Updated: December 17, 2021

Getting a Mortgage in Northern Ireland

Looking for mortgages in Northern Ireland? Whether it's a standard, guarantor, first-time buyer or 100% mortgage, our guide will talk you through all the options.

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No impact on your credit score

Pete Mugleston

Author: Pete Mugleston - Mortgage Expert

Updated: December 17, 2021

If you’re looking for a home in Northern Ireland, you may be wondering what the differences are, if any, to getting a mortgage elsewhere in the UK. While the basic rules for applying are broadly similar, if you know what to expect it can make the entire process much easier.

By following this guide you’ll have a better understanding of the mortgage process in Northern Ireland, what eligibility rules apply and where to look for any help or guidance you may need.

Can you get a mortgage in Northern Ireland?

Yes, of course you can. Bear in mind Northern Ireland (N.I) is part of the United Kingdom, albeit with its own devolved status and ability to make the majority of its own rules and regulations.

There are certainly good mortgage deals available to those seeking to buy property in N.I., as much as there is anywhere else in the U.K, whether you’re:

  • Moving house due to a change of employer
  • Buying a retirement home
  • A first-time buyer
  • Looking for a buy-to-let investment
  • Looking for a Holiday let
  • Expanding your business and searching for commercial premises

What are the differences with the rest of the U.K?

Not a huge amount, really. Lenders in N.I. adhere to pretty much the same rules and regulations as lenders in England and Wales, so the practicalities of applying for a mortgage are relatively the same.

What’s different, however, is the market. Getting a mortgage can be a bit more challenging as there are less lenders in N.I. and those who can often have postcode restrictions, so you’ll have to shop around carefully to find and compare options for mortgages within your desired postcode.

That’s why when it comes to buying a home in Northern Ireland it’s best to seek advice from a broker with experience of providing mortgages in this territory.

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How to get a mortgage in Northern Ireland

If you’re looking to get a mortgage for a property in N.I here’s a few simple steps you can take to make the process much more straightforward.

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Prepare your documents

To apply for a mortgage, you’ll need proof of income in the form of bank statements, payslips, or two-three years certified accounts if you’re self-employed. You’ll also need proof of address and ID and proof of any assets such as an existing property or inheritance.

A lender will need to get a clear idea of your financial incomings and outgoings as well as any mortgage experience you may already have. You can find a full list of the paperwork you’ll need in our guide to mortgage applications.

Check your credit report

There are no specific differences in credit score requirements in N.I from the rest of the U.K. Your credit report remains crucial to getting a good deal on a mortgage so check your credit score to make sure it’s up to scratch.

By downloading your credit reports beforehand you’ll have the opportunity to correct any inaccuracies or mistakes showing on your record.

Speak to a local broker

The smart move to make next, particularly if you’ve never bought a property in N.I before, is to speak with a mortgage broker with experience of finding mortgages for properties in the area.

Our unique broker-matching service is designed to match people who contact us with an advisor perfectly suited to help them with their specific needs. So, in this case we’ll find you a broker with the right level of local knowledge to help.

If you get in touch we can arrange for a local advisor we work with to contact you straight away.

What are the eligibility requirements?

Typical lending criteria and eligibility rules for mortgages in N.I are similar to what they’d be elsewhere in the UK. So, in terms of how much you can borrow – this will typically be based on a multiple of your annual income (4 to 4.5 maximum).

When assessing your application lenders will look at factors including:

  • Size of your deposit
  • Affordability (income and outgoings)
  • Your age

Most mortgage terms in N.I run for 25 years, but this will vary according to your situation and needs.

Deposit requirements

Many lenders in N.I. require a minimum deposit size of 10%. But if you don’t have this much, don’t worry! Sadly, 100% mortgages are no longer available in Northern Ireland but more and more lenders are able to offer 95%, so pretty close to that level.

Your broker will be able to help you find which lenders can offer this level of lending.

Choosing the right lender

Whilst the choice of lenders in N.I may be more limited than the rest of the U.K, there’s still a mainstream presence in the region. In addition to Ulster Bank, Barclays, HSBC, Santander and even Halifax all offer their mortgage services through their branch networks.

But choosing the right lender can be tricky and going directly to one could limit your opportunities of getting a mortgage with the best rates available. This is why going to a broker in the first instance is the shrewder option.

They can help you identify what offers are available beforehand, so you can apply to the lender with the best terms for your specific circumstances.

What types of mortgages are available?

In Northern Ireland, you can find mortgage products available to suit any need or applicant.

Here are a few of the most common types…

  • Residential mortgage: A residential mortgage is for a property you intend to live in, and is available either as capital & repayment or interest-only.
  • Buy-to-let: A buy-to-let mortgage is arranged on a property bought as an investment, typically by borrowers who already own one or more properties. See our guide to buy-to-let mortgages for more details on getting one.
  • Government Co-ownership scheme: This scheme allows someone over 18 to purchase a portion of a property and rent the remainder from a housing association.
  • Investment mortgages: This type of borrowing can be used across a range of different needs, such as: holiday lets, houses of multiple occupation (student lets) or even renovation projects
  • Guarantor mortgages: This type of home loan is becoming increasingly popular in N.I, as they enable more and more first-time buyers to climb onto the property ladder, with support from a relative to provide cover for their repayments

Speak to a Northern Ireland mortgage expert

Comparison websites won’t show you all the lenders who operate in N.I, and you could encounter postcode restrictions with some lenders unwilling to offer mortgages in certain areas of the region. That’s why working through an expert broker will not only save you time, but also, potentially, some money too.

We offer a free service connecting people like you with the help and guidance you need. If you’d like to speak with a local mortgage specialist, contact us at 0808 189 0463 or make an enquiry.

Ask a quick question

We know everyone's circumstances are different, that's why we work with mortgage brokers who are experts in all different mortgage subjects. Ask us a question and we'll get the best expert to help.

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Pete Mugleston

Pete Mugleston

Mortgage Expert

About the author

Pete, an expert in all things mortgages, cut his teeth right in the middle of the credit crunch. With plenty of people needing help and few mortgage providers lending, Pete found great success in going the extra mile to find mortgages for people whom many others considered lost causes. The experience he gained, coupled with his love of helping people reach their goals, led him to establish Online Mortgage Advisor, with one clear vision – to help as many customers as possible get the right advice, regardless of need or background.

Pete’s presence in the industry as the ‘go-to’ for specialist finance continues to grow, and he is regularly cited in and writes for both local and national press, as well as trade publications, with a regular column in Mortgage Introducer and being the exclusive mortgage expert for LOVEMoney. Pete also writes for OMA of course!

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FCA Disclaimer

*Based on our research, the content contained in this article is accurate as of the 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 information 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 that 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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