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Getting a mortgage on a concrete construction property

The key information you need to know about mortgages on concrete construction properties

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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: 25th June 2019 *

Non-standard property types can be appealing for various reasons; maybe you’ve been drawn in by a bargain price tag, or perhaps you’re just after a home that looks a little less conventional than your standard brick and mortar house.

Customers often approach us with queries around mortgages for unusual constructions, and we’re sometimes asked “can you get a mortgage on a concrete house or flat?” which is exactly what this article covers.

Concrete build mortgages can be more difficult to obtain. This is because concrete constructions as classified as non-standard, and any property falling under this category may be considered higher risk, and therefore harder to insure and resell.

So, if you’re considering a concrete house mortgage, be sure to read this article before going any further.

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Can I get a mortgage on a concrete construction property?

Yes, it could well be possible.

When it comes to getting a mortgage on a concrete house or other non-standard property, every lender will have a difference stance as to whether they are willing to loan to you. If their eligibility criteria deems the property as unreliable security for the requested loan amount, it unlikely that you’ll be approved.

For non-standard constructions, lenders’ main concerns tend to surround the structural integrity of the property throughout the period, as well as the risk of future problems if you are forced to resell. Lenders will always consider how difficult it would be to resell in the event that you are repossessed. The ‘mortgageability’ of the property will only be confirmed subject to formal valuation.

If you are approved, there may be caveats due to the risk the build poses, such as a larger deposit and / or charging you higher interest rates to counteract the perceived risk - you can read more on this in the section titled ‘What other factors impact eligibility for a concrete build mortgage?’

Although these factors might make it more difficult to get a mortgage on a concrete construction property, there are specialist lenders who deal with non-standard construction mortgage applications every day, and the advisors we work with know who they are - make an enquiry and they will introduce you to one today.

Why are concrete construction mortgages more difficult to get?

In the UK there are many precast reinforced concrete (PRC) homes, the majority of which date back to the 1950s when a large volume of quick, affordable social housing was required in the aftermath of the Second World War.

In the 1980s however, defects were discovered with these properties. The steel columns that formed the structure of the concrete builds were found to be eroding, meaning that the structural integrity was put under fire.

As a result, many lenders started refusing mortgages for concrete properties as they were not generally seen as acceptable security for a home loan.

Some PRC properties will likely have been “repaired”.  These PRC (repaired) properties are generally viewed more favourably with lenders then non-repaired properties.

Types of concrete construction methods to look out for

One of the most common examples of this is Wimpey No-fines, a construction method and series of housing designs for mass-production of social housing developed under the the Ministry of Works post-World War II Emergency Factory Made programme.

While some providers are happy to authorise a Wimpey No-fines concrete mortgage, these properties can be deemed as higher risk.

Other methods or renowned PRC construction companies which could hinder your chance of getting a mortgage include:

Cornish Units

Cornish Units is one of the most well known types of “temporary” PRC constructions, predominantly located throughout Cornwall and surrounding areas after the Second World War.

There are two main types of Cornish Units. Type 1 have PRC panel walls at ground floor level, and the second storey utilising a mansard roof with almost vertically clad tiles over timber trusses. Type 2 Cornish Units generally have pre-cast reinforced concrete external walls over both storeys.

Woolaway Construction builds

Another popular post-war housing option, Woolaway Construction built a range of PRC houses made of concrete frames and panels. Woolaway builds were predominantly semi-detached and terraced two storey houses, or detached bungalows.

Dorran constructions

During the 1950s, the Hull construction firm R.G. Tarran, builder of the Tarran Prefab, adapted the former method of Pullars of Perth to create the Dorran House, which are most commonly bungalows built from precast panels.

Reema Construction homes

The Reema construction method originated in the late 1940s and was still well in use in the ‘60s. There are two types, Reema Hollow Panel and Reema Conclad. Reema Conclad are typically perceived as less risky investments by lenders, but it can still be difficult to get a mortgage on any type of Reema Construction.

Orlit concrete houses

The Orlit house type was designed by Erwin Katona. Most of them were constructed in the UK during the post-war period as a quick, cheap solution, but many have since been demolished or else require major repair work before lenders are willing to authorise a mortgage on them.

Airey house constructions

Sir Edwin Airey was behind the creation of PRC Airey house constructions. Designed and built in the UK after the Second World War, these prefab homes consist of concrete columns reinforced with metal tubing, which is said to have been recycled from military vehicles.

Unity PRC homes

The Unity PRC homes were mainly built in the 1950s, typically as semi-detached or terraced two storey homes. In addition to the concrete degradation and steel beam issues of usual PRC properties, Unity PRC homes also originally used asbestos based roofing.

Wates Group PRC builds

Another popular type of PRC housing after World War II was created by Wates Construction. Again, these homes were built to assist with the national housing shortage and are now deemed “defective housing “due to the corrosion issues affecting the concrete and steel used in their construction.

Hawksley constructions

Hawksley PRCs can easily be mistaken for a standard brick house as they are constructed of PRC beams with a brick outer skin. There are a number of PRC Homes certified repair schemes for Hawksley houses which many major high street lenders are happy to accept.

Whitson Fairhurst PRC homes

Whitson-Fairhurst produced a number of PRC house during 1940 - 1959, again as a quick way to assist with the housing shortage after the Second World War. These properties are particularly common in Scotland.

Concrete construction mortgages: what are my options?

Although you may be limited with lenders for a concrete home, some providers are more flexible with non-standard builds if you can prove it poses no imminent risk. This is why it’s very important to have the property professionally surveyed prior to purchase.

Alternatively, you may consider repairing the property to make it more mortgage-able; concrete blocks and panels will need to be removed and replaced with “standard” brick.

While this can be an expensive and time consuming process, you may find that the property value increases after the work is complete and counteracts the cost of rebuilding. What’s more, if you decided to refurbish you may open yourself up to a wider range of lenders and better rates, saving yourself money in the long-term.

What other factors impact eligibility for a concrete build mortgage?

As well as the property-specific factors we’ve discussed throughout this article, lenders will determine whether you’re eligible for a concrete construction mortgage based on the following factors....

  • The loan to value ratio:
    The more deposit you’re able to put down, the better. Some lenders may even insist on this with a non-standard construction property such as a concrete build house. Read more on mortgage deposits here.
  • Income & affordability:
    Most non-standard construction mortgage providers cap their lending at x4 your salary, others x5 and a minority x6. Your earnings will be offset against significant outgoings such as outstanding debts and dependent children. Read more about how mortgage affordability works here.
  • Employment type:
    A specialist lender may be required if you’re self-employed or have earnings that are comprised of commission or bonuses.
  • Age:
    Some non-standard construction mortgage providers won’t lend to anyone over 75, others over 85 and a minority have no upper age limit. However, there are specific mortgages geared towards retirement borrowers and you can read more about them here.
  • Credit history:
    Lenders are generally less inclined to invest in individuals with bad credit history, especially if the mortgage is for a high risk property. Those who will consider you may have higher interest rates, and / or cap how much they are willing to loan you. They may also require a higher LTV. But there are specialist bad credit lenders who are best positioned to offer favourable rates under these circumstances. Read more about bad credit mortgages here.

Why you should speak to a concrete construction mortgage broker

We’ve helped over 120,000 people find the right mortgage, including those who’ve been declined due to their properties being of non-standard construction.

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 are:

  • Whole of market.
  • Have a working relationship with all concrete construction lenders, not just a select few.
  • Already know the concrete construction lenders to go to as they successfully arrange these already.
  • Best positioned to offer bespoke advice on concrete construction properties
  • OMA Accredited advisors.
  • Have completed a 12 module LIBF accredited training course.

Talk to a non-standard property expert today

If you have questions about concrete construction 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.

Then sit back and let us do all the hard work in finding the concrete construction mortgage 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: 25th June 2019
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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.