Teacher Mortgage: Can You Get Special Mortgages for Teachers?
Despite there not being a specific teacher mortgage product, some lenders look favourably on the teaching profession and offer flexibility when assessing the affordability of mortgages for teachers. There are also schemes that could help if you’re a teacher who wants to get on the property ladder.
Mortgages for teachers often prove a bit of a conundrum. Teachers provide a vital service but, with their salaries often lagging behind other qualified professionals, buying a home can be a challenge.
Getting a mortgage as a teacher can be particularly tricky if you are newly qualified, or if you are a supply or contract teacher, for example, and have a fluctuating salary.
Although there isn’t a huge amount of support targeted at teachers, there are a number of lenders that may look favourably on your occupation. There are also plenty of schemes that can help education professionals take that difficult first step on the property ladder.
Do teachers get special mortgages?
While there is no special “teacher mortgage” product available in the UK, there are a few lenders that specialise in lending to education professionals. These providers should have in-depth knowledge of the diversity of roles, contracts and salaries within the teaching profession. You may also see features such as higher lending or advance lending of a confirmed position.
Salaries may not be sky high in the early years, but there is a lot of opportunity for career progression and you are unlikely to struggle to find work. Both factors will work in your favour from a lender’s point of view.
In some cases, additional flexibility may be available with a specialist professional mortgage.
Professional mortgages offer borrowers in certain occupations more flexible underwriting and will lend as much as five or 5.5 times salary, compared to 4.5 with ordinary mortgages.
To get a professional mortgage, you usually need to be in an occupation that requires an official qualification. Some, but not all, professional mortgages are available to teachers.
Can I get a mortgage on a temporary teaching contract?
While lenders will likely prefer permanent contracts, being on a fixed-term or temporary contract may not necessarily stop you getting a mortgage. The key will be to show a strong employment history.
Can a supply teacher get a mortgage?
Assessing affordability for supply teachers is complicated because their income is likely to vary one month to the next. However, some lenders will accept applications from supply teachers. Again, the stronger your employment history the better.
Other schemes that can help teachers
While there are no home-buying schemes targeted specifically at teachers, there are a range of schemes that can help any first-time buyer that is struggling to raise the money to buy a home on their own. These include:
The First Homes scheme in England
The First Homes scheme offers eligible first-time buyers the opportunity to buy certain new-build homes at a minimum discount of 30% across most of England. However, in some areas this might rise to either 40% or 50%, at the local authorities’ discretion.
To be eligible for the new scheme, buyers must have a household income below £80,000 (£90,000 in London) and be using a mortgage to cover at least half of the property price. If you are an educator who can meet these criteria, the First Homes scheme may be an option for you.
The First Homes scheme is not available outside England.
» MORE: Tips for first-time buyers
Discounts on new-builds
Some house builders may offer discounts to key workers including teachers. This, for example, might be £500 off for every £25,000 of a property’s purchase price.
The shared ownership scheme enables you to buy a partial share in a new-build from a housing association if you cannot afford the deposit or mortgage for the whole property. You pay rent to the housing association on the part you don’t own.
Buyers using shared ownership can increase the percentage of the house you own over time, in a process known as staircasing. When you own 100%, you will no longer pay rent to the housing association, though other service fees may still apply. Lease restrictions may also set a maximum percentage for ownership in some properties.
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Social HomeBuy gives tenants renting their homes from housing associations or local authorities in England the opportunity to buy a stake in their home. This starts off at 25%, but as your finances improve you can gradually increase your ownership to 100%. The rent you pay on the part you don’t own drops in line with your increasing share in the property.
Northern Ireland runs its own House Sales Scheme, where tenants of social housing landlords have the right to buy their homes at a discount.
The Help to Buy: Equity Loan
The Help to Buy: Equity Loan scheme gives first-time buyers in England with a 5% deposit the ability to take out a loan worth 20% of the property (40% in London), which is interest-free for five years. This enables borrowers to substantially increase their deposit. Buyers in Wales have access to the same scheme, with a maximum home value of £250,000.
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In Scotland, the Help to Buy Affordable New-Build scheme has closed to new applicants, but there is a Low Cost Initiative for First Time Buyers. For more details, visit Gov.Scot. There isn’t currently a version of the equity loan scheme available in Northern Ireland.
The 5% mortgage guarantee scheme
With lenders having very little appetite to lend to borrowers with only a 5% deposit, the government launched a new guarantee scheme in the spring of 2021 to encourage more lenders to offer loans at 95% LTV.
The scheme doesn’t make any difference to a borrower’s loan, but by agreeing to compensate lenders for any losses that result from lending at this level, the government has increased the availability of low-deposit loans for struggling first-time buyers and home movers.
How to apply for a teacher mortgage
You can apply for mortgages directly with high street lenders, however if affordability is likely to be an issue, it makes sense to talk to a broker who can apply for the loan on your behalf.
By talking to a broker you can still apply for a high street loan, but you will also get access to specialist lenders, which only work with intermediaries. A broker will also be familiar with different lenders’ underwriting approaches and will know which is most likely to offer you the mortgage you need.
Both brokers and lenders should be able to tell you about various home-buying schemes and the support you may be eligible for.
If you are buying a new-build, your house builder will be able to give you information about Help to Buy or the First Homes scheme if applicable.
To view a shared ownership property and make an application, you will need to deal with the relevant housing association running the scheme. You can search online for properties available in your area.
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Rachel Lacey is freelance journalist with 20 years experience. She specialises in personal finance and retirement planning and is passionate about simplifying money matters for all. Read more