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Can I Apply for a Mortgage in Northern Ireland?

Detailed advice for mortgage applicants in Northern Ireland - localised policies, lender criteria, average interest rates and maximum mortgage values.

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Almas Uddin
Almas Uddin

Founder and Mortgage Advisor

Almas Uddin2023-05-09
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Can I Apply for a Mortgage in Northern Ireland?

Mortgages work slightly different throughout the UK regions, with fewer lenders in Northern Ireland than you'll find in London. There are, however, plenty of options and mortgage products designed specifically for Northern Ireland homebuyers.

The Revolution team summarises how property purchases work and what sort of terms to expect on a Northern Ireland mortgage.

For help with your borrowing requirements, contact the Revolution Brokers team directly on 0330 304 3040 or via email at [email protected].

How Do Mortgages Work in Northern Ireland?

Firstly, if you are a British national, you don't need permission to buy a NI property. Most mortgages run with terms from 10 years to 25 years, although that isn't set in stone.

There are UK-wide lenders, although fewer mortgage providers cover Northern Ireland. You'll also find postcode restrictions in some regions.

Just as in England, the larger the deposit you have, the better. Most lenders will need at least a 5% deposit, even for first-time buyers, but the higher the deposit, the lower the interest rates you are likely to pay.

You can find 100% mortgages without a deposit, but these are rarer, and you will almost certainly need a guarantor.

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Is There a Stamp Duty Charge in Northern Ireland?

If you buy a home costing under £125,000, then no, you won't need to pay Stamp Duty. There are currently higher thresholds on this value, so it's worth double-checking the current rates before budgeting for your property purchase.

The Stamp Duty rates in NI are the same as in England, so the current stamp duty holiday notwithstanding, the typical rates are:

  • Zero on properties up to £125,000
  • 2% on properties between £125,000 - £250,000
  • 5% on properties between £250,000 - £925,000
  • 10% on properties between £925,000 - £1.5 million
  • 12% on properties over £1.5 million

What are the Mortgage Eligibility Criteria in Northern Ireland?

The mortgage available depends on the lender and their criteria. Most lenders will not offer any mortgage over three times your annual earnings.

You can take out a joint mortgage with a partner just as in the UK, with the same income cap but based on both combined salaries. You can find a mortgage at up to 4.5 your income or even higher in some cases, but this is relatively unusual.

Lenders will need to see proof of your income via bank statements and payslips or two to three years of filed accounts for self-employed applicants.

They also need to review your credit history and consider the stability of your income and type of employment.

As in the other UK nations, some lenders have age caps, often with lending limited up to age 70, although this relies on the lender's policies.

How Can I Find the Best Mortgage Rates and Compare NI Lenders?

Rates on offer vary significantly between lenders and depend on the area in which you are buying and how closely you meet the eligibility criteria.

The best way to find competitive rates is to consult an experienced mortgage broker who can provide independent advice about where you will get the cheapest offer.

If you're looking to compare NI mortgage rates, we'd recommend steering clear of online rates tables and mortgage calculators. These tools are useful but very generic and cannot evaluate your circumstances to determine whether you'd be eligible for the mortgage rates being displayed.

You can choose between the same ranges of mortgage products as you can in England:

  • Fixed-rate mortgages offer a locked-in interest rate for a specific number of years.
  • Variable-rate mortgages charge changeable interest depending on bank base rates.
  • Standard variable rate home loans go up and down and are the rate you automatically switch to when a fixed-rate offer expires.
  • Discounted mortgage rates are based on the standard variable rate but with a discount applied.
  • Capped rates mean that you have a limit, and sometimes a minimum, on the interest charged on your mortgage.
  • Tracker mortgages work with a fixed calculation against the base rate.
  • Annual interest is charged per year in advance.

What Sort of Mortgage Can I Get in Northern Ireland?

You'll find a vast range of mortgages, depending on what property you want to buy and what you want to do with it.

  • Let to buy mortgages mean you can remortgage a property to release equity and enable you to let out a home if you want to hold onto it or rent it out to earn income and retain an investment asset.
  • Expat mortgages are available for foreign nationals from outside the UK looking to buy a home in Northern Ireland. These mortgages usually require a minimum deposit of 25%.
  • Flexible mortgages allow you to chop and change how much you repay and take breaks or make overpayments as you wish.
  • Cashback mortgages offer a cash incentive.
  • Buy to let mortgages are available for investment rental purchases.
  • Self-build loans allow you to build your own property in NI.
  • Non-standard construction mortgages are designed for unique or unusual properties, such as those with thatched roofs or a timber frame.

Are There Bad Credit Mortgages in Northern Ireland?

Bad credit is an issue in any country when applying for a mortgage and works the same way in NI as elsewhere in the UK. You can find specialist bad credit lenders through a whole-of-market broker who can help in most scenarios.

There are also mortgage schemes available that might help you get your foot onto the property ladder if you are struggling with affordability:

  • Right to Buy allows public sector tenants who have lived in their property for five years to buy their home at a discounted rate, up to £24,000.
  • Shared Ownership or Co-Ownership enables homebuyers to purchase a share of their property and pay rent to the housing association for the balance. Most lenders will offer a mortgage from as little as a 5% deposit against the property value.
  • Rent to buy mortgages are open to applications in specific regions and on new-build properties only. You can rent the property for up to three years, and then 20% of the rent paid is refunded to be used as a deposit to buy the home on a mortgage.
  • Guarantor mortgages work like in England, allowing you to borrow up to 100% on a residential mortgage. The guarantor, usually a parent, leverages their home or savings assets and makes up the payments if you fall behind.
  • Agricultural mortgages are usually best found through specialist lenders.
  • Secured loans are another option, as a second charge on a property with an existing mortgage. You will find more flexible terms, borrow more against your home's value, and the eligibility criteria are usually easier to meet.

Can I Get a Northern Ireland Large Mortgage?

Lenders usually consider mortgages over £500,000 as being a large home loan. Fewer lenders offer this size of mortgage in NI, and the criteria vary.

Most lenders will offer from 70% of the purchase price up to 95% depending on the value of the property you wish to buy.

You'll also find caps with some lenders offering mortgages limited to £500,000, £750,000 or £1 million. Therefore, a specialist broker is essential if you need a large mortgage for a Northern Ireland property purchase.

Deposit requirements vary. Some lenders will expect at least 15% or 20%, and others will accept 10%.

Are There NI Remortgages Available?

Yes, you can remortgage if you want to release equity, raise capital, or switch from an interest-only to a repayment mortgage.

There are many deals available, so it is advisable to consult an independent broker to recommend the lenders with the best remortgage rates.

Remember that postcode restrictions apply, so it's essential to review which lenders cover the area to get a fair comparison of the costs.

Expert Advice with Northern Ireland Mortgages

While the mortgage process itself is relatively similar to England, there are differences in the types of mortgage available for Northern Ireland property purchases and the eligibility requirements.

If you'd like help finding the best lender, or the most suitable loan for your borrowing needs, give mortgage advisors a call on 0330 304 3040, or email the team at [email protected].

Almas Uddin
Almas Uddin

Founder and Mortgage Advisor

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FCA disclaimer

The content included in our articles, blogs, web pages and news publications is based on information accurate at the time of writing. Note that policies and criteria can change regularly throughout the UK mortgage lending market, and it remains essential to contact the consultation team to receive up to date guidance. The information included on the Revolution Brokers site is not bespoke to any circumstances or individual application scenarios and therefore is not intended to be used as financial advice. The content we share is designed to be informative and helpful but cannot be relied upon to provide individual advice relevant to your mortgage requirements. All Revolution team members are fully qualified, trained and experienced to provide mortgage advice of an independent nature.

We collaborate with lenders and providers who are regulated, authorised and registered with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Should you require specific mortgage borrowing types, some products such as buy to let mortgages may not be FCA regulated. The Revolution team can provide further information about regulated and unregulated lending as required. Please remember that a mortgage is a debt which is secured against your home or property. Your home can be at risk of repossession if you do not keep up with the repayments or encounter any other difficulties in managing your mortgage borrowing responsibly. This also applies to any remortgage or home loan secured against your property, including equity release products.

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