people buying property at auction.

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Glenhawk's rates start at 0.5 per cent per month and are assessed on a case by case basis. It charges no admin, exit or early repayment fees.

The firm pledges to give an agreement in principle "in minutes" and to pay commission to brokers "as soon as a loan is closed".

The company is run by Guy Harrington, a former property developer and Paul McFadyen, the former UK managing director of real estate investment company Regis group.

Director of lending Nick Hilton is a former fund operations manager at Walker Crips, who launched an Financial Conduct Authority-regulated bridging fund in 2013.

Mr Hill, meanwhile, acts as a non-executive director and has backed the lender.

Mr Harrington said he founded Glenhawk based on his experiences coming from the "other side".

He said: "I've been a client and used short term finance myself so know exactly what a developer needs from a short-term finance partner.

"Competitive rates are only one part of the package, you also need to keep things swift and simple and invest in lasting relationships."

He said the firm has already received early interest for seven potential loans.

"With the UK suffering a housing shortage we feel the time is right for an agile lender to enter the sector with a view to assisting SME developers," he added.

Simon Allen, who runs property finance broker Searchlight Finance, said the bridging market was already overcrowded, which could make it difficult for a new lender to enter.

"We’ve got a crowded market, the main reason there are so many bridging lenders is that the high street lenders pulled out of the market after the credit crisis but they are coming back now," he said.

"But for the right lender in the right place it could still be a very good [time to enter]," he added.

He said the terms described by the lender sounded promising "if it can be delivered".

He said: "If 0.5 per cent can be delivered it’s a very good rate, however with a ‘case by case basis’ from experience the proof is in the rates actually being delivered."

He said most bridging lenders had fixed rates tied to loan to value brackets, which made the pricing more transparent.