The care home sector is reporting signs of recovery following a challenging year, according to Knight Frank’s 2021 UK Care Homes Trading Performance Review. Although average occupancy fell year-on-year from 87.9% to 79.4%, a backlog of potential residents is expected to help reverse this trend. Many operators are planning to expand by purchasing older care facilities, and we have already seen a rise in demand for finance to fund purchases, re-finances or for capital raises.
Short-term finance against closed care facilities is proving particularly popular among many of our borrowers while they secure planning permission to expand the facility or build another one. These commercial bridging loans provide the short-term flexibility that care home operators require, enabling them to pay off outstanding debts and pay for planning costs while they bounce back from the pandemic.
However, many operators are reporting that banks are refusing to lend to them or provide new services. With that in mind, here’s three reasons why brokers should consider working with alternative finance providers to deliver bridging loans for their clients in the care sector.
Complete loan lifecycles
Bridging loans enable care operators to achieve their short-term objectives, but they also enable lenders (with the right product set) and their brokers to support clients throughout the entire lending journey. We cover residential, land with planning, commercial and refurbishment options in our bridging offering[MS1] , and our intermediary partners have embraced the opportunity to forge stronger relationships with borrowers in the care sector as a result. Whether its bridge to term, bridge to development or development exit, alternative finance providers can often provide a fast, flexible and comprehensive solution for brokers.
Fair rates and flexibility
After a challenging couple of years, care home operators are seeking the appropriate funding for their organisation without being crippled by large monthly interest payments. With this in mind, brokers should look for competitive rates in the alternative finance sector. After listening to our brokers and borrowers about their market requirements, we streamlined our bridging finance offering with loans of £150k to £5m with rates from just 0.60% per month, giving our borrowers a more positive experience.
Real world lending
After being shunned by the high street, lenders and brokers alike have an opportunity to provide more of a personal approach to lending for clients in the care sector. Operating a UK-wide network of specialist Relationship Directors across the whole of the UK, Assetz visit potential borrowers to personalise the service and provide a ‘real-world lending’ approach, rather than relying solely on computer-based loan approvals for bridging, commercial mortgages and development finance. Each loan is structured and priced on its own merits, there is no ‘one size fits all’ – which gives borrowers a realistic chance to access the finance they need in order to grow their business.
The way forward
With the care sector looking forward to rebounding from the pandemic, it’s clear that demand for short-term finance to help operators expand will not be going away anytime soon. With that in mind, brokers that work with alternative finance providers to deliver bridging loans now could be well placed to continue working with those clients when they progress to additional funding requirements in the future.