Leeds Building Society mortgage review: Is it the best deal?

9 min Read Published: 15 Dec 2023

Leeds Building Society mortgage review LogoLeeds Building Society has been a mutual for over 140 years having been formed in 1845 when it was called the Leeds Union Operative Land and Building Society. It provides mortgage, savings and insurance products to its member customers. It is owned by and run for the benefit of members who are customers of the building society meaning no shareholder interest needs to be satisfied.

Leeds Building Society has been awarded the “Best Shared Ownership Lender” at What Mortgage Awards 2023 as well as being named Moneyfacts’ “ First-time Mortgage Buyers’ Choice” at the Consumer Awards 2023. It holds the Fairer Finance Gold Ribbon for savings and received 5-star accreditation for mortgages at The 2022 Financial Adviser Service Awards run by The Financial Times.

If you choose to apply for a mortgage online with Leeds Building Society you will not receive advice on whether your choices are right for you but mortgage advice is available if you go down the advised route of arranging a mortgage with Leeds Building Society.

Borrowers can source free mortgage advice from an independent mortgage adviser* to determine whether Leeds Building Society is the right lender for their needs and circumstances.

Leeds Building Society mortgage key features

  • A mutual building society that is run for and on behalf of customers who are also members
  • Offers residential, buy-to-let and holiday-let products
  • Fixed-rate, tracker-rate and discount mortgages for first-time buyers, movers and those remortgaging
  • Some fee-free options are available
  • Caters for Holiday let & Houses of Multiple Occupation (HMO) customers
  • Shared ownership, right-to-buy, first-homes and help-to-buy mortgages offered
  • Retirement interest-only mortgages and other later-life lending options available
  • Portfolio landlord buy-to-let mortgages offered

Leeds Building Society pros and cons

Pros Cons
tickLeeds Business Society is member-owned meaning that customers have a say at its Annual General Meeting

 

tickUp to 95% loan-to-value (LTV) mortgages are available

 

tickMany mortgage products are available fee-free

 

tickOne valuation fee of up to £999 is covered on many mortgage products

You are unlikely to be approved for a mortgage loan if your credit history is poor

 

Some mortgage products carry a £1,999 mortgage fee which is relatively high compared with the upper tier of mortgage fees charged by many other lenders

What types of mortgage does Leeds Building Society offer?

Fixed-rate, Tracker-rate, Discount-rate and Standard variable-rate mortgages are offered to movers, first-time buyers and buy-to-let borrowers. Leeds Building Society has a track record in offering mortgages that support right-to-buy, help-to-buy and first-home schemes while also offering mortgages for residential and buy-to-let purchases.

Mortgages can be arranged on an interest-only, repayment or part-and-part basis where some of the mortgage balance is being repaid while the rest only accrues interest and will need to be repaid at the end of the mortgage term.

Specialist mortgage advice for first-time buyers

Our partner Tembo is a specialist mortgage broker that offers tailor-made mortgage solutions for people with smaller deposits including Guarantor, LTV and first-time buyer schemes.
 

Find out more*

Does Leeds Building Society offer a retirement interest-only mortgage?

Yes, up to two applicants aged between 55 and 80 years old can arrange a retirement interest-only mortgage with Leeds Building Society but will need to arrange this through a mortgage intermediary*. This type of product requires guidance from a mortgage professional to ensure that the mortgage is right for your circumstances.

Does Leeds Building Society offer a shared ownership mortgage?

Yes, borrowers who wish to arrange a mortgage to support a shared ownership purchase can borrow up to 95% of the borrower's share of the property value as long as 'staircasing' is included in the ownership terms.

Does Leeds Building Society offer Buy-to-let mortgages for limited companies?

Yes, you can arrange lending to support the purchase of a buy-to-let property where a limited company is the borrower as long as all company directors, shareholders with 20% or more shareholding and shareholders who fund the property deposit are a party to the mortgage. There are many limits and rules to how this type of lending can be arranged and so you may benefit from speaking to a specialist mortgage adviser*.

How much can I borrow from Leeds Building Society?

You can borrow up to 4.75 times your income if you are moving home or looking to remortgage your existing mortgage loan, as long as the loan-to-value (LTV) is 85% or less. If you are a first-time buyer or the LTV on your mortgage is more than 85%, you can borrow up to 4.5 times your income.

However, you should bear in mind that, like most lenders, Leeds Building Society will check your financial outgoings to determine whether you can afford the monthly repayments on your mortgage. The lender will also test to check that you can comfortably afford your mortgage if interest rates were to rise in the future.

Your main income will be used to work out the total amount you can borrow, however, Leeds Building Society may also include income from regular bonuses, overtime and commissions as part of that calculation.

Leeds Building Society offers a mortgage affordability calculator where you can enter your income and outgoings online to see how much you can afford to borrow.

Mortgage loan limits with Leeds Building Society

Residential mortgage lending limits with Leeds Building Society

Mortgage loan limits Maximum LTV
Up to £500,000 95%
£500,001 to £600,000 90%
£600,001 to £1,000,000 85%
£1,000,001 to £2,000,000 75%

Buy-to-let mortgage lending limits with Leeds Building Society

Mortgage loan limits Maximum LTV
Up to £500,000 80%
£500,001 to £750,000 75%
£750,001 to £1,000,000 70%
  • Right-to-buy purchases are limited to 75% LTV mortgage loans based on the property value and not necessarily on the property price which may be discounted for the buyer.
  • Limited Company Buy-to-let purchases are capped at 80% LTV and a maximum portfolio size of 10 mortgaged rental properties.
  • Houses in multiple occupation (HMO) mortgages are limited to a 75% LTV.

What interest rates does Leeds Building Society charge?

Like most lenders, Leeds Building Society will change the interest rates it charges on its various mortgage products from time to time. You can check the best mortgage rates using our mortgage rate comparison tool based on your specific needs or those listed in our regularly updated article, 'Best mortgage rates in the UK'.

Below are some of the best Leeds Building Society mortgage rates that we could find at the time of writing:

  • 2-year fixed rate up to 85% LTV at 5.65% with a product fee of £999
  • 5-year fixed rate up to 85% LTV at 4.92% with a product fee of £999
  • 2-year fixed rate buy-to-let up to 60% LTV at 5.39% with a product fee of £999

At the end of the mortgage deal, the interest rate on deals will revert to the standard variable rate of 8.24% unless the borrower remortgages to a new mortgage deal.

How long does it take to get a mortgage offer from Leeds Building Society?

The time taken for mortgage applications will change from time to time and can be affected by seasonal busy periods. At the time of writing this article, Leeds Building Society turnaround timescales are:

  • Residential mortgage offer - 10.2 working days
  • Buy-to-let mortgage offer - 13.9 working days
  • Affordable housing mortgage offer - 13.1 working days
  • Product transfers - 7 working days

What fees does Leeds Building Society charge for its mortgages?

Mortgage fees vary depending on the Leeds Building Society mortgage deal that you choose. The mortgage fees range between £0 and £1,999 with many fee-free mortgage products to choose from.

However, you should bear in mind that mortgage deals with lower fees usually charge a higher interest rate and you should weigh up the additional benefits of choosing a mortgage product that includes legal and valuation costs. You will find that where a mortgage product includes an offer to cover the cost of legal and valuation fees, these will be limited to one application and may only cover the cost of internal services provided by Leeds Building Society.

If your valuation costs are not included in the mortgage deal, you will find that these charges range between £230 and £999 depending on your purchase price and will be higher still if you require a homebuyer survey or building survey. Conveyancing or legal fees are variable as these are charged by a third-party conveyancer.

Also, a fund transfer fee of £35 is applicable while a mortgage exit fee and early repayment charge would be applied according to the specific terms of your mortgage.

Can you make overpayments on your Leeds Building Society mortgage?

Some Leeds Building Society tracker-rate mortgage deals can be arranged with no early repayment charges so you can overpay your mortgage balance freely without recourse. However, the vast majority include terms that apply an early repayment charge that varies depending on your mortgage deal. This means that you may be able to make overpayments within limits that are set out in the terms of your mortgage contract and if you exceed these limits then an early repayment charge will apply. Always check the terms and conditions of your mortgage before making any overpayments to ensure you do not receive any unexpected charges.

What is the maximum mortgage term with Leeds Building Society?

The maximum mortgage term offered by Leeds Building Society is 40 years although the average term of a mortgage offered is 25 years and must be at least 5 years. Residential mortgages must be repaid by the time the borrower reaches age 85 and interest-only mortgages may be limited to a shorter term. Leeds Building Society offers retirement mortgage options that do not have a term and can be arranged to support a mortgage that is repaid upon the death of the borrower through the sale of the property.

What credit reference agency does Leeds Building Society use for its mortgages?

Leeds Building Society is the first mortgage lender to use Experian Boost which allows customers to present an improved credit summary. Experian credit checks are used by the lender to evaluate how well you manage your finances. By signing up to Experian Boost, Leeds Building Society can access enhanced credit checking for residential mortgage applicants who subscribe to it. Essentially, Experian Boost will build a picture based on the financial transactions you make, providing your credit score with a boost. The service checks payments made on time and offers improved credit scoring where it observes this but importantly, it is unlikely to enhance poor financial transactions like late or missed payments to impair it. You can read more about Experian Boost in our article, 'Experian Boost review – can it really help improve your credit score?'.

Experian is one of the three main credit reference agencies, the others are Equifax and TransUnion. You can request a copy of your credit file using MSM Credit Monitor to see whether subscribing to Experian Boost may improve your credit rating.

Does Leeds Building Society offer mortgages to people with bad credit?

Leeds Building Society is not a poor credit lender and as such the credit criteria for lending does not allow for serious financial misdemeanours. It does however accept mortgage applications if your credit history falls within these parameters:

  • A maximum of one County Court Judgement (CCJ) or default in the last 3 years which must have been satisfied and be no greater than £500 in value will be considered. (Unsatisfied CCJs and defaults are not acceptable.)
  • A maximum of 1 missed mortgage/secured loan payment in the last 12 months.
  • No more than 2 months arrears on any credit agreement in the last 24 months.
  • No previous property taken into possession within the last 6 years.

It is a good idea to check your credit file* before making any credit application so that you can address and rectify any misrepresentations on your credit file and avoid being declined by a lender.

Leeds Building Society mortgage customer reviews

Leeds Building Society is rated excellent by the customer review site, Trustpilot where customers' reviews give it a score of 4.4 out of 5.0 based on over 1,800 reviews. Over 70% of the reviews awarded Leeds Building Society 5 stars while around 15% deemed it worthy of only 1 star. Positive reviews detailed a great customer service experience, particularly in the building society branches. On the other hand, the website seems to be the main trigger for unhappy experiences as customers describe frustration with being able to execute business online. The reviews are made up of customers' experiences of various types of interactions with Leeds Building Society and are not limited to those who are arranging a mortgage.

Summary

Leeds Building Society facilitates lending for a very wide range of borrowers and offers a variety of mortgage deals to choose from. It is often quoted in our best buy mortgage tables and provides a range of specialist mortgages that support later-life lending as well as shared ownership and buy-to-let purchases. In arranging a mortgage, it is almost always a good idea to take advice from an expert* and while you can arrange some mortgages online with Leeds Building Society, do be aware that these are offered on an execution-only basis which means that the lender does not take responsibility for the choices that you make.

 

 

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