EasyMoney has predicted continued growth in building and construction this year, helped by government proposals to change permitted development rights.
The peer-to-peer lending platform focuses on providing finance for residential property developers in affluent areas of the UK.
EasyMoney said in a blog on its website that it avoids commercial property as “this has been the area of the market which has been more challenging”.
However, it noted that the government had proposed development rule changes to enable more commercial properties to be converted to residential use.
The platform said this will greatly increase the reach of existing residential conversion rights and indicates a commitment to the Prime Minister’s ‘Build, Build, Build’ manifesto.
“Central to this proposal is the long-term impact Covid-19 is having on the retail sector,” EasyMoney said.
“Retail spaces are becoming less and less viable and owners are looking for long-term security for their holdings in response to the ever-increasing numbers working from home. In this proposal, government is seeking to provide better flexibility to change between use classes for owners of retail properties, allowing them to respond to rapidly changing market demands.
“This is exemplified with the likes of industry titans John Lewis announcing plans to target 40 per cent of its total income from non-retail activities, with the bulk of this coming from property development; two planning applications in London are expected early next year.”
EasyMoney also noted the continued growth shown in the IHS Markit/CIPS UK Construction PMI, which it said reflected the government’s support for the sector.
A reading above 50 indicates expansion and a reading below signals contraction.
December’s reading of 54.6, barely changed from 54.7 in November, marks seven months of expansion since June with total new orders having increased.
EasyMoney said that at 61.9, housebuilding was by far the best-performing area of construction activity in December, maintaining that the prospect for residential homebuilders remains positive.
“In combination with the new government proposal, these figures suggest the potential for continued growth in building and construction throughout 2021, particularly in the residential market,” the platform said.
“At EasyMoney we feel confident that our carefully chosen, predominantly residential focused loans will continue to perform this year.”