Getting A Mortgage Using Joint Income

Read Expert guidance on how much a couple can borrow for a mortgage and how to secure the best rate

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Home Mortgage Affordability Getting A Mortgage Using Joint Income
Pete Mugleston

Author: Pete Mugleston

Mortgage Advisor, MD

Jon Nixon

Reviewer: Jon Nixon

Director of Distribution

Updated: March 11, 2024

How we reviewed this article:

Our experts continuously monitor changes in the financial space and work closely with qualified mortgage advisors for factual verification.

March 11, 2024

In this article, we’ll look at how much additional applicants can impact the size of your loan, why you might use a joint mortgage, and where to find the most suitable deals for your needs.

How much can a couple borrow for a joint mortgage?

When you apply as a couple, most lenders will combine the incomes of both applicants and use a multiple of your annual income as a basis for the loan amount, however, some use a certain multiple of the highest earner’s income and add the lower earner’s income to that.

Mortgage lenders typically offer 3 to 4.5 times the joint gross annual income for mortgages in the UK, potentially extending to 6 times your joint income based on the deposit size. Affordability assessments take into account credit history, debt-to-income ratio, employment, and living expenses.

Some lenders offer a slightly lower income multiple for joint applicants compared to individual applicants. For example, Halifax will lend 5 times the income of a couple jointly earning £50-£75k between them, whereas a single applicant on £75k could borrow up to 5.5 times their income*.

*Please note: lender terms and conditions are subject to change at their discretion

To get a clearer idea of your maximum borrowing, enter the combined income of all of the mortgage applicants into our calculator below.

Mortgage Affordability Calculator

Use this calculator to determine how much you could potentially borrow for a mortgage, based on the typical salary multiples used by most UK lenders.

Input full salaries for all applicants

Your Results:

You could borrow up to 

Most lenders would consider letting you borrow

This is based on 4.5 times your household income, the standard calculation used by the majority of mortgage providers. To borrow more than this, you will need to use a mortgage broker to access specialist lenders.

Some lenders would consider letting you borrow

This is based on 5 times your household income, a salary multiple you might struggle to qualify for without the help of a broker. This income multiple is not widely available to customers who are applying directly with a lender.

A minority of lenders would consider letting you borrow

This is based on 6 times your household income, a salary multiple you will struggle to get without a broker. Six-times salary mortgages are usually only available under very specific circumstances.

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How do joint income mortgages work?

Joint mortgages offer a great option for those struggling to get onto the property ladder independently, but there is no real difference in the way that the mortgage works, other than at the application stage. Depending on the number of applicants, lenders will generally consider their combined income, so typically, joint applicants can borrow more than a single applicant.

Although they are most often used for 2 applicants that want to purchase a property together, there are circumstances where up to 4 applicants can apply for a joint mortgage together. Not all lenders will allow this, and even those willing to consider 3 or 4 applicants, will often only look at the combined income of the 2 highest earners amongst them.

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Example calculations

This table shows how much impact your joint income, and the income multiple offered can affect the size of your loan.

Combined income Multiple of 4 Multiple of 4.5 Multiple of 5 Multiple of 5.5 Multiple of 6
£40,000 £160,000 £180,000 £200,000 £220,000 £240,000
£50,000 £200,000 £225,000 £250,000 £275,000 £300,000
£60,000 £240,000 £270,000 £300,000 £330,000 £360,000
£75,000 £280,000 £315,000 £350,000 £385,000 £420,000

As you can see, a couple earning £50k between them would need to find a lender willing to offer them 6 times their income to get a £300k mortgage, which is possible, but quite difficult to attain, and this level of borrowing is often reserved for professionals and higher earners.

A couple with a joint income of £60,000, however, would only need to borrow 5 times their income, which is much easier to achieve. Remember, not all mortgage lenders use income multiples, so the size of loan you need may still be achievable with the right advice.

How to get a joint mortgage

If you’re looking for a joint mortgage, your first step should be to find a specialist mortgage broker with experience in this area as this will boost your chances of getting approved at the best terms available.

Using our free broker-matching service you can speak straight away to the right broker by simply making an enquiry online. They’ll be able to help with:

  • Readying all the necessary paperwork, based on both applicants
  • Downloading your credit reports
  • Finding the right lender and securing the best deal for you

Did you know… An Online Mortgage Advisor broker has access to more deals than any comparison site.

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Happy approved couple

Eligibility criteria

You can see how important the role of income/affordability plays in determining how much you can borrow, but it’s not quite as straightforward as borrowing your salary x 4.5. Most lenders use income multiples as a guide for how much you can borrow, but a full affordability assessment will also include a thorough review of your outgoings too.

The following eligibility criteria could also indirectly impact how much you can borrow by possibly limiting the number of lenders willing to accept your application:

  • Deposit size – As joint borrowers, you won’t need a larger minimum deposit than a solo borrower (typically 5%), however, if you’re able to combine your savings to provide a larger deposit, more lenders will consider your application which, in turn, could mean you qualify for better interest rates.
  • Employment types – High street lenders tend to favour employed applicants, as they consider them to be more stable, however, self-employed people generally have access to the same products, with slightly stricter criteria.
    • There is no requirement for joint borrowers to have the same type of income and it’s perfectly possible to get a mortgage if one person is self-employed and the other is a PAYE employee, for example.
  • Living expenses – The outgoings of every applicant will be considered, regardless of how much they are contributing to the mortgage, which means those with a low income and high outgoings could be more of a liability than a benefit to a joint application.
  • Credit record – Every applicant’s credit record will be reviewed by a lender. If any of the applicants have credit issues, it could restrict the number of lenders available to you. In some cases a bad credit lender may be the best option, however, a qualified broker will be able to help you to determine what’s best in your scenario.

It’s also worth considering that once you’re financially connected to others, such as by a joint mortgage, any bad credit issues they have will impact your credit rating, which can impede your future borrowing potential.

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Can you get a joint mortgage with only one income?

It’s certainly possible and if you’re married, it’s likely to be your only option, as most lenders will insist that married couples have a joint mortgage whether they both work or not. Some lenders may be willing to consider the future income of a non-earning applicant that is raising a family, for example, but plans to go back to work at a later stage, especially if they have a defined career path to return to.

However, this may not always be the best option for those applicants who are applying with an unmarried partner or other relations, for example, depending on the circumstances of the other applicant(s). The first thing to consider is that joint applicants without income will be considered financially dependent on you, and this can impact your affordability.

Get matched with a joint mortgage expert

Finding the right joint mortgage can be a difficult task without the guidance of someone who has experience in dealing with this type of application regularly. An expert broker will make sure you’ve considered every option available to you, and that you understand the full implications of the financial partnership you’re forming.

Our free broker matching service will pair you with one of the brokers in our network, making sure their experience is closely matched to your needs. To make use of our 5-star rated service and save yourself valuable time and money, simply call on 0808 189 2301 or make an enquiry, and we’ll get you on the right path.

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If one applicant is retired, you may still be able to get a joint mortgage either based on the sole income of the non-retired applicants or taking the retired applicant’s pension into consideration. If you are both retired, or over the age of 55, you could also consider an equity release product, so there are plenty of options available to you.

The only scenario whereby you would be able to use your partner’s income for a mortgage application is if they were going to apply jointly with you. It’s not possible to use someone else’s income for a solo application, even if they are your spouse.

You could consider either a joint borrower sole proprietor or a guarantor mortgage if you also plan to contribute to the mortgage, and your partner would be able to support your purchase in terms of affordability.

Breakups happen, and if you have a mortgage with a partner who you have split from, there are a few options available to you:

  • Transfer the mortgage into a sole name, although the partner remaining on the mortgage would need to be able to afford to buy out the other partner, and meet the affordability criteria of the mortgage on their own going forwards
  • Selling the property and splitting the profit/proceeds of sale
  • Remortgaging to a buy-to-let and using the rental income to make the repayments, bearing in mind that you will remain jointly responsible if the property is vacant
  • In the case of a family split, one parent may continue living in the property, and both parents remain equally liable for the mortgage

If you have 3-4 owners with a ‘tenants in common’ agreement, you will largely have similar options, but it’s likely to be more complex to resolve.

There are a number of reasons you may need more than one mortgage, for example, you have a joint mortgage with a business partner and want to buy a residential property with your romantic partner, or on your own.

This is perfectly achievable, so long as you’re able to meet both lenders’ affordability criteria, although the existing joint mortgage will be deducted from your affordability for the second mortgage, which could reduce the amount you could borrow.

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About the author

Pete, an expert in all things mortgages, cut his teeth right in the middle of the credit crunch. With plenty of people needing help and few mortgage providers lending, Pete found great success in going the extra mile to find mortgages for people whom many others considered lost causes. The experience he gained, coupled with his love of helping people reach their goals, led him to establish Online Mortgage Advisor, with one clear vision – to help as many customers as possible get the right advice, regardless of need or background.

Pete’s presence in the industry as the ‘go-to’ for specialist finance continues to grow, and he is regularly cited in and writes for both local and national press, as well as trade publications, with a regular column in Mortgage Introducer and being the exclusive mortgage expert for LOVEMoney. Pete also writes for Online Mortgage Advisor of course!

Read more about Pete

Pete Mugleston

Mortgage Advisor, MD

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