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Best mortgage lenders

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

In this article
Which are the best mortgage lenders? Best and worst lenders: full results table How we identify the best mortgage lenders Who are the biggest mortgage lenders in the UK? 
Which banks allow you to borrow the most money for a mortgage? How to choose the best mortgage provider for you Get expert, tailored advice

Which are the best mortgage lenders?

Every year we survey thousands of members of the public to reveal the mortgage lenders that are leading the way in terms of both deals and customer service.

Based on a combination of our June 2018 customer satisfaction survey results and our own expert deal analysis, the following lenders have been named as Which? Recommended Providers - meaning they're currently the best mortgage lenders out there.

Provider Which? verdict Customer score
undefined Principality tops our table for customer satisfaction and can
offer mortgages for new-build properties if you have a small
deposit. 
80%
undefined A consistently high scorer in our customer satisfaction surveys,
First Direct can also be relied on for some of the best deals
around. 
77%
undefined The UK's largest building society ranks highly for customer
satisfaction and offers deals for those with large and small
deposits. 
77%
undefined With a high customer satisfaction score, Skipton says its
customers can choose more than one mortgage to suit their
individual requirements. 
73%

 

Customer score based on a survey of 3,560 members of the general public in June 2018. Find out more in our individual reviews: Principality mortgages reviewFirst Direct mortgages reviewNationwide mortgages reviewSkipton mortgages review.

However, while 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 poor credit rating.

Which? Mortgage Advisers can work with you to find the very best lender and deal for your individual circumstances. You can call them on the number below or fill out a callback form and they'll ring you back.

Looking for a mortgage?

Which? Mortgage Advisers can find the best lenders and deals for your personal situation.

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Best and worst lenders: full results table

In June 2018 we surveyed 3,572 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 statements Online access

Recommended provider

undefined
80% -

4 out of 5

5 out of 5

- -

Recommended provider

undefined
77%

5 out of 5

4 out of 5

5 out of 5

4 out of 5

4 out of 5

Recommended provider

undefined
77%

4 out of 5

4 out of 5

5 out of 5

5 out of 5

4 out of 5

undefined 76%

3 out of 5

4 out of 5

4 out of 5

4 out of 5

3 out of 5

undefined 75%

5 out of 5

4 out of 5

5 out of 5

5 out of 5

3 out of 5

Recommended provider

undefined
73%

4 out of 5

4 out of 5

4 out of 5

5 out of 5

3 out of 5

undefined 72%

5 out of 5

4 out of 5

4 out of 5

5 out of 5

3 out of 5

undefined 71%

3 out of 5

3 out of 5 3 out of 5 3 out of 5 3 out of 5
undefined 71%

4 out of 5

4 out of 5

5 out of 5

4 out of 5

2 out of 5

undefined 70%

3 out of 5

4 out of 5

4 out of 5 4 out of 5 4 out of 5
undefined 70% 3 out of 5 3 out of 5 3 out of 5

4 out of 5

2 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 70%

3 out of 5

3 out of 5 3 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

2 out of 5

undefined 68% 3 out of 5 - 3 out of 5 - 3 out of 5
undefined 68% 3 out of 5 4 out of 5 4 out of 5 4 out of 5 4 out of 5
undefined 66%

3 out of 5

3 out of 5 3 out of 5 3 out of 5 3 out of 5
undefined 65%

3 out of 5

3 out of 5 3 out of 5 3 out of 5 3 out of 5
undefined 63%

3 out of 5

3 out of 5 3 out of 5 3 out of 5 2 out of 5

undefined

undefined
62%

3 out of 5

3 out of 5

4 out of 5

3 out of 5

1 out of 5

undefined 62%

3 out of 5

3 out of 5 3 out of 5 3 out of 5 3 out of 5
undefined 61%

3 out of 5

3 out of 5 3 out of 5 3 out of 5 2 out of 5
undefined 56%

3 out of 5

2 out of 5

2 out of 5

3 out of 5

3 out of 5

 

 

 

Table notes: the average customer score is 70%. Star ratings out of five show levels of satisfaction with each area. Customer scores are worked out using a combination of overall satisfaction and 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: AA Mortgages (30), Accord Mortgages (75), Barclays (382), Chelsea Building Society (42), Clydesdale Bank (34), Coventry Building Society (74), First Direct (76), Halifax (384), HSBC (358), Kensington (40), Leeds Building Society (49), Lloyds Bank (167), Nationwide Building Society (396), NatWest (297), Principality Building Society (32), Royal Bank of Scotland (117), Santander (392), Skipton Building Society (51), The Co-operative Bank/Platform (combined - 58), TSB (94), Virgin Money (75), Yorkshire Bank (39), Yorkshire Building Society (53).

 

 

How we identify the best mortgage lenders

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
  • be fully covered by the FSCS (Financial Services Compensation Scheme) and FCA (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 review pages.

Who are the biggest mortgage lenders in the UK? 

According to August 2018 data from UK Finance, the largest mortgage lenders in 2017 were:

Choosing a major lender can have some advantages - they often offer an extensive range of products and have a larger number of branches available. 

But don't think you need to go with one of the big players just because you recognise the name or you're already a customer. 

Smaller lenders may offer tailored products that suit your particular circumstances - so it's important to take expert advice on the right mortgage for you.

Which banks allow you to borrow the most money for a mortgage?

 

When buying a property it’s not just the deposit you need to think about, you also need to consider the size of the 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 potentially go up.

 

The amount you can borrow will be based on your income, how many dependents you have and certain outgoings like monthly repayments on existing credit card debts and other loans.

 

Lenders will perform an affordability assessment as well as check your credit history to decide what they can lend to you.

 

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

 

In our research using online mortgage calculators, we found there can be a difference of tens of thousands of pounds between what the biggest lenders will let you borrow:

 

  Scenario 1: First-time buyer, single applicant, £35,000 income* Loan-to-income multiple Scenario 2: First-time buyers, joint applicants,£75,000 joint income* Loan-to-income multiple
Barclays £157,500 4.5 £250,000 3.33
Halifax £166,250 (joint highest) 4.62 £308,750 4.11
HSBC £166,000 4.74 £270,000 3.6
Lloyds Bank £166,250 (joint highest) 4.62 £308,750 4.11
Nationwide Building Society £157,200 4.49 £308,800 (highest) 4.49
Royal Bank of Scotland £140,000 4 £260,000 3.47
Santander £155,750 4.45 £289,250 3.87

Source: Which? analysis of online mortgage affordability calculators  (correct as of 25 May 2018)

*Both scenarios were for a £300,000 home and the fictional borrowers had a £25,000 deposit and no dependents or other debts

 

However, this table only offers a rough idea. You won’t really know how much you can borrow from a particular lender until you apply and undergo a full credit check and mortgage affordability assessment - so it can feel like a bit like a dark art in deciding which lender to go for.

 

The experts at Which? Mortgage Advisers have an in-depth understanding of which providers tend to lend the most to different types of borrowers. They can also provide a more accurate view of how much you'll be able to borrow than an online calculator. For expert advice, call them today on 0800 197 8461.

How to choose the best mortgage provider for you

The best lender for you won't simply be determined by who's offering the lowest interest rate or biggest mortgage. Identifying the most appropriate type of mortgage - whether it's a fixed-rate, tracker or discount - will be 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. For more tips, check out our full guide to finding the best mortgage deals.

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

Get expert, tailored advice

There are thousands of mortgage deals available on the market. Most are only available if you apply via a mortgage broker, but some are only available if you apply directly, without a broker.

The team at Which? Mortgage Advisers can look at every deal on the market and recommend the best one for you, even if it's one you can only get by going direct. They'll also give you inside info on the lenders most likely to accept you.

Call today on 0800 197 8461 or fill out the form below to get a free callback.

Correct as of date of publication.

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