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How much can I borrow?

Use our online mortgage calculator to get a rough estimate of how much you could borrow to buy your own home.

Mortgage affordability calculator
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You'll usually need at least 5% of the property's value
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How does the mortgage affordability calculator work?

Our mortgage calculator uses a set multiple of 4.5 times your income and your deposit value to calculate what you might be able to borrow. This is because 4.5 is the most common income multiple offered by lenders - however, this varies depending on your credit score, the type of property you're buying, your age, and by lender.

It will also cap your lending at a maximum of 95% LTV (loan to value) as this is the most UK mortgage lenders will offer, unless you use a guarantor product. This means that if you input a deposit lower than 5% of the property value then the calculator will not work.

As mortgage calculators cannot take personal circumstances into consideration, they can be helpful in the planning stages, but only provide a rough guide of how much you might be able to borrow on application.

A mortgage broker, such as our partner, Mojo Mortgages, can give you a far more accurate estimate based on your actual individual circumstances.

What factors affect how much I can borrow?

Each lender has their own individual criteria that you’ll need to meet, which is why it can be helpful to speak to a mortgage broker. Mortgage lending calculators assume that people already meet relevant criteria, which is why they should only be used as a guide. 

Although the specifics of each lender's criteria vary, most lenders will look at the same factors when deciding whether to lend to you, and how much they're willing to lend:

  • Affordability - Lenders look at your income and outgoings to ensure that you can comfortably afford the mortgage repayments. Some lenders have a minimum income requirement, and some will use a maximum debt to income (DTI) ratio of around 40%. This means that those already spending more than 40% of their income on other debts may struggle to get a mortgage

  • Deposit - The size of your deposit, alongside affordability, is one of the main factors used to calculate how much you can borrow. This is because it will determine the LTV (loan to value) ratio of your borrowing. You will also need to prove that your deposit is from a reputable source

  • Credit history - There is no single ideal credit score to get a mortgage, as lenders have different ideas of what they consider an acceptable level of bad credit. They also use different credit referencing agencies, which don’t use universal scoring systems. Most lenders will look at your credit file more generally to ensure that you don’t pose too high a risk of defaulting on (not paying) your mortgage repayments

  • Age - Most mortgages have minimum and maximum age requirements that you’ll need to meet in order to take out a mortgage. Your age can also affect how much you can borrow, because they will take into account how many years you have left to repay before retirement. There are also specialist mortgage products for older applicants

  • Property - The type of property you want to buy can also affect the size of your loan. Each lender has their own preferences and exclusions. For example, some will cap the amount they lend on certain property types, such as non-standard construction properties, others on remotely based properties, such as outlying islands of the UK. If the property is in a poor state of repair this can also affect how much you can borrow

What's the minimum deposit I need to get a mortgage?

The minimum deposit required by most UK lenders is 5% of the cost of the property, which means you could borrow 95%. This is known as a 95% LTV mortgage - loan to value is the percentage of the property value you’re borrowing.

However, it’s best to have the maximum deposit that you can afford available, as a higher deposit reduces your borrowing - and therefore your LTV. It also gives you access to better interest rates, as you’re considered lower risk. Both save you money on interest over the course of the mortgage

If you’re unable to save a deposit, it may be possible to get a 100% mortgage if you have a relative or friend who is able to help you. This would only be possible with a guarantor mortgage, or a family assisted mortgage.

How do lenders decide how big of a mortgage you can get?

Depending on how well you meet their criteria for the above factors, most lenders will decide on an income multiple that they're willing to offer you. Usually this is around four and a half times your annual income, but it can be more or less depending on your creditworthiness and financial situation.

Certain professionals and high-net-worth individuals can often borrow five or six times their income, and even more with some specialist lenders. Those with poor credit, on the other hand, may be offered less than four and a half times their income.

How much can you borrow with a joint mortgage?

If you’re buying jointly with someone else, lenders tend to offer a multiple of both incomes combined, or a set multiple of the highest earner’s income plus the other applicant's income.

Some lenders even allow a maximum of up to four applicants on the same joint mortgage application. This can increase the size of your loan, as affordability will be calculated on the combined income of all applicants. 

It’s also possible to get a joint borrower, sole proprietor mortgage, which allows family or friends to help you with the affordability, whilst you remain the sole owner of the property.

Different types of mortgages you can get

There are two main types of mortgage deal:

  • Fixed-rate mortgages - The interest rate cannot increase during the deal period - so neither can your repayments (although they also can’t go down)

  • Variable rate mortgage - There are 3 types; tracker mortgages, discount mortgages and SVRs. Each works differently but they can all go up or down at any time, even during a deal term. This means that your repayments would also change

There are then two repayment types:

  • Capital repayment - Sometimes just referred to as repayment mortgages, you repay some of the amount borrowed (capital) and some interest each month

  • Interest only - You pay the interest due on the whole amount you’ve borrowed each month for the entire mortgage term - you then repay the capital at the end of this in one lump sum. This is usually only used for buy-to-let and commercial purchases, but in some cases higher earners can access an interest-only residential mortgage

How can I get a bigger mortgage?

There are a number of ways you could potentially increase the amount you may be able to borrow, depending on your circumstances:

  • Speak to a broker - Lenders use different criteria, different calculation methods and have different types of mortgage product available - so you won’t necessarily be offered the same size loan by each of them. Brokers can point you towards the lender who is most able to help you if you’re looking to borrow more

  • Increase your deposit - A higher deposit will reduce the loan to value of your borrowing, potentially allowing you to borrow more

  • Buy together - Buying jointly with one or more other applicant or having family members help you buy your home with a JBSP, guarantor or family assist mortgage may allow you to borrow more than you could on your own 

  • Declare additional income - Mortgage calculators don’t always prompt you to add additional income such as a bonus or shift allowance, and even more rarely, benefits or child maintenance payments. There are lenders that will consider all of these (except housing-related benefits) alongside your standard annual income

How much can you borrow if you're self-employed? 

So long as you have the relevant proof of  a stable income, most lenders will lend you the same amount as an employed person with an equivalent income and circumstances.

There are some differences in how lenders calculate loans for self-employed mortgage borrowers, depending on the type of self-employed activity you carry out, for example, whether you’re a contractor, sole trader or limited company director. Using a broker can help you select the right lender for your needs and circumstances.

As you don’t have an annual salary, most lenders tend to use your average income across the past two to three years. It’s also important to note that if you’ve earnt less than previous years in your most recent tax year, most lenders will only use that figure when calculating the loan.

Once they’ve decided what your annual income is, lenders will determine the multiple of that figure that they’re willing to offer in the same way as they would for any other applicant.

Affordability calculator FAQs

Should I borrow as much as possible? 

It depends on your circumstances and appetite for risk, but in most circumstances, borrowing the maximum mortgage loan you can possibly afford is not the most sensible option.

A mortgage repayment calculator can help you to determine what your repayments would be on different sized loans. As with any form of borrowing, however, financially overextending yourself can be problematic if you have a sudden change in circumstances. 

This is especially important if you take out a variable rate mortgage, as you wouldn’t be able to afford any rise in interest rates if you were already utilising your whole income.

Can lenders make exceptions and increase your mortgage loan?

There are some lenders that are more flexible than others, and they tend to be the more niche specialist mortgage lenders. This is because they are often able to make an offer more tailored to each individual. 

Exceptions are usually made for those  in a profession with a clear career path and an income that’s expected to increase over time, such as a doctor or solicitor. There may also be exceptions if you have additional assets to offer as security, or you have a particularly high income.

How much could I borrow if I’ve had a history of bad credit?

It depends on your circumstances, but having poor credit can impact how much you can borrow in a number of ways. 

First of all, you may be offered a lower income multiple, reducing your affordability. Having bad credit can also mean higher interest rates and therefore higher repayments, also reducing your affordability. Lastly, you may need to provide a larger deposit than other applicants to balance some of the increased risk to the lender. 

Each lender views credit differently and the above factors are implemented on a sliding scale, based on how severe that particular lender considers your credit issue to be.

If you’re looking for a bad credit mortgage it’s best to speak to a mortgage broker, as they will be able to help you navigate the different lenders’ criteria.