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Kensington mortgage review

Our Kensington mortgage review combines expert analysis with real customer feedback to help you decide if this lender is right for you.

In this article
Kensington mortgage customer ratings What kinds of mortgages does Kensington offer? Does Kensington offer the best mortgage deals? Interest rates on Kensington mortgages How much can I borrow from Kensington?
Can I make overpayments? How can I contact Kensington? Kensington mortgage eligibility What Kensington’s mortgage customers say

Kensington mortgage customer ratings

Mortgages
Kensington review
Which? Customer Score
25th out of 25 mortgage lenders
52%
Which?'s rating for customer satisfaction, based on feedback from real customers. The score is made up of a customer's overall satisfaction with the brand, and how likely they are to recommend that brand.
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£1 for first month then £10.75/month unless cancelled

The table below shows how specialist lender Kensington performed in our latest mortgage satisfaction survey, based on real customer feedback.

As you'll see, it was a poor performer, scoring only one out of five for customer service and coming bottom of our overall table of mortgage lenders.

Customer rating for: Star rating
Customer service

1 out of 5

Application process -
Value for money

2 out of 5

Keeping you well informed

3 out of 5

Clarity of statements

3 out of 5

Transparency of charges

2 out of 5

Query and complaint handling -
Ability to overpay or underpay mortgage -
Online access -

 

Star ratings based on a June 2019 Which? survey of 3,574 members of the general public, in which 39 people told us they had their mortgage with Kensington. Where no rating is given the sample size was too small.

What kinds of mortgages does Kensington offer?

As a specialist lender, Kensington focuses on mortgages for people who struggle to borrow from mainstream lenders, for example those with bad credit

When we checked in September 2019, there were 154 mortgages available from Kensington, all of which were fixed-rate deals - meaning your interest rate will stay the same for a set period of time.

In nearly all cases, this set period was one, two, three or five years. (One Later Life mortgage had a 10-year fixed period.)

Does Kensington offer interest-only mortgages?

Yes, you could borrow up to 75% of a property’s value on an interest-only basis.

However, you’ll need to earn at least £75,000 to be eligible for an interest-only mortgage from Kensington.

Does Kensington offer the best mortgage deals?

Our experts analysed mortgage deals from all lenders over a four-week period in August 2019, and found that Kensington had far fewer good deals than the average lender.

To do this, our experts created over 200 'top-10 cheapest rate' tables based on a number of different borrowing scenarios and counted how many times each lender appeared in them. Kensington didn’t appear in any of these tables, but the average number of times a lender appeared was 15. 

However, bad-credit mortgages tend to have higher rates than other deals, so this is unsurprising.

Interest rates on Kensington mortgages

The average interest rate of a two-year fixed-rate mortgage from Kensington was 3.74%, compared with the industry average of 2.77%.

As Kensington specialises in lending to people with unusual circumstances or low credit scores, its higher rates might be explained by the increased risk it takes on through these types of loans.

When a fixed-rate deal comes to an end, Kensington customers move onto a tracker rate. This is set at a percentage above the Libor, which is a type of interest rate.

How the Libor affects Kensington’s interest rates

The Libor is the average rate that banks in London are charged to borrow from other banks.

Unlike most other mortgage lenders, Kensington pegs its variable mortgage rates to the Libor, rather than the Bank of England base rate. However, this will only affect people who've reached the end of a fixed deal period and been moved onto the reversion rate.

The finance industry plans to phase Libor out by 2021 - so if you do take out a mortgage with Kensington before then, Libor will likely be gone by the time your fixed-rate period comes to an end.

Kensington is looking into what benchmark it will use instead of Libor once it's gone, but it hadn't made a firm decision at time of publication. 

 

How much can I borrow from Kensington?

As a specialist lender, Kensington has a number of different mortgage ranges with varying borrowing and loan-to-value (LTV) limits. 

The mortgage range you are eligible for, however, will depend on your specific circumstances so it's best to contact a mortgage broker for advice on your situation (as Kensington only lends via brokers - you can't go direct).

If you're borrowing for a new-build house or flat, the LTV limit is 90%. 

Can I make overpayments?

Overpayments will be subject to the conditions of your mortgage. For example, there may be a minimum or maximum amount that applies to any overpayments you make.

You might also have to pay an early repayment charge.

How can I contact Kensington?

Kensington mortgages are only available through selected intermediaries, so you’ll need to contact a mortgage adviser to find out more.

Its website is kensingtonmortgages.co.uk.

Kensington mortgage eligibility

You need to be at least 21 years old to apply for a mortgage from Kensington. And for most deals, you'll need to be aged 70 or younger when your term comes to an end - but you can be up to 90 years old for the Later Life mortgage. 

Kensington says it specialises in what the big lenders call ‘non-standard cases’. It doesn’t credit score applicants, and assesses each mortgage application on a case-by-case basis.

Kensington can also consider applications from first-time buyers with a low credit score and applicants with a thin credit file (if you have little or no credit history).

Other than on its Young Professionals range, Kensington does not require applicants to have a minimum level of income to be considered. (For Young Professionals mortgages, it's £35,000 for sole applicants, £50,000 for joint.)

Mortgages for contractors

Kensington can consider applications from contractors in any profession - including those on zero-hours contracts.

It can also consider applicants with significant experience in their chosen sector, but who cannot show an extended track record as a contractor.

What Kensington’s mortgage customers say

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