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Family offset mortgages

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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: 2nd April 2019 *

We’re getting more and more enquiries about Family Offset Mortgages, which have become a popular way for parents to help their children or other family members onto the property ladder. To answer your questions on these products, we’ve put together this guide to family offset mortgages in the UK, and you’ll find the following topics covered below...

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What is a family offset mortgage?

A family offset mortgage is a special class of offset mortgage  that can be used to help family members get on to the housing ladder. Sometimes called a  ‘parent offset mortgage’, it is most commonly used by parents who want to help their children with a purchase, but the recipient can occasionally be any nominated family member.

As with a standard offset mortgage, this is achieved by linking a savings account to a mortgage , which has the effect of ‘offsetting’ the loan: in other words reducing the amount of interest due on it.

The main difference is that the mortgage in this case is held not by the owner of the savings account, but by their child(ren) or other nominated family member.

NB: for ease of reference, we will use the classic example of a parent and child taking out a family offset mortgage for the rest of this article.

How does a family offset mortgage work?

In a family offset mortgage, the total amount borrowed is reduced by the value of the parents’ savings. This has the effect of lowering the loan to value ratio (LTV) so that the overall debt is smaller, and interest rates are lower, which in turn reduces the cost of the repayments.

For example, if a mortgage of £300,000 is needed for the purchase and the parents have £50,000 in savings, linking the mortgage account to these savings will reduce the amount being borrowed to £250,000.

The same effect can of course be achieved by putting down a deposit of equal value, but with a family offset mortgage the savings money is returned in full to the parents, once the child has paid off an agreed proportion of their mortgage, usually 25-30%, and it might even accrue interest during the mortgage term.

What are the benefits of a family offset mortgage?

These flexible family mortgages can be a great solution for both parties involved, providing a leg-up onto the property ladder that avoids the often prohibitive outlay of a deposit for the children - while also reducing repayments by allowing access to the favourable interest rates associated with lower loan to value (LTV) ratios.

While the advantages to the children are obvious, parents benefit from being able to help them with the significant upfront costs of purchasing a home without having to give money away permanently. Instead they transfer existing savings to the linked account, knowing that they will get it back once the child is in a position to ‘take over’ the mortgage completely, and they might even earn interest during this period.

Who is eligible for a family offset mortgage?

As long as the applicant can prove they are able to afford the repayments, each lender has its own policies on who they will accept as a borrower: generally the ‘riskier’ the borrower is perceived to be (due to any bad credit issues or buying a non-standard property for example), the smaller the pool of lenders willing to lend will be, which can make it harder to access more favourable interest rates and products with smaller deposits. But in the special case of family offset mortgages there are a few additional details to consider.

First, there is the issue of who counts as a family member, and even if non-family members can benefit.

For example, family offset mortgages with Barclays or Nationwide does not include friends, neighbours or anyone else who is not a legal relative (this definition usually includes step-children, grandchildren, parents, civil partners, spouses, brothers and sisters and more), while one or two lenders can allow customers to link savings accounts to a friend’s mortgage.

Secondly, there is the question of the amount of savings required to help a family member with their mortgage, which we cover in the next section.

How much do you need in savings for a family offset mortgage?

This will depend on the value of the property being purchased, and is usually about 10% of that figure. For example, if the property is valued at £200k, the parents need at least £20,000 in their savings account.

In some cases the provider may stipulate that the parents need to have a certain amount held in savings regardless of the value of the property.

For example, at some high street lenders, customers usually need to have at least £50,000 in savings in a specified bank account, or an annual income of £75,000 or higher.

Where can I find a family offset mortgage calculator?

Most lenders and reputable finance sites have mortgage calculators and other tools on their websites, and you may be able to find a family offset mortgage calculator on any of those that offer these products. However we recommend you speak to an advisor with knowledge of the market, as lenders present the information in different ways, and they’ll be in a better position to make a meaningful comparison.

Where can I find the best family offset mortgages?

If you’re interested in setting up a family offset mortgage and want to be sure of tracking down the best deal for your circumstances, we recommend speaking to an advisor with specialist knowledge of the market and unrestricted access to the available products.

All of the advisors we work with have an all-of-market view, and will be happy to talk you through the options: give us a call on 0808 189 2301 or make an enquiry here if you’d like to be referred to one.

Family offset mortgage providers

Many of the best-known lenders offer family offset mortgages to customers that meet the criteria and are in the market for these products, so it’s worth shopping around to find the most suitable deal.

Lenders all have slightly different policies around eligibility and affordability for their products and this applies to the terms of their family offset mortgages too, so we strongly advise speaking to an expert to ensure you find the best deal for your family.

Speak to an all-of-market expert on family offset mortgages today!

If you have questions about family offset mortgages and want to speak to an expert for the right advice, call Online Mortgage Advisor today on 0808 189 2301 or make an enquiry here.

The advisors we work with all have an up-to-the-minute knowledge of the whole market, so will be best place to find a suitable mortgage for you and your loved ones.

Then sit back and let us do all the hard work in finding the broker with the right expertise for your circumstances. We don’t charge a fee and there’s absolutely no obligation or marks on your credit rating.

Updated: 2nd April 2019
OnlineMortgageAdvisor 2019 ©

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.

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