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By Bradley Moore

Without intending to claim bragging rights but to illustrate the rise of the specialist lending market, Brightstar celebrated writing £500 million of completed business since we opened for business in 2011. Our menu of products, which includes Bridging, Second charge, Specialist First Charge and Commercial covers the full range of different sectors which specialist lending covers. So while the celebration was for this achievement, it was also celebrating the range and support that this important sector provides.

In that time the secured loan channel has played a big part as a major component of the specialist lending sector. Some may scoff bearing in mind the relatively small average loan sizes in comparison with first charge loans but intermediaries in the know are discovering just how effective the second charge mortgage can be, particularly as the first charge sector struggles with affordability post MMR.

second charge mortgages have also become more competitive in terms of pricing during the past eighteen months and with headline rates starting at an unprecedented 5.45% and no upfront fees to pay, second charge mortgages has been something of a poster boy for the viability of the whole specialist lending sector and will no doubt continue to be for a long time, which is a world away from how it was once viewed.

Our average loan size has been well above average at circa £56,000 over the past 12 months and that figure is increasing as more clients turn to us, as the remortgage option gets harder to access.

The supply side of the seconds market continues to provide further evidence of the advantages of competition with repricing from the likes of Step One, Central Trust, Masthaven, TFS and Spring Finance. There are opportunities for brokers and their clients to benefit from keenly priced products that fill a real need and with the regulator watching closer than ever, brokers can ill afford to dismiss a second charge option for their client and nor should they.