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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
Coronavirus (COVID-19) mortgages update Which are the best mortgage lenders? Best and worst lenders: the full results How we identify the best mortgage lenders
How to choose the best mortgage lender for you How lenders judge affordability Which are the biggest mortgage lenders in the UK? 

Coronavirus (COVID-19) mortgages update

The current deadline for mortgage payment holiday applications, which allow homeowners to defer payments for up to six months, is 31 January 2021. You can find out more with the following articles:

For the latest updates and advice, visit the Which? coronavirus information hub.

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 over four weeks to find the lenders offering the most competitive deals.

Based on a combination of results from our 2020 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 offered the highest number of cheap mortgage deals out of the 23 lenders we reviewed, and achieved top marks for communication and online services. 77%
undefined  A Which? Recommended Provider for the seventh year running, Nationwide customers were impressed by the lender's flexibility and quality of customer service.  73%
undefined Coventry offered some of the cheapest mortgage deals for home movers and switchers and achieved consistently good ratings from its customers.  73%

 

Customer score based on a June/July 2020 Which? survey of 3625 members of the general public. Find out more in our individual reviews: First Direct reviewCoventry Building Society 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 always take advice from an independent, whole-of-market mortgage broker before applying for a mortgage.

 

Best and worst lenders: the full results

In June and July 2020 we surveyed 3,625 members of the general public about how satisfied they were with their mortgage lender. There was a big gap between the best mortgage lenders and the worst. Here’s what we found:

Mortgage provider undefined Customer service Value for money Flexible Payments Clarity of statements Online access
undefined 80%

5 out of 5

4 out of 5

5 out of 5

5 out of 5

5 out of 5

Recommended provider

undefined
77%

5 out of 5

4 out of 5

5 out of 5

5 out of 5

5 out of 5

Recommended provider

undefined
77%

4 out of 5

4 out of 5

4 out of 5

4 out of 5

5 out of 5

undefined 76%

4 out of 5

5 out of 5

5 out of 5

5 out of 5

5 out of 5

undefined 74%

4 out of 5

3 out of 5

4 out of 5

4 out of 5

3 out of 5

Recommended provider

undefined
73%

4 out of 5

3 out of 5

4 out of 5

4 out of 5

4 out of 5

undefined 71%

4 out of 5

3 out of 5

4 out of 5

4 out of 5

5 out of 5

undefined 71%

4 out of 5

3 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

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

4 out of 5

undefined 69%

4 out of 5

3 out of 5

4 out of 5

3 out of 5

4 out of 5

undefined 68%

3 out of 5

3 out of 5

4 out of 5

4 out of 5

4 out of 5

undefined 67%

3 out of 5

3 out of 5

4 out of 5

4 out of 5

4 out of 5

undefined 67%

3 out of 5

3 out of 5

4 out of 5

4 out of 5

4 out of 5

undefined 67%

3 out of 5

3 out of 5

4 out of 5

4 out of 5

3 out of 5

undefined 66%

3 out of 5

3 out of 5

4 out of 5

3 out of 5

4 out of 5

undefined 66%

3 out of 5

3 out of 5

4 out of 5

3 out of 5

3 out of 5

undefined 65%

3 out of 5

3 out of 5

4 out of 5

4 out of 5

3 out of 5

undefined 65%

3 out of 5

3 out of 5

4 out of 5

4 out of 5

4 out of 5

undefined 58%

2 out of 5

2 out of 5

3 out of 5

2 out of 5

3 out of 5

undefined 56%

2 out of 5

2 out of 5

3 out of 5

2 out of 5

3 out of 5

undefined 51%

2 out of 5

2 out of 5

2 out of 5

2 out of 5

3 out of 5

undefined 49%

2 out of 5

2 out of 5

2 out of 5

2 out of 5

3 out of 5

 

Table notes: Customer score based on a survey of 3,625 members of the general public in June/July 2020. The average customer score is 67%. 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 (68), Atom Bank (52), Barclays Mortgage (380), Chelsea Building Society (63), Coventry Building Society (74), Family Building Society (37), First Direct (63), Halifax (435), HSBC (265), Kensington (42), Leeds Building Society (64), Lloyds Bank (196), Metro Bank (38), Nationwide Building Society (445), NatWest (290), Principality Building Society (38), Royal Bank of Scotland (86), Santander (359), Skipton Building Society (40), The Co-operative/Platform (108), TSB (76), Virgin Money (203), Yorkshire Building Society (45),

 

 

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; 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 lenders judge affordability

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 between 3.5 and 4.75 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, or those with secure jobs in specific industries.

 

This means that there can be a difference of tens of thousands of pounds between what the biggest 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.

mortgage broker can advise on the right mortgage for you, and could help save you time by telling you 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 2019 were:

Choosing a major lender can have some advantages - for example, they often offer an extensive range of products, and have more 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, including building societies, may offer tailored products that better suit your particular circumstances, so it's important to take expert advice from a mortgage broker on the right option for you.

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