How Much Can I Borrow With a Mortgage?

Purchasing a home is a significant financial decision, and one of the key factors to consider is how much you can borrow with a mortgage.

Whether you’re a first-time buyer or looking to move up the property ladder, understanding your borrowing capacity is crucial in determining your budget and finding the right home.

Let’s explore the factors that affect how much you can borrow and provide some guidelines to help you make an informed decision.


How Will a Lender Assess How Much I Can Borrow?

Lenders assess your ability to make mortgage repayments through a detailed process that ensures you can afford the mortgage both now and in the future.

Here’s how they typically approach it:

Income Verification

Lenders will request documentation such as payslips, bank statements, and, for self-employed individuals, tax returns (SA302) and business accounts.

This is to verify the stability and reliability of your income, including your base salary and any additional sources like bonuses or freelance work.

Affordability Assessment

Beyond just your income, lenders conduct an in-depth review of your spending habits and living expenses. This includes regular outgoings like utility bills, credit commitments, groceries, and other lifestyle expenses.

The goal is to gauge how much disposable income you have to cover mortgage repayments.

Debt-to-Income Ratio (DTI)

This ratio is calculated by dividing your total monthly debt payments by your gross monthly income. It helps lenders assess whether you can comfortably manage your existing debts along with the proposed mortgage payments.

Credit History Check

Your credit report is scrutinised to evaluate your track record with managing debt and credit. A solid credit history can enhance your mortgage prospects, potentially leading to better interest rates and terms.

Stress Testing

Lenders perform stress tests to see if you can still afford the mortgage under various scenarios, such as interest rate increases or changes in your personal circumstances (like a job loss or a drop in income).

This ensures that you can maintain payments even in less ideal conditions.


Does My Employment Status Impact the Amount I Can Borrow?

Your employment status and the nature of your job play a significant role in determining how much you can borrow for a mortgage.

Lenders look at several aspects of your employment to assess your borrowing capacity:

1. Type of Employment:

Whether you’re a full-time employee, part-time, contractor, freelancer, or self-employed, each type of employment is viewed differently by lenders.

Full-time, permanent employees often have the easiest time getting approved for larger loans because their income is seen as stable and predictable.

In contrast, freelancers, contractors, and self-employed individuals might face more scrutiny due to the potentially fluctuating nature of their income.

2. Income Stability and History:

Lenders typically prefer borrowers who have a stable employment history, usually at least two years in the same job or field. This stability suggests a lower risk of income interruption.

If you’ve recently changed jobs or your income has varied significantly, lenders might be more cautious, potentially limiting the amount they’re willing to lend.

3. Job Security and Industry:

The security of your job and the stability of the industry you work in are important. Jobs perceived as high-risk or in fluctuating industries might lead to more conservative lending, as lenders are cautious about potential income interruptions.

4. Self-Employment Considerations:

For self-employed individuals, lenders scrutinise the financial health and stability of the business. This often requires more extensive documentation, such as tax returns and business financial statements, to establish a reliable income.

5. Future Income Prospects:

Lenders may consider your potential for future income increases, especially in professions known for upward income trajectories. This is particularly relevant for individuals early in their careers in high-earning fields.


How Much Can I Borrow for a Mortgage Based on My Salary?

In the UK, you can typically borrow up to 4 to 4.5 times your annual salary for a mortgage. However, this can vary based on factors like your credit score, existing debts, the size of your deposit, and lender policies.

Remember, it’s important to borrow what you can comfortably afford to repay.


How Does a Lender’s Affordability Assessment Work?

Since the financial crisis in 2008, the UK has made significant changes to its financial system regulations. This was done to boost stability, reduce risks, and protect consumers.

As a result of these reforms, lenders now carefully assess the amount you want to borrow. They want to make sure it’s a manageable amount for you. But that’s not all – they also consider something called a ‘stressed rate.’

This stressed rate is typically set between 1% and 2% higher than what they believe their Standard Variable Rate (SVR) could increase over the next five years. SVR is the rate you move to once your fixed rate deal ends, and it’s usually set by the lender. It tends to be higher than fixed or tracker rate deals.

But here’s the catch: lenders usually keep the exact stressed rate they use a bit of a secret. It’s a precaution they take to account for potential interest rate increases and ensure that you can handle your loan comfortably.


Conclusion – How Much Can You Borrow?

To sum it up, lenders look at:

  • Your income and its stability.
  • Your existing debts and financial commitments.
  • Your living costs and potential future changes in your situation.

By understanding these factors, you can get a rough idea of how much you might be able to borrow. Remember, each lender has different criteria, so it’s worth shopping around or talking to a mortgage broker.

To find out how much you can borrow, speak to one of our Sales Consultants who will put you in touch with one of our recommended Independent Financial Advisers.