What’s the latest with Mortgage Prisoners?

The FCA estimates there are currently 200,000 mortgage prisoners in the UK[1]. Some are trapped on interest-only mortgages with ‘inactive’ lenders. However, figures show that the number of interest-only mortgages had fallen by 54%, from 2.5 million in 2012 to 1.23 million in 2018 with regulated mortgage lenders committing to contacting all interest-only borrowers with loans due to mature at the end of 2020 to check repayment would be achievable or to find a new solution[2].

Last year the FCA relaxed some of its affordability checks, allowing lenders to assess affordability based on a borrower’s track record to make it easier for mortgage prisoners to find a new cheaper deal.

Capping lenders’ SVRs, which are a major factor for Mortgage Prisoners, has also been put forward by an all-party parliamentary group to help. There is currently no limit to how high a lender can set the standard variable rate and a cap of 2% above the Bank of England base rate for all SVRs would automatically see mortgage prisoners making instant savings of hundreds of pounds2.

In October 2020, Halifax began accepting remortgage applications of up to 75% LTV from mortgage prisoners, using the modified affordability assessment measures put in place by the FCA[3]. Other lenders may take the same path, taking advantage of the change in FCA rules to try and make it easier for mortgage prisoners to switch to a cheaper deal. Recently, NatWest introduced lending criteria specific to mortgage prisoners and Santander started accepting applications from those trapped in expensive mortgages. The West Brom Building Society too is now implementing the new affordability rules with seven lenders in all starting to offer products[4].

How technology can help

At Mortgage Brain we understand the problems faced by mortgage prisoners and how hard it is for mortgage advisers to find suitable products for them. That’s why our product sourcing solutions MortgageBrain Classic and MortgageBrain Anywhere include a ‘mortgage prisoner’ filter to make it easier to find suitable remortgage products for those clients and help them to escape from a life sentence of expensive mortgage deals.

It’s as simple as adding the applicant and mortgage details, ticking the ‘mortgage prisoner’ filter and clicking ‘source now’. Then the adviser will be presented with a list of suitable products. To see the filter in action, watch the video for MortgageBrain Classic and MortgageBrain Anywhere

To find out more about Mortgage Brain’s suite of powerful solutions that together offer a seamless end-to-end journey from sourcing through to conveyancing, email sales@mortgage-brain.co.uk.


[1] https://www.which.co.uk/news/2020/07/mortgage-prisoners-is-capping-rates-the-answer/

[2] https://www.mortgageintroducer.com/number-interest-mortgages-falls-13/

[3] https://www.yourmoney.com/mortgages/halifax-to-accept-mortgage-prisoner-remortgages/

[4] https://www.ftadviser.com/mortgages/2020/11/10/fca-rule-change-for-mortgage-prisoners-bearing-fruit/

Laying the foundations for self-builds

Self-build mortgages are increasingly becoming an untapped source of business for UK mortgage advisers. Recent research from Ipswich Building Society reveals that over a third of UK adults (35%) are considering a self-build project at some point in the future[1].

There are many aspects that encourage those looking for a new home to build their own. 51% of respondents were attracted to a self-build option because it provides the ability to specify the layout. 28% said that being able to make environmentally friendly decisions during the process appealed to them, and 17% cited economic or financial benefits as a key factor in their decision.

But there was one aspect of self-building that almost half (46%) of respondents saw as a major challenge, the financing of the build, and indeed 72% of those wanting to build their own home didn’t realise they would require a specialist self-build mortgage.

What’s different about a self-build mortgage?

A self-build mortgage is designed to suit the elongated process of building a new home which is usually completed in various stages. Therefore, funds are released to the client to try and tie in with the completion of each stage rather than a lump sum being offered up front, as happens with a standard residential mortgage. This is ideal for situations where the client has a lump sum ready as a deposit for the land to be built on, as well as the first stage of the build.

And it’s not just new build projects that can benefit from a self-build mortgage, they can also be used for:

  • Conversions
  • Renovations
  • Demolish and rebuild projects
  • Mid or partially built projects

Self-building in the UK

The size of the UK self-build market is estimated to account for between 7% and 10% (12,000 homes per year) across the UK[2]. This is supported by data from the National Custom & Self-Build Association (NaCSBA) that shows the number of self-builds growing steadily since the introduction of self-build registers in 2016 to a total of 15,902 in 2019[3].

Whilst the NaCSBA data shows that the UK is lagging behind much of Europe with self-build accounting for 80% of new homes in Austria and 60% in countries such as Sweden, Norway, Italy and Belgium[3] , the government’s Right to Build Scheme, passed in 2016, could result in a yearly increase of some 35% in custom and self-build properties[4]. Additionally, the Right to Build Scheme allows local authorities to make more plots available to self-builders, making it easier to find that perfect location, although the average price of a plot can vary drastically throughout the UK with a few miles making a huge difference. For instance, a plot in Portsmouth could sell for around £371,250, whereas just down the road in Southampton, the average price for a plot could be £156,666. And a plot in Liverpool could set a self-builder back more than £800,0004.

Building plots are also now easier to come by with brownfield sites being made available. These are areas of land previously developed for commercial, agricultural, or industrial use, and local authorities now hold registers of brownfield land suitable for housing. Ipswich Building Society’s research showed that 31% of potential self-builders were not aware of this, although 61% said it would help them find a plot once they were made aware of brownfield sites[5].

Finding the right self-build mortgage

Of course, for a mortgage adviser, finding a specialist self-build mortgage for a client can be time-consuming. It could mean hours on the phone to a variety of lenders, with no guarantee of finding the perfect product for a client.

That’s where Criteria Hub can make a world of difference. It has over 50 criteria relating to self-build, plus a range of questions that assist with the applications, making the process quick and simple with just a single search of over 70 lenders required. This means an adviser can find what maybe once was considered to be a niche product just as easily as an everyday residential or buy-to-let product.

Whatever type of mortgage you need to find, Criteria Hub delivers many benefits:

  • Match criteria from over 70 lenders for both residential and buy-to-let
  • Over 30,000 criteria to compare
  • Ability to flag criteria that are critical or a deal-breaker
  • 1000s of additional criteria not found on lender websites
  • Standardised terms make it quick and simple for lenders to update their criteria

Maybe it’s time to look at Self-build clients and start laying the foundations for boosting your business? To find out more about Criteria Hub email sales@mortgage-brain.co.uk or simply register to become a Criteria Hub user with a 30-day free trial.


[1] https://www.ipswich-intermediaries.co.uk/blog/over-a-third-of-uk-adults-are-considering-a-self-build-project-so-here-s-the-latest-data-on-this-potential-group-of-clients

[2] https://www.york.ac.uk/media/chp/documents/2013/Lloyds_A4%20report%20v2-final%20NEWno.2.pdf

[3] https://nacsba.org.uk/news/single-dwelling-data-shows-self-build-numbers-growing/

[4] https://www.insulationexpress.co.uk/blog/uks-biggest-self-build-opportunities/

[5] https://www.ipswich-intermediaries.co.uk/blog/over-a-third-of-uk-adults-are-considering-a-self-build-project-so-here-s-the-latest-data-on-this-potential-group-of-clients