The busy buy-to-let market has helped specialist mortgage lender Paragon Group take top spot in The Birmingham Post Shareleague competition.

The Solihull-based business heads the super league section of the competition which measures share price movement over a 12 month period.

Birmingham-based Accident Exchange Group took first place in the plus section and Sirius Financial Solutions took centre stage in the shareleague category.

All saw significant increases in shareholder value over the last 12 months and in particular Paragon and Accident Exchange have almost doubled their share prices.

The Paragon Group of Companies, which specialises in mortgages for people renting out their property, saw an 84.5 per cent increase in share price since April 1, 2005.

Paragon has benefited from strong growth in the buyto-let market over the last 12 months, where application flows and completed loans are significantly ahead of the comparable period last year. Despite a reportedly slow first half, mortgage demand from landlords rebounded in the second period, largely due to lower financing costs following the quarter point cut in interest rates in August.

Second place is taken by Homeserve, a provider of insured repair solutions and emergency services to the home. Since de-merging its water supply operation, South Staffordshire Water, in April 2004, Homeserve has reported strong growth and in August last year celebrated its four millionth home assistance cover policy on behalf of utility and insurance companies.

Wolverhampton-based support services and construction company Carillion finished in third position in the super-league. The group recently completed sales of several non-core businesses in order to pursue a more focussed strategy and announced that its joint venture, Aspire Defence, had been awarded a major new contract for the MoD.