Cambridge University has published new figures, demonstrating that P2P lending for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) is helping to drive continued growth in the alternative finance marketplace. This, in spite of an overall market slowdown.

UK online alternative finance, according to the study, grew 84% in 2015, up from £1.74bn in 2014 to £3.2bn in 2015. Peer-to-peer lending, the report states, remains the “largest model by volume of the UK online alternative finance market”. During 2015, £1.49bn was lent to SMEs, a whopping 99% year-on-year growth rate. This brings the average growth rates for the sector between 2013 and 2015 to 194%.

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At least £609m of the total peer-to-peer business lending in this period was lent directly within the real estate sector, in both commercial and residential developments, making it the clear leader in terms of popularity for online alternative finance loans and investments.