Updated: February 23, 2022

Getting a Mortgage on a Concrete House

Need a mortgage on a concrete house? Whether it is PRC, Wimpey, Reema, Woolaway or another type, our expert guide will tell you exactly what to do.

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Pete Mugleston

Author: Pete Mugleston - Mortgage Expert

Updated: February 23, 2022

You’ve fallen in love with a concrete property and you want to buy it. Great! But what are your mortgage options? You may have heard that it’s harder to secure lending on a concrete construction. In some cases this may be true, but it’s certainly possible.

This guide covers everything you need to know about getting a mortgage on a concrete home – from lenders’ appetite to the different types of concrete properties and what factors might affect your eligibility.

Can you get a mortgage on a concrete construction home?

Yes you can, although it may be trickier than getting a mortgage on a standard property. The reason it’s harder is because homes built using concrete are classed as a ‘non-standard’ construction, which means there’ll be fewer lenders willing to approve your borrowing request.

Lenders categorise properties as either standard or non-standard as a way of mitigating their risk in the property construction itself.

Traditional bricks and mortar properties are viewed as relatively low risk in regards to maintenance and how easy they are to resell if the lender has to repossess the property. Additionally, the value of a standard property typically increases over time, which makes them a more attractive option.

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Which lenders will consider these mortgages?

In general, lenders aren’t as keen to offer mortgages on concrete-built homes as they are for standard bricks and mortar properties. This is mainly because of the reasons outlined above. However, there are still some mainstream providers that will consider your application.

TSB, United Trust Bank, Nationwide, and Virgin Money, among others, all consider applications on at least some types of concrete property.The rates are not unreasonable either. As an example, Nationwide is offering 2.49% fixed for five years with a minimum of a 10% deposit.

However, rather than approach a lender directly, the smart move is to speak with an experienced broker first. They’ll be able to identify the right lender to suit your specific needs – deposit size, property type etc. – and help guide you through the application process.

Different types of concrete construction

There’s quite a few different types of concrete construction, some have better reputations than others in terms of safety:

Cornish Units

The most common type of “temporary” PRC (precast reinforced concrete) constructions are known as Cornish Units. These are mostly located throughout Cornwall and surrounding areas, originally built after the Second World War.

Woolaway Construction builds

These are 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, terraced two storey houses and detached bungalows.

Dorran constructions

Built during the 1950s, these bungalows have medium pitched gable roofs covered with concrete tiles and external walls constructed of storey height precast reinforced concrete panels (PRC).

Taylor Wimpey No Fines

These properties were built to boost the social housing supply between the 1940s and the 1970s. The concrete used for these homes contains no small particles such as sand and fine gravel, which has several advantages, such as faster construction times and superior insulation.

There are, however, drawbacks to no fines properties too, including their lower strength and durability compared to standard concrete housing.

Reema construction

These homes began to appear in the 1940s and were built using prefabricated reinforced concrete panels. They were built by local councils for soldiers returning from the frontlines and the construction materials were chosen to save time during the building process.

Another wave of Reema construction homes sprang up in the 1960s. Older properties that date back to the post-war era are more likely to need work to make them mortgageable.

Other types of concrete construction

Other types of concrete construction, but generally less common than Cornish units and Woolaway, include:

  • Orlit PRC
  • Airey house constructions
  • Unity PRC homes
  • Wates Group PRC builds
  • Hawksley constructions
  • Whitson Fairhurst PRC homes

Can you get a mortgage on a concrete ex-council house?

Yes, it’s possible but mortgages lenders will have more things to consider with ex-council properties, including:

  • Whether the property is freehold or leasehold. If it’s leasehold, you may find it harder to get a mortgage if there isn’t long left on the lease.
  • The property’s design. Lenders may be more reluctant to give you a loan if the kitchen isn’t separate from the main living area or if the property is considered too small.
  • Whether it is a house or a flat. Some lenders are wary of high-rise tower blocks, so you may find it harder to get a mortgage on this kind of property.

Refurbished concrete properties

There are a lot of precast reinforced concrete (PRC) homes in the UK, most of which were built after World War Two when there was an immediate need for affordable housing.

However, 30 years later 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 scrutiny.

This is why many lenders began refusing mortgages for concrete properties. They were not generally seen as acceptable security for a home loan.

How to make a concrete property more mortgageable

The most common way to do this is to have repair or refurbishment work carried out on the property. PRC properties that have had essential improvements completed are generally viewed more favourably with lenders, so you may find it easier to get a mortgage.

Currently just three lenders – Together, United Trust Bank and Norton Home Loans – consider applications for non-refurbished concrete properties.

How a broker can help you

Getting a mortgage on a concrete construction is not as straightforward than for a standard residential property. This is where speaking to a specialist broker can really help.

Brokers are able to give you a holistic view of the whole market and work out what your best options are. They have access to exclusive deals that you won’t necessarily find on the high street and may be able to negotiate cheaper rates for you.

This is where we can help. Our free broker matching service will be able to pair you with an advisor who has the right expertise in this type of lending. If you get in touch we’ll arrange for a specialist to contact you directly.

What factors might affect your eligibility?

In addition to a lender’s general lack of appetite due to its construction, there are certain general criteria that could affect your eligibility for a concrete property. These include:

  • The Loan to value ratio: Some lenders may put a cap on the loan to value ratio, particularly if there are concerns about the structure of the property. The cap could be as much as 50%.
  • Deposit: In general, the larger your deposit, the better! With non-standard properties lenders are more likely to ask for a larger deposit. A few may accept 10%, but other lenders may want as much as 20% or 25%.
  • Income: For non-standard construction properties, mortgage providers are likely to cap your loan at 4 times your salary. A few may offer 5 times, but this is harder to find.
  • Employment status: If you’re self-employed or have only recently changed employer, you may be further restricted in your borrowing, depending on whether you’re able to provide sufficient evidence of earnings.
  • Age: Most lenders will set a minimum age (usually 18-21) and maximum age for borrowers. This tends to be between 70 and 85, but will vary between providers.
  • Credit history: Lenders are more wary about lending to people with a poor credit history, especially if the mortgage is for a high risk property. Those who will consider you may have higher interest rates. They may also require a higher deposit and/or cap the amount they are willing to lend you.

Get matched with a broker who specialise in concrete house mortgages

Finding the lender best placed to offer you a mortgage on a concrete property may be tricky, with only a limited number of providers available, but with the right guidance and expertise you can identify the right one for your circumstances.

This is where we can help. We can introduce you to a mortgage broker already experienced in helping people get mortgages on concrete properties. So, give us a call on 0808 189 0463 or get in touch and we can arrange for a free, no obligation chat with an advisor we work with straight away.

FAQs

Are concrete homes harder to sell?

Yes, they can be but it depends on how appealing it is based on the renovations you’ve made, its location etc. There will be a particular niche for your property, meaning the pool of willing buyers is smaller. This doesn’t mean you won’t be able to sell your property though.

What about insurance?

If you buy a concrete home you will need to get specialist insurance. Maintenance can be more involved and the pool of suitable contractors is smaller, so it may be worthwhile looking into the cost and availability of insurers before buying.

Should I bother with a survey?

Yes! It’s always recommended to get a survey before buying a property, but even more so when buying non-standard construction buildings. Surveyor feedback can make a significant difference to the mortgage provider’s decision and offer. Using a specialist surveyor who is familiar with the type of property you are purchasing could help.

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We know everyone's circumstances are different, that's why we work with mortgage brokers who are experts in all different Property Types. 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!

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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