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Best mortgage lenders

Discover the best mortgage lenders based on a combination of Which? expert deal analysis and real-life customer reviews.

In this article
Which are the best mortgage lenders? Best and worst mortgage lenders: the full results What does it take to become a Which? Recommended Provider?
How to choose the best mortgage lender for you How mortgage providers decide how much to lend you Which are the biggest mortgage lenders in the UK? 

Which are the best mortgage lenders?

Every year, we survey thousands of mortgage customers to reveal the lenders leading the way in customer service. We also analyse thousands of residential mortgages to find the lenders offering the most competitive deals.

Based on a combination of results from our 2021 customer satisfaction survey and expert mortgage analysis, we've named the following lenders Which? Recommended Providers - meaning they're currently the best mortgage lenders out there.

Which? Recommended Mortgage Providers

Provider Which? verdict Customer score
undefined First Direct consistently offered some of the cheapest mortgages on the market and achieved five stars for all aspects of its customer service. 81%
undefined A Which? Recommended Provider for the eighth year running, Nationwide customers were impressed by the lender's transparency, online access and overall customer service. 77%

 

Table notes: Customer score based on a survey of 3,504 members of the general public in July 2021. Find out more in our individual reviews: First Direct reviewNationwide mortgages review

Although these providers are great all-rounders, the best mortgage lender for you will depend on your individual circumstances.

For example, some lenders are more willing to give mortgages to self-employed homebuyers, while others specialise in guarantor mortgages or solutions for people with a low credit rating.

That's why you should consider taking advice from an independent, whole-of-market mortgage broker before applying for a mortgage.

 

Best and worst mortgage lenders: the full results

In July 2021 we surveyed 3,504 members of the general public about how satisfied they were with their mortgage lender. Here’s what we found:

Mortgage Provider undefined Customer service Value for money  Flexible payments Clarity of mortgage statements Online access
undefined 81%

5 out of 5

5 out of 5

5 out of 5

5 out of 5

3 out of 5

Recommended provider

undefined

81%

5 out of 5

5 out of 5

5 out of 5

5 out of 5

5 out of 5

undefined 79% - - -

5 out of 5

-

Recommended provider

undefined

77%

4 out of 5

5 out of 5

4 out of 5

5 out of 5

4 out of 5

undefined 73%

4 out of 5

4 out of 5

4 out of 5

4 out of 5

4 out of 5

undefined

73%

4 out of 5

5 out of 5

4 out of 5

5 out of 5

-
undefined 72%

4 out of 5

4 out of 5

4 out of 5

4 out of 5

3 out of 5

undefined 71%

4 out of 5

4 out of 5

3 out of 5

4 out of 5

3 out of 5

undefined 71%

4 out of 5

4 out of 5

4 out of 5

4 out of 5

4 out of 5

undefined 71%

4 out of 5

4 out of 5

3 out of 5

4 out of 5

3 out of 5

undefined 71%

3 out of 5

4 out of 5

3 out of 5

4 out of 5

3 out of 5

undefined 71%

4 out of 5

4 out of 5

-

4 out of 5

-
undefined 70%

4 out of 5

4 out of 5

4 out of 5

4 out of 5

3 out of 5

undefined 70%

3 out of 5

3 out of 5

3 out of 5

4 out of 5

3 out of 5

undefined 66%

3 out of 5

5 out of 5

3 out of 5

4 out of 5

3 out of 5

undefined 64%

3 out of 5

3 out of 5

3 out of 5

4 out of 5

3 out of 5

 

Table notes: Customer score based on a survey of 3,504 members of the general public in July 2021. The average customer score is 73%. Star ratings out of five show levels of satisfaction with each area. Customer scores are worked out using a combination of overall satisfaction and the likelihood of recommending the provider to a friend. If two or more brands show the same overall score, they are ranked alphabetically. Providers must receive a minimum sample size of 30 for inclusion in the table. Where a '-' is shown we have an insufficient sample size (less than 30) to calculate a star rating. Sample sizes in brackets: Accord Mortgages (66), Barclays Mortgage (377), Coventry Building Society (68), First Direct (90), Halifax (459), HSBC (296), Leeds Building Society (47), Lloyds Bank (244), Nationwide Building Society (410), NatWest (298), Platform/ The Co-Op (49), Royal Bank of Scotland (79), Santander (350), Skipton Building Society (41), TSB (77), Virgin Money (117)

 

 

What does it take to become a Which? Recommended Provider?

In order to be named a Which? Recommended Provider, mortgage lenders must:

  • have achieved a top customer score in a Which? customer satisfaction survey;
  • consistently offer table-topping mortgage deals over various product types; and
  • be fully covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme and Financial Conduct Authority banking standards regime.

Which? closely monitors the products and practices of all recommended providers, and reserves the right to exclude any company that does not treat its customers fairly.

You can find out more about our deal analysis, and how each lender performed, in our individual mortgage lender reviews.

How to choose the best mortgage lender for you

The best lender for you won't simply be determined by who's offering the lowest interest rate or the biggest mortgage.

Identifying the most appropriate type of mortgage - whether it's a fixed-rate, tracker or discount - is crucial to whether or not the mortgage meets your needs. You should also check the fees that are attached to the deal, as these can add thousands to what you'll pay overall.

You can compare products yourself by checking out the Which? Money Compare mortgage comparison tables.

How mortgage providers decide how much to lend you

When buying a property, it’s not just the deposit you need to think about, but also the size of mortgage you can get.

Lenders have to stick to strict mortgage affordability rules, which means they have to lend responsibly and ensure you can afford to repay the loan, both today and in the future when rates could go up.

 

How much can I borrow?

 

The amount you can borrow will be based on your income, whether you have any dependents and certain outgoings like monthly repayments on credit cards and other loans.

 

Lenders usually perform an affordability assessment and check your credit history to decide how much they can lend you.

 

As a general rule of thumb, lenders usually allow you to borrow up to four-and-a-half times your income, but this can vary greatly depending on the provider you use and their lending criteria.

 

For example, some lenders will offer higher income multiples to people with higher earnings, those borrowing at a low loan to value (LTV), or those with secure jobs in specific industries.

 

This means that there can be a difference of tens of thousands of pounds between how much different lenders will let you borrow, and you won’t really know how much you can get from a particular lender until you apply and undergo a full credit check and mortgage affordability assessment.

But it's worth talking to a mortgage broker before applying for a mortgage. They will be able to advise roughly how much you could borrow, as well as which lenders are most likely to accept you.

Which are the biggest mortgage lenders in the UK? 

According to data from UK Finance, the largest mortgage lenders in 2020 were as follows. Links take you to our reviews of each provider:

Choosing a major lender can have some advantages - for example, they often offer an extensive range of products, and have more branches available. 

But you don't need to go with one of the big players just because you recognise the name, or you're already a customer. Smaller lenders, including building societies, may offer tailored products that better suit your particular circumstances.

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