Halifax Mortgage Review
If you’re buying a new home (or maybe even your first one!), the easiest route could be to go to your bank for your mortgage. Halifax is one of the nation’s biggest banks, with over 500 branches located across the UK.
If you already have a Halifax account, it makes perfect sense you might want to keep everything in one place. You could even just be eager to take advantage of the mortgage deals Halifax have on offer, whether you have used them before or not.
No matter why you are considering Halifax for your mortgage, we are here to provide you with some key facts to help you decide whether you want to use them for your next mortgage.
SUMMARY: In this guide, our aim is to help you learn more about what Halifax does, their range of mortgage deals and potential benefits you may be able to access.
Why choose a Halifax mortgage?
Even though they are a mainstream mortgage provider, Halifax offers more specialist mortgage types than many other lenders you would find on the high street. If you need a mortgage thats just a little bit different, it could be worth speaking to Halifax.
If it has always been your dream to build your own home rather than buy, Halifax has self-build mortgages specifically designed for this purpose.
If quality service is top of your priorities (as it is for most of us), Halifax is the winner of the Best Overall Lender at the 2021 What Mortgage awards. They were also shortlisted for Best Mortgage Lender in the Mortgage Strategy Awards 2022.
Halifax is committed to supporting accessibility and diversity both in their business and the wider community. They have worked to ensure all colleagues are trained in the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower Lanyard Scheme, to help support their all their customers as best they can.
Halifax is a part of Lloyds’s Banking Group plc, along with many other well-known banks and companies including Bank of Scotland, MBNA, and Scottish Widows.
Halifax was founded in Halifax, West Yorkshire in December 1852 as the Halifax Permanent Benefit Building Society, with the aim of helping local working people. This was designed as a ‘mutual’ society owned by members, where working class people could invest their money.
They offered their first mortgage on 26th of May 1853 and continued to grow and grow, becoming the world’s largest building society in 1913. This remained the case until 1997, when Halifax registered as a bank with the London Stock Exchange. The worlds largest building society then became (and still is) Nationwide.
Halifax also offers additional online tools and resources that can benefit your household. This includes an online home energy saving tool. This builds you a plan to help you save on your monthly household bills, by making your home more energy efficient. With the current cost of living crisis, value for money is everything and this tool could really help you to stretch your monthly budget.
They even offer between £500 – £1,000 cashback to eligible mortgage holders to use to install heat pumps, insulation, or solar panels – known as a Green Living Award.
Main areas of business for Halifax include:
- Current accounts and credit cards
- Investments and ISAs
- Home insurance
- Life insurance
- Car insurance
About Halifax mortgages
Halifax is a popular choice with homeowners across the UK, having provided thousands of mortgages over the years. In good news for anyone looking for a new mortgage, they even recently reduced their interest rates to appeal to new borrowers. The rates have dropped by up to 1% for some mortgage products (as of December 2022).
Below we have put together a table of information about the different types of mortgages available with Halifax, to help you assess if Halifax seems the right choice for you.
|Type of product
|Capital and repayment (you repay both the loan and interest every month)
Interest only* (you repay only the interest every month, with the full mortgage paid off at the end of the mortgage term).
*Interest only mortgages are only available to sole applicants with an income of £100,000 or more, or joint applicants with a combined income of £150,000 or more.
|Types of mortgages available
|Traditional mortgage or remortgage
Halifax first time buyer mortgage
Halifax Buy to Let mortgage
New build mortgages
Resale price covenant scheme (RPC)
Over 55s lifetime mortgage (equity release)
|Interest rate types available
|Halifax fixed rate mortgage (interest rate charged stays the same for a set number of years, usually 2 or 5 years)
Halifax tracker rate mortgage (the interest rate charged can increase or decrease over time if the Bank of England base interest rate changes)
|Maximum mortgage loan
|£5,000,000 with a 70% deposit
|Maximum mortgage term
|Loan to Value (LTV) options (deposit amount vs overall property value)
|50% loan to value (deposit 50% of the property value)
75% loan to value (deposit 25% of the property value)
85% loan to value (deposit 15% of the property value)
90% loan to value (deposit 10% of the property value)
95% loan to value (deposit 5% of the property value)
|Does Halifax have early repayment charges (ERCs)?
|YES, with some Halifax mortgages you will be charged fees for early repayment if:
– You repay all or part of your mortgage before the end of the mortgage term
– If you transfer all or part of your mortgage to a new deal
The only exception is that Halifax will allow overpayments on your mortgage of up to 10% of the amount left to pay on the mortgage.
|Fees charged for Halifax mortgages
|You may be charged fees including:
– A product fee for certain mortgages (price varies)
– A £70 property re-inspection fee (usually when your mortgage is for renovation purposes)
– A property valuation fee from £100 (some mortgage types will include a FREE valuation)
– A £295 mortgage account fee (for creating and managing your mortgage account, not charged for all mortgages)
– A £35 Arrears Management fee if you fall behind on your mortgage repayments
Halifax mortgage: how much can I borrow?
Of course, one of your first questions when thinking about buying a home is going to be about how much you will be able to borrow for your mortgage.
This can vary depending on several factors including the type of mortgage you need, how much deposit you have saved up and more. You can even access better mortgage rates due to your job role in some cases.
There are dedicated Halifax mortgage calculators on their website, that can be used to help you work out roughly how much they might allow you to borrow if you are unsure. Unlike many other lenders, Halifax has calculators specific to each type of mortgage they offer including:
- A first-time buyer calculator
- A home mover calculator
- A remortgage calculator
- A switching your mortgage calculator
- A borrowing more calculator
- A buying another home calculator (for second properties, not buy to let)
These calculators will include questions that you may also be asked during a full mortgage application such as:
- Whether this will be a single or joint mortgage application
- Whether you have found the property you wish to buy
- If you have already saved your deposit (started saving, still saving, full deposit saved)
- If you have any dependents (children or adults)
- If you are employed or self-employed
- Your annual pre-tax income (plus any additional income e.g. bonuses, overtime, benefits)
- Whether you are currently repaying any debts (car finance, loans, credit card bills etc)
Halifax mortgage contact information
Big companies like Halifax offer many different products and services, so it isn’t always easy to know who to contact to answer your questions.
Halifax’s customer service for mortgages only has one main phone number to contact, making this slightly simpler than the process with lenders with several phone numbers.
Halifax mortgage contact number for current mortgages, new applications or additional borrowing:
Tel. 0345 850 3705
Opening hours: Monday to Friday – 8am-8pm / Saturday – 9am-4pm (excludes Bank Holidays)
Halifax also offers the option of booking in a phone call or video call with a mortgage advisor based at your local branch. This can be very helpful as it gives you a local point of call for all aspects of your mortgage deal.
You can request your appointment online and a Halifax advisor will be in touch to book in a date and time that suits you.
What does Halifax look at before approving your mortgage?
There are various things that lenders will look at before deciding whether to approve your mortgage application, and each lender might have slightly different requirements.
Below we have highlighted the lending criteria specific to Halifax, so you know how likely it is you will qualify for a Halifax mortgage:
|Savings accounts: you will need to show the last 3 months’ worth of bank statements or a UK passbook
Gifted deposit: acceptable if from a parent, sibling, grandparent, aunt/uncle, child, or partner. You will need a gifted deposit letter assuring the money is a gift that doesn’t need to be repaid.
Forces Help to Buy (FHTB) loans: available to people in the armed forces and there are various attached conditions. It is a good idea to consult an advisor if using an FHTB loan.
Concessionary deposit: comes from equity such as a reduced purchase price for a home e.g. if buying from a relative and they want to sell to you for a price less than the property value
Vendor gifted deposit or cashback: Only accepted for new builds or concessionary purchases
|Number of applicants
|Maximum 4 applicants (joint mortgage), with two incomes assessed
|Minimum and maximum ages of applicants
|Minimum age 18 years old.
Maximum age is retirement age (unless retirement income meets Halifax’s affordability rules for lending).
Mortgage must be repaid by age 80 for repayment mortgages and 70 for interest only.
|Will Halifax approve mortgages for foreign nationals?
|YES, but you will need permanent right to reside in the UK if you have lived in the UK for less than 5 years OR your income is less than £100,000 a year or your deposit is less than 25%.
|Credit score/history requirements
|Halifax mainly lends to those with good credit, so if you have credit issues or a poor credit history it may not be the right choice of lender for you.
|Applicants who work or live abroad
|Applications from Ex-Pats are not currently accepted by Halifax.
What are the current mortgage rates Halifax offer?
There are several available Halifax mortgage interest rates. These include:
- Fixed rate mortgage: the interest rate charged will stay the same for a set time period, usually between 2 and 5 years
- Variable rate mortgage: you will be switched to one of these rates at the end of a fixed rate term. Halifax HVR and Halifax SVR (Standard Variable Rate) are currently 6.99%.*
- Tracker rate mortgage: the interest rate charged tracks and changes according to the Bank of England base interest rate.
RECOMMENDATION: If coming to the end of a Halifax fixed rate mortgage, Halifax mortgage rates for existing customers will be switched over to either the Halifax HVR or SVR automatically. If this means an increase, it could be worth seeing if you can switch to a new fixed rate deal at a lower interest rate to avoid higher monthly costs.
What is a Halifax offset mortgage?
Simply put, a Halifax offset mortgage is a mortgage linked to a savings account and the amount in the account is used to lower the amount of interest charged on your mortgage.
If you have a savings account with £10,000 in and use this to offset your mortgage, the lender will remove this from the total value of the mortgage. So, if your mortgage is for £150,000 you would only pay interest on £140,000 of this amount.
Is there a specific Halifax first time buyer mortgage?
Halifax says on their website that they are proud to support first time buyers, being registered as a part of the mortgage guarantee scheme.
This is a government buyer support scheme designed to boost the property market, by making it easier to for people to buy their first home.
A Halifax mortgage for first time buyers allows you to get a mortgage with only a 5% deposit – meaning you will need to save a lot less before buying! This is known as a 95% loan to value mortgage.
The standard minimum deposit usually required by lenders is 10%, so this mortgage means you can buy the same property you want for literally half the deposit amount.
Halifax even has a ‘First Time Buyer’s Toolkit’, on their website with a list of helpful tips and resources to help people buying for the first time with things such as:
- Checking local crime rates for the property area
- Checking the local broadband speeds
- Average property prices
- Finding a moving company
- And more…
Are Halifax mortgage overpayments possible?
If for whatever reason you find yourself with some extra money, you may be debating what to do with these extra funds. You could use them for a holiday, a new car or you could decide to repay some or all your mortgage.
Not all lenders will allow you to pay extra on top of your mortgage repayments, but Halifax will allow you to up to a set limit. This is known as a mortgage overpayment.
You can overpay Halifax mortgages up to 10% of the mortgage value every year, anything more than this and you will be charged fees for early repayment. Lenders use these charges to try to discourage borrowers from repaying too much early, as they will then lose out on the interest they could have charged longer term.
Halifax mortgages contact number for overpayments
If you wish to make an additional payment up to £30,000 on your mortgage, you can do this online, in a Halifax branch or via phone call:
Tel. 0345 727 3747
How long does it take to receive a Halifax mortgage in principle?
When you have spotted the perfect property, you will likely be eager to put in an offer as soon as possible so you don’t miss out. You will not be able to do this without first having a mortgage in principle in place.
If you need to act quickly with your purchase, you will be happy to hear that it is quick and easy to get an agreement in principle on the Halifax website – taking as little as 15 minutes!
To get a Halifax agreement in principle:
- You will be asked a few basic questions about your income
- Halifax will run a soft credit check (this won’t affect your credit score)
- The agreement in principle should be valid for between 30-90 days.
- Once you have received this, you can then move on to a full mortgage application to get started on buying your home.
After you have submitted your full mortgage application, the time it can take to be approved can vary on a case-by-case basis. Halifax say it can take an average of between one to six weeks to process an application.
Benefits of Halifax mortgage deals
There are some benefits that can make Halifax an appealing option for your next mortgage or remortgage deal including:
- Optional Halifax conveyancing service with over 200 conveyancers to choose from, with 24/7 progress tracking and NO fees if you choose not to go ahead with the sale or purchase
- Up to £1,000 cashback as a Green Living Reward if you are buying your first home, a buy to let mortgage or additional borrowing, as long as it used for an air or ground source heat pump and you may be able to get more with a government grant if you live in England or Wales. Alternatively, you can claim £500 for other green home improvements including insulation or adding solar panels.
- Halifax Mortgage Prize Draw will pay off one person’s mortgage every month up to the value of £300,000 with a further 100 monthly prizes of £1,000 cash. You have to register, and this cannot be used for buy to let properties.
- Affordable ownership schemes including Right to Buy, shared ownership and Help to Buy: Equity loans are supported by Halifax.
Ways to take out a Halifax mortgage
Mortgage applications might seem like a long and confusing process, especially if you are applying for the first time or if you haven’t needed to apply in years.
There are a few ways you can apply for a mortgage with Halifax:
- Speak to Halifax directly, either in a branch, online or over the phone
- By consulting with a independent mortgage advisor
If you apply with the help of an independent mortgage broker, you gain access to extra help and support and sometimes can even access specialised mortgage rates to help you save.
Halifax mortgage reviews
When looking for independent service reviews, the first point of call is usually Trust Pilot. As of December 2022, Halifax is rated 1.5 out of 5.0 stars with over 3,350 customer reviews. Admittedly the score seems low but it does include all services and products offered by Halifax though, not just mortgages.
Halifax is currently rated 8th out of 15 mortgage lenders in the UK by Which? with a 68% customer satisfaction score.
It may be helpful to note that Halifax has also won:
- YourMortgage Best New-Build Mortgage Lender 2021/22
- YourMortgage Best Product Transfer Provider 2021/22
- YourMortgage Best Lender for Service 2021/22
- YourMortgage Best Overall Mortgage Lender 2021/22
- WhatMORTGAGE awards Best Overall Lender 2021
- Highly commended for WhatMORTGAGE 2021 Best Online Lender, Best Mortgage Lender for First Time Buyers and Best Remortgage Lender