66 . 7 %

By Pete Mugleston | Mortgage Advisor

Pete has been a mortgage advisor for over 10 years, and is regularly cited in both trade and national press.

Updated: 3rd September 2020*

Getting a mortgage in Northern Ireland

If you’re looking for a mortgage in Northern Ireland, it’s important to start off with the right advice. Fewer lenders are based there compared to mainland UK, and that means the best rates and deals are more difficult to come by without the help of an expert. But the good news is that we can introduce you to a whole-of-market broker for free. The advisors we work with know exactly which lenders to turn to for mortgage in Northern Ireland, and speaking to them before you begin could save you time and money. In this article, you’ll find the following topics…

We’ll find the perfect mortgage expert for you - for free

Save time and money with the right mortgage advice, first time

  • Network of over 200 brokers all with whole of market coverage
  • Save up to £400 per year with a mortgage expert matched to you
  • We've helped over 120,000 people get the right advice
  • Our quick & easy form only takes a couple of minutes to complete

Can I get a mortgage in Northern Ireland?

Yes, it’s certainly possible! As Northern Ireland forms part of the United Kingdom, there are no restrictions on British nationals buying property there. Typically, NI mortgages are issued on a repayment basis, with the average term length being between 10 and 25 years.  As we’ve already touched on, fewer lenders operate in Northern Ireland compared to England and Wales, and the ones which do cover there usually have postcode restrictions. With this in mind, seeking specialist advice from a whole-of-market broker, like the ones we work with, is the most effective way to ensure you end up with the best available deal.

How to get a mortgage in Northern Ireland

As you can see, there are many different mortgage products available in Northern Ireland and fewer lenders offering them compared to England and Wales, so the most favourable interest rates on the market can be more difficult to come by. With this in mind, the best way to apply for a mortgage in Northern Ireland is through a whole-of-market broker, like the ones we work with. That way, you can rest assured that you’ll have access to all of the best deals that you qualify for. And that could mean saving time, money and potential disappointment. 

What mortgage deposit do I need?

Lenders’ deposit requirements in Northern Ireland can vary from one provider to another, depending on the level of perceived risk the deal carries.

Can I get a 5% deposit mortgage in Northern Ireland, even if I’m a first time buyer?

Yes. While the most competitive rates tend to be reserved for people with larger deposits, the majority of mortgage lenders in Northern Ireland will consider your application up to 95% loan to value (LTV), 5% deposit, even if you’re a first-time buyer. Be aware, the interest rates may be higher.

Can I get a 100% mortgage in Northern Ireland?

Yes. In rare cases it may be possible to for prospective borrowers to apply for 100% mortgages with no deposit, although these deals are usually reserved for people who have a guarantor behind them – you can read more about this later in this article. 

Do I need to pay stamp duty?

If your Northern Irish property costs less than £125,000 you won’t have to pay Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT). However, if the value of mortgaged property in NI – and the rest of the UK – is over £125,000, SDLT is payable to the Inland Revenue. Calculated as a percentage of the full value of the freehold property or the purchase price of the lease (lease premium), the percentage you will pay is graded as follows:

  • 0% on properties between £0 – £125,000
  • 2% on properties between £125,000 and £250,000
  • 5% on properties between £250,000 and £925,000
  • 10% on properties between £925,000 and £1,500,000
  • 12% on properties over £1,500,000

Mortgage criteria and conditions in Northern Ireland

When you look into getting a mortgage in Northern Ireland you will generally find that the level of borrowing cannot exceed around three times your gross annual salary

Joint mortgages

Where joint borrowers are concerned, the Northern Ireland mortgage market is similar to most other countries. The amount you can borrow would likely be capped based on a multiple of the applicants’ combined salaries. Most mortgage providers will lend up to 4.5 times joint income, some 5x and a minority 6x. While there are still many providers offering a wide range of mortgage options, there are fewer lenders in Northern Ireland than you might find in England, so your choice may be a little more limited. There may also be more postcode restrictions (postcode lending) in Northern Ireland, so bear this in mind when researching locations, alongside the usual considerations such as local amenities and leisure facilities. 

Income and affordability

When applying for a mortgage in Northern Ireland, you will need to provide proof of income in the form of bank statements and payslips if you’re in full time employment. If you’re self-employed, most lenders require two to three years’ worth of accounts.

What other mortgage criteria do lenders in Northern Ireland have?

Other mortgage criteria in Northern Ireland that will be considered will be your credit history and how long you’ve been in your job. 

Will I encounter age limits when applying for a mortgage in Northern Ireland?

Northern Ireland mortgage approvals are also based on age – as is the same across the rest of the UK. Generally speaking, mortgages are available up until the age of 70, although maximum ages will vary by lender. 

How much can I borrow for a mortgage in Northern Ireland?

See the ‘criteria and conditions’ section for a breakdown of how a lender will calculate this or send an enquiry to one of the expert brokers we work with for accurate advice and the best NI mortgage rates.  

Mortgage calculator

If you’re looking to calculate your mortgage for a property in Northern Ireland, an online mortgage calculator may seem an attractive prospect. However, an NI mortgage calculator or generic eligibility checker is unlikely to factor in the specific eligibility requirements of each lender. While they can act as a helpful guide, we strongly advise you speak to one of the NI mortgage brokers we work with. They will run through all requirements and eligibility factors so you’re not disappointed further down the line.

How do I get the best mortgage interest rates?

Mortgage rates vary by lender, area and your circumstances so you will want to compare mortgages in NI before choosing a specific mortgage provider.  Speak to one of the expert Northern Ireland mortgage brokers we work with for up-to-date rates and the best deals – this is the best way to make sure you end up with the most favourable rates, since they’re whole of market and have access to every lender. What’s more, we can introduce you to them for free.

How do I compare mortgages?

The best way to do this is to make an enquiry with us and have the whole-of-market experts we work with compare deals for you. They can scour the market for the best deals that you qualify for and introduce you to the lender offering them. This is a better alternative to using online rates tables, which aren’t tailored to your needs and often given prominent placement to sponsored products. There are a range of different mortgage types on offer in Northern Ireland, including…

Fixed rate mortgages

With a fixed rate mortgage, the interest rate you pay stays the same for a set period, even if general interest rates go up or down. This means you can plan your budget with confidence.

Variable rate

The interest rate you pay fluctuates according to how your lender reacts to money market interest rate changes.

Standard variable rate

The standard variable rate (SVR) is the normal rate of interest offered on a mortgage by the lender. Mortgage schemes such as discounted mortgages are often linked to the SVR.

Discounted rate

There is a guaranteed reduction in the standard variable rate, which gives you the benefit of lower monthly payments for a period of time.

Capped rate

The interest you pay is capped at a top level – you never pay more than the capped rate, but you can still benefit if the standard variable rate decreases.

Tracker rate mortgages

An interest rate directly linked to another rate – typically the Bank of England’s base rate.

Annual interest

Most mortgages lenders charge interest annually in advance, meaning that if you make a substantial repayment to reduce your mortgage, you need to time the date of your payment, or make an arrangement with your lender, to ensure you’re not giving them an interest free loan until your next interest calculation date. Interest is usually re-calculated daily until your payment date when you pay off your mortgage entirely, although some products recalculate monthly.  Some products now calculate all interest charges daily. 

We’ll find the perfect mortgage expert for you - for free

Save time and money with the right mortgage advice, first time

  • Network of over 200 brokers all with whole of market coverage
  • Save up to £400 per year with a mortgage expert matched to you
  • We've helped over 120,000 people get the right advice
  • Our quick & easy form only takes a couple of minutes to complete

What kind of mortgage products are there in Northern Ireland?

There are many different types of mortgages available to all types of customer. Read on for information about them…

Let to buy mortgages

A let to buy mortgage enables you to remortgage a property you own onto a BTL deal to release some of the equity you hold, with a view to putting it towards the purchase of your next home. Let to buy mortgages are available in Northern Ireland and these products can be useful if you need to move to a bigger house or are relocating for work, or when the climate isn’t right to sell. With a let to buy mortgage you may be able to let out your property, with a view to a later sale or to keep as an investment. 

Self-certification mortgages

These were very popular some years ago, especially with people who were self employed or contractors, but since the collapse of the banking industry, they were banned in the UK and are no longer available. 

Mortgages for expats

Expatriate or “expat” mortgages apply if you are a British national working abroad and are looking to buy a home in the UK. The maximum loan to value for this type of mortgage is usually 75%.

Flexible mortgages

Having a flexible mortgage means that you can pay more than the stipulated monthly mortgage repayment, thus allowing you to pay off your mortgage quicker. In addition, you can also request a break from your regular monthly payments if you are experiencing short-term financial difficulty, though this will be at the lender’s digression. A flexible mortgage is ideal if you aren’t on a fixed income or if need more versatility in your mortgage arrangements. However, flexible mortgages rates in Northern Ireland tend to also include variable interest rates, meaning your monthly payments will not be fixed. Some lenders provide all-in-one accounts where savings and borrowed monies are put into one account in order to reduce the level of borrowing.

Cash-back mortgages

A cash-back mortgage means the lender will offer you a cash gift for taking out a mortgage with them.  The cash gift is usually payable one month after taking out or on completion of the loan. This cash bonus may be useful if you need to make minor repairs or decorate your new property.

Buy-to-let mortgages

If you’re looking for an investment mortgage in Northern Ireland, see our guide to buy-to-let mortgages for detailed information. 

Self-build mortgages

We have all the details on self-build mortgages in In Northern Ireland in this article.

Non-standard construction mortgages

Every lender is different but many don’t accept property that’s non-standard, unique, or a listed building; generally because of concerns that they’re higher risk and less sellable. However, some mortgage providers in Northern Ireland are happy to consider a wide range of property types – for more information on this see our non-standard property section or speak to one of our experts who will be able to give you details on Northern Ireland mortgage lenders.

Can I get a mortgage with bad credit?

It can be daunting to start the mortgage search process if you have adverse credit history, or are currently in negative equity and struggling to keep up with your repayments on an existing property. Take a look at our information on bad credit mortgages.

Mortgage schemes in Northern Ireland

If you want to buy a house but can’t afford a deposit, there are several government schemes that can help customers with their first-time mortgage in Northern Ireland.

Help to Buy

The Help to Buy loan program is a government initiative that provides financing to prospective homeowners who have the income to make loan payments but are struggling to save a mortgage deposit.  Help to buy mortgages in NI closed to new applicants in 2016.

Right to Buy

If you are a council, housing association, NHS or other public sector tenant, and have been in your home for over five years, you may be able to buy your home for less than its market rate. The maximum Right to Buy discount in Northern Ireland is £24,000.  You can apply with someone else who shares the tenancy with you, or with up to three members of your family if you’ve lived together for the last year or more. However, if you sell the property within five years you will have to pay back some or all of the discount, plus a share of any profit.

Co-ownership/Shared Ownership

A shared or co-ownership mortgage is a government scheme to help lower-income households onto the property ladder – you split the purchase with your local housing association. NI co-ownership mortgage lenders usually only require 5% of the property’s value as the deposit. 

Rent-to-buy mortgages

Rent to buy mortgages allow people who would like to own a newbuild property, but perhaps aren’t in the position to do so currently, to choose a new build property (up to the value of £165k) that they’ll rent for up to 3 years.  At the end of the 3 years (or sooner in some cases, as long as they’ve rented for at least 12 months), 20% of the rent they’ve paid is refunded back to them, which they then use towards the deposit to purchase the property.   Rent to buy properties are not available everywhere, but you can make an enquiry and one of our advisors can provide you all the information you need on rent to buy mortgages in Northern Ireland.

Guarantor mortgages

Perhaps you are looking for a guarantor mortgage in Northern Ireland? While there is a risk to the guarantor if you default on your mortgage payments, you might be more likely to get a mortgage, and be able to borrow more or at a better interest rate.  With a guarantor mortgage you can borrow up to 100% of a property’s value, with the most you can borrow in cash terms being £500,000.

Secured loans in Northern Ireland

Secured loans are also known as “second mortgages” or “second charges”. In general, secured loans can be much more flexible than standard residential mortgages you’d get in NI.  However, these are only for people borrowing more money – you can’t usually purchase a property on a secured loan – and are almost always secured over the top of a main mortgage. Loan to value can be as much as 95% and there may be a few happy to go up to 120%, although usually at a much higher interest rate. These lenders do not enforce the same caps you’d expect from your typical residential mortgage, so you may be able to borrow over ten times your income. Secured loans can also be beneficial for those who want to borrow more but keep their existing mortgage in place, for instance, if it’s a great deal or you’re unable to refinance or want to switch to an interest only mortgage for your NI property.

Large mortgage loans in Northern Ireland

Generally speaking, large loans are considered to be those over £500k. It can be a more restrictive market when looking at larger loans, though all lenders have different criteria around this. LTV ratios for large mortgages can vary, but they are typically anywhere between 70% and 95%, depending on the size of the mortgage. As a rule of thumb, the larger the mortgage, the lower the LTV available. Fewer adverse credit lenders offer large loans, with many specialist bad credit lenders capping at £500k. Some cap at £750k and a few will go over £1m by exception – in this instance it is imperative to seek out the advice of a mortgage specialist.

Second home mortgages in Northern Ireland

Second homes (e.g. to live in while you work during the week, or holiday homes) are treated as second residences and are calculated using personal income and affordability. Most lenders look at LTV on both the current main residence and the new one being purchased. 

How much deposit will I need?

Some providers request more deposit for the purchase, whereas others will want at least 15-20% equity in the current main residence. A few will ignore the current main residence and only require 15% deposit on the new purchase, and a handful will accept 10%. The current mortgage will be considered when assessing affordability for the new mortgage. Income and affordability is also assessed in the same way as main mortgages with multiple income caps. For those with adverse credit there are there are fewer lenders offering second home mortgages at higher LTVs, so it can be more restrictive if you don’t have a sizeable deposit or equity in your main property.

Agricultural mortgages in Northern Ireland

Farm mortgages in Northern Ireland are a niche category and are usually provided by specialist commercial lenders. They are assessed and work differently to residential mortgages and specialist advice is recommended before proceeding. You can read more about on our agricultural mortgages page and find our guide to commercial mortgages here.

Remortgaging in Northern Ireland

Is your deal about to end? Do you want to switch from interest-only to a repayment mortgage? Perhaps you want to release some equity from your property for renovations, or other purposes such as debt consolidation. There are many reasons people might want to remortgage their property, including to pay off debt. There are a few factors to consider when thinking about remortgaging your property:

How to find the best Remortgage deals in NI

It’s definitely worth shopping around for the best NI remortgage deals, or better yet, have one of the whole-of-market brokers we work with do it for you.  While in the past it was a complicated, these days it’s very easy. However, make sure your switch will be a no-cost deal with your new lender covering the expenses. 

Remortgage comparison

When making a remortgage comparison in NI be sure to check the interest rate and monthly cost and again, make sure the new lender will cover any transfer costs. Mortgage rates in NI can vary a lot by postcode, so checking your area with one of our advisors will ensure you have all the facts.

Remortgage calculator

In the first instance you might want to check a remortgage calculator, but don’t rely on this as 100% accurate information. The best way to find all the information you need and the get best remortgage rates in Northern Ireland, speak to one of the expert brokers we work with.

Why you should speak to an expert Northern Ireland mortgage broker

We’ve helped over 120,000 people find the right mortgage, even applicants in Northern Ireland who have been declined a mortgage or have bad credit history.  In fact, our customers consistently rate us 5 stars on Feefo, mainly due to our high levels of service, but also because we offer offers a 5-star service with access to expert brokers who specialise in the Northern Irish market and are:

  • Whole of market.
  • Can offer bespoke advice to customers buying in Northern Ireland
  • Have a working relationship with all lenders, including independent mortgage brokers in Northern Ireland.
  • Already know the lenders to go to as they have successfully arranged mortgages in NI.
  • Are OMA Accredited advisors.
  • Have completed a 12 module LIBF accredited training course.

We’ll find the perfect mortgage expert for you - for free

Save time and money with the right mortgage advice, first time

  • Network of over 200 brokers all with whole of market coverage
  • Save up to £400 per year with a mortgage expert matched to you
  • We've helped over 120,000 people get the right advice
  • Our quick & easy form only takes a couple of minutes to complete

Talk to a NI mortgage expert today

If you have questions about the Northern Ireland property market and want some quotes for the best offers for your circumstances, call Online Mortgage Advisor today on 0808 189 2301 or make an enquiry to discuss your options. Then sit back and let us do all the hard work in finding the broker with the right expertise for your circumstances. Remember, applying for a mortgage through a specialist broker could save you time, money and unnecessary marks on your credit file. We don’t charge a fee and there’s absolutely no obligation or marks on your credit rating.

Updated: 3rd September 2020
OnlineMortgageAdvisor 2020 ©

FCA disclaimer

*Based on our research, the content contained in this article is accurate as of most recent time of writing. Lender criteria and policies change regularly so speak to one of the advisors we work with to confirm the most accurate up to date information. The info on the site is not tailored advice to each individual reader, and as such does not constitute financial advice. All advisors working with us are fully qualified to provide mortgage advice and work only for firms who are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. They will offer any advice specific to you and your needs. Some types of buy to let mortgages are not regulated by the FCA. Think carefully before securing other debts against your home. As a mortgage is secured against your home, it may be repossessed if you do not keep up with repayments on your mortgage. Equity released from your home will also be secured against it.

Find out more about mortgage applications

Mortgage Applications