Category Archives: Criteria Hub

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


A single source for truth

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced all of us to rethink the way we do business, bringing technology to the forefront as vast amounts of the UK workforce migrates to working from home.

This has undeniably brought challenges across financial services, notably within the mortgage industry for lenders, for you, and your customers, as the shape of the mortgage industry continues to change almost daily.

Some of the most rapidly evolving changes have occurred as a result of mortgage lenders reviewing their product ranges and policies for new and existing customers alike, mainly due to operational constraints and to support the government’s payment holiday scheme. It is now reported that 1 in 7 mortgage holders in the UK have requested a payment holiday[1].

On 14th April Mortgage Brain reported the number of products available were down by 7,179, 49.1% lower than the nine-week average to 16th March.

Supporting simplicity

Keeping up to date with the frequency and complexity of the changes poses new challenges for your business including how to best obtain timely, accurate information, and understand how these rapid changes are impacting your business and your clients. Particularly as an overwhelming amount of information is posted across a multitude of channels by numerous sources.

As mortgage technology experts, at Mortgage Brain, we take pride in the accuracy, timeliness and relevancy of the information we publish and have available within our sourcing and criteria solutions. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic we have enhanced our efforts to provide access to accurate and relevant information by allowing users of our offline sourcing product to access the online version for free for at least 90 days. And, we extended this offer to Criteria Hub for new users*, while also inviting lenders to update their policies on the platform in real-time.

During these challenging times, we have also acted upon customer feedback to provide additional support through a platform to relay the truth of COVID-19’s impact on the industry across policy, product, and news, all from one source. With this in mind, on 20th April, we proudly announced the launch of a newly developed, bespoke solution in the form of the COVID-19 Support Hub on Criteria Hub.

Introducing our COVID-19 Support Hub on Criteria Hub

Our dedicated support hub contains easily accessible resources including:

  • Lenders Impact Page allowing you to access regularly updated information populated direct from the lenders themselves; and
  • COVID-19 News Portal displaying criteria, product, and industry news as it is released

The platform is open to everyone and provides a single source for mortgage industry updates at this time of uncertainty. However, fully registered Criteria Hub customers can also benefit from access to specific policy notes directly from lenders on the page, and from within Criteria Hub itself, to assist with customer advice at a time when clarity is more important than ever.

Criteria Hub remains free for at least 90 days to new users, enabling all advisers to take advantage of its latest features (**offer ended 31 July 2020). Register today, and equip yourself with the knowledge to support your clients during these difficult times by visiting the Criteria Hub Support Hub or emailing sales@mortgage-brain.co.uk.

Any existing customers that would like to have a demonstration of the new functionality can email sales@mortgage-brain.co.uk to arrange a free online session.

* Please allow two working days to process applications

**The 90-day trial offer ran from 20th April – 30 July 2020 and is no longer available

[1] https://www.mortgagesolutions.co.uk/