Halifax mortgage review: is it a good mortgage lender?

7 min Read Published: 18 Nov 2022

Halifax mortgage reviewWhat is Halifax

Halifax is part of Lloyds Banking Group, the largest mortgage lender in the UK. As such, it is highly influential in the mortgage market, often offering market-beating interest rates on its core products, as well as producing its monthly House Price Index, which helps analysts anticipate future trends in the housing market in the UK.

It provides mortgages direct to customers through Halifax branches, online or over the phone. There is also Halifax Intermediaries which, as the name suggests, is only accessible through a mortgage broker. It offers exclusive pricing, as well as being the portal for more specialist mortgage products. It is, for example, one of the largest lenders to the Affordable Housing sector. It also offers self-build and new-build mortgages. If you haven't got a mortgage broker, we suggest Habito*, an online, whole-of-market broker.

What types of mortgages does Halifax offer?

Halifax is primarily a prime lender, which is to say it mainly lends to people with a "good" or "excellent" credit history. It offers both residential and buy-to-let mortgages, with a range of fixed-rate or tracker-rate deals. In addition, it has offset mortgages, which allow borrowers to offset their savings against their mortgage debt to reduce their payments or shorten the term of the mortgage. It also has a range of mortgages designed for people over the age of 55, as well as products specifically designed for first-time buyers.

As a major player in affordable housing, it has both shared ownership and help-to-buy mortgages. It also has mortgages for people who want to self-build, with the funds released in stages as the build progresses. In addition to this, it also considers applications from self-employed applicants, subject to them providing more information about the nature of their work, as well as supporting documentation.

Halifax mortgage key features

  • A part of the Lloyds Banking Group, the largest mortgage lender in the UK
  • A range of products for both residential and buy-to-let borrowers
  • Customers can go direct, or through Halifax Intermediaries when using a mortgage broker
  • Mortgages specifically targeted at first-time buyers and over-55s
  • Lending at multiples of up to 5.5 times income, depending on salary, affordability and loan-to-value

Halifax mortgage pros and cons

Pros Cons
tick A wide range of products, including more specialist mortgages, such as those for self-build borrowers

tick Often at the top of best-buy tables because of its competitive interest rates

tick Potential to overpay by up to 10% of the mortgage balance each year without paying an early repayment charge

tickMortgage term of up to 40 years

cross You are unlikely to be approved for a mortgage if you have a poor credit score

cross While there are interest-only options, it limits the income multiples, loan to value and mortgage term available

How much can I borrow with Halifax?

Halifax, along with all other lenders, assesses the affordability of a potential loan by looking at a number of factors including income, the loan-to-value (LTV) of the mortgage and any existing financial commitments. While affordability is key, there are still guidelines on the income multiples applicants can expect to get, as well as the maximum loan size they can take out at different levels of LTV.

What income multiples are available on Halifax mortgages?

Annual income LTV Loan up to £750k Loan between £750k-£1m Loan over £1m
Less than £40k 0-95% 4.49 times N/A N/A
£40k-£50k 0-85%

85-95%

4.75 times

4.49 times

N/A N/A
£50k-£75k 0-75%

75-85%

85-95%

5 times

4.75 times

4.49 times

N/A N/A
More than £75k 0-75%

75-85%

85-90%

90-95%

5.5 times

5 times

4.75 times (up to £500k)

4.49x (£500k to £750k)

 

5.5 times

5.49 times

N/A

N/A

5 times

4 times

N/A

N/A

What is the maximum loan size and loan-to-value (LTV) with Halifax mortgages?

Loan size  Maximum LTV
Up to £570k 95%
Up to £750k 90%
£750,001 to £1m 85%
£1,000,001 to £2m 80%
£2,000,001 to £5m 70%

What interest rates does Halifax charge?

Interest rates on mortgages frequently change so you will need to check the current rates with Halifax or through your mortgage broker just before you apply. Generally, Halifax offers low rates when compared to the market average, with the following mortgage deals available at the time of writing:

  • 2-year fixed rate for first-time buyers up to 75% LTV at 6.31%
  • 5-year fixed rate for first-time buyers up to 75% LTV at 5.69%
  • 2-year fixed rate for a remortgage up to 60% LTV at 6.08%
  • 5-year fixed rate for a remortgage up to 60% LTV at 5.77%

You can also find competitive mortgage rates using our Mortgage Rate Comparison Tool.

How long does it take to get a mortgage offer from Halifax?

The turnaround time on mortgage applications with Halifax changes over time and Halifax states that mortgage applications should take between 1-6 weeks. While an agreement in principle can be gained much more quickly, at the time of writing, the time it takes to get a mortgage offer following an application submission is around 17 days.

What fees does Halifax charge for its mortgages?

The fees levied by Halifax when you take out one of its mortgages vary depending on the individual product. There is a standard £295 account fee for most products, which is payable upon completion. There may be an additional product fee too, which could be up to around £1,500, although there is the option to add this to the mortgage rather than paying it upfront. You will be told at the start of the process whether there is an account or product fee and, if there is, how much it is.

In addition, Halifax also charges a flat fee of £100 for carrying out a valuation on the property you wish to buy. This is a basic survey that is carried out for the benefit of the lender to make sure the building is generally sound and that the estimated value of the property stacks up against the LTV of the mortgage loan. Halifax also offers homebuyer's reports and full structural surveys, which can be carried out at the same time as the valuation. There is a full list of the charges for these surveys on its website, with the cost varying depending on the price of the property.

Can you make overpayments on your Halifax mortgage?

Unless you have a Halifax mortgage with flexible features, you have to pay an early repayment charge if you overpay over a certain level. Currently, all borrowers have the capacity to overpay up to 10% of their mortgage balance, either as a one-off lump-sum payment or through regular overpayments, each year without incurring any charges. If you do exceed this amount - and you have a product where an early repayment charge applies - you will only have to pay the charge on the amount you overpay over the 10% mark.

What is the maximum mortgage term with Halifax?

The longest amount of time you can take out a Halifax mortgage over is 40 years. It is worth noting, however, that the longer the term, the more you will repay in interest over the lifetime of the loan. In addition, the maximum age a borrower can be at the end of the mortgage term is 80 (70 if any part of the mortgage is on an interest-only rate), which means you will have to be 40 (or 30 with interest only) to benefit from the full possible maximum term.

What credit reference agency does Halifax use?

When you apply for a mortgage, the prospective lender will run a credit check to assess your creditworthiness and, in essence, the level of risk you pose to them. They do this by accessing your credit report and credit score with one or more of the three main credit reference agencies in the UK: Experian, Equifax and TransUnion.

It can be useful before you apply to know which of the agencies the lender you are applying with uses. In the case of Halifax, it uses all three. In this instance it is, therefore, necessary to assess your credit file with all of the agencies to see how likely you are to be approved after a credit check and to make sure there aren't any anomalies or mistakes on your reports that may be driving down your credit rating. In order to do this, you can either opt to check all of them in one place with checkmyfile, or individually with services such as ClearScore*, Credit Karma or TotallyMoney.

Does Halifax give mortgages to people with bad credit?

Halifax is predominantly a prime lender, aimed at mortgage customers with "good" or "excellent" credit ratings. It certainly favours applicants who have a strong history of repaying debt - and particularly mortgage debt - on time, as well as those who stay well within their credit limits for other forms of borrowing. Indeed, it is unlikely to accept applicants with high levels of outstanding personal debt or those that have an active pay-day loan.

If you are unsure whether you are likely to be approved, it can be worth using a mortgage adviser - such as Habito* - who can go through the details of your individual circumstances and use their knowledge of lenders' lending criteria to find the right match for you.

Halifax customer reviews

According to the independent customer review site Trustpilot, Halifax is rated 1.5 out of 5.0, based on around 3,300 reviews. 82% of respondents stated the company is "bad", mostly based on poor customer service. Meanwhile, 12% claimed it was "excellent", generally citing good problem resolution and the overall friendliness of the staff. However, the reviews refer to Halifax as a whole rather than just the mortgage component of its business, so it is perhaps not a fair reflection of people's experiences of getting a mortgage or remortgage with Halifax. However, the Which? review of Halifax mortgages ranked it 13th out of 15 lenders, with it losing marks in the "transparency of charges", "application process" and "value for money" categories.

Summary

Halifax is one of the largest mortgage lenders in the country offering a range of mortgages including more niche products designed to appeal to specific groups of customers. It often appears at the top of best-buy tables offering competitive interest rates on most of its products. Customer reviews are mixed and so if customer service and speed are key considerations then it may be worth speaking to an independent mortgage adviser or mortgage broker. Mortgage advisers can provide guidance as to which mortgage provider may be best for your circumstances.

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