One in four renters are worried about their credit rating as they set sights on home ownership

POSTED: 11th February 2021
IN: Newsroom
  • Two in five (38%) private renters are taking measures to improve their credit score
  • A quarter of renters (26%) are actively saving for a deposit for a home, but over half (54%) say rental costs make it difficult to save
  • Renters think the biggest obstacles to buying a home are raising a deposit, affordable house prices, rental costs, and issues securing a mortgage


New research1 from Aldermore Bank, surveying 2,000 UK private renters, has revealed challenges in getting on the housing ladder have not dampened ambitions among renters to one day own their own home. 

Renters set their sights on homeownership

Nearly half (45%) of renters say owning a home is a life goal of theirs, with one in four (26%) actively saving for a deposit currently, with the greatest intentions being among renters in Northern Ireland, Greater London, and the South East. 

Furthermore, the experience of the pandemic and lockdown among renters has strengthened home ownership ambitions, with a quarter (26%) saying lockdown has made them more motivated to buy their own home.

Credit concerns looming over renters

Despite being motivated to buy, realising the dream of home ownership is proving difficult. The biggest obstacle for home ownership according to renters is raising a deposit (30%), affordable house prices (17%) and high rent costs (13%).

With nearly half of prospective first time buyers being rejected for a mortgage2, it is understandable that one in ten renters see securing a mortgage (8%) as their biggest obstacle.

Over a quarter (28%) of private renters say credit history is a big concern, with two fifths (38%) looking to actively improve their credit score to increase their chances of securing a mortgage.

The main credit issues of private renters include having an overdraft (26%), credit card debt (25%), gaps in employment (21%), responsible for dependants (17%), and missed bill payments (15%). There is also a noteworthy proportion that have more significant credit issues with one in twelve (8%) having an account handled by collection agencies, 7% have taken out a payday loan, and 5% having a County Court Judgement (CCJs) in their past.

Covid-19 presents new challenges to home ownership

The Covid-19 pandemic has also presented a financial challenge for renters across the UK, as one in five (22%) renters have been placed on furlough or lost employment since the outbreak. Financial struggles are evident as more than one in 10 (12%) have missed or been late on rent payments this year, and one in nine (14%) say they have had to dip into their savings to get by day-to-day.

The average rent in the UK among those surveyed was £648 a month, with the highest rents in Greater London (£926), South East (£740) and South West (£679), with 14% of private renters saying they have experienced a rent increase since the Covid-19 outbreak in March.

Young renters have the highest motivation to buy

More than two in three (69%) 18 to 34 year olds say owning a home is a life goal of theirs with a further 45% citing that the lockdown period has made them more motivated to achieve this goal. Furthermore, while one in four (24%) have missed or been late on rent payments this year, half (49%) of Millennials and Generation Z are taking measures to improve their credit rating.

Jon Cooper, head of mortgage distribution, Aldermore comments:

“The experience of lockdown has focused renters’ minds to work towards owning a home more than ever before, but it is clear from the data that renters see credit issues in their past as a problem for them. And with many dealing with furlough and reduced incomes recently, it is understandable they may feel the dream of home ownership is far from reach.

“However, the challenges they face are not as large a barrier to buying a home as it may have been in the past. Specialist lenders, like Aldermore, consider borrowers with credit issues, including debt and CCJs, alongside those experiencing furlough, so options are open as we begin the new year for renters that previously may have been turned away from high street lenders.”

Kevin Roberts, Director, Legal & General Mortgage Club, adds:

“The coronavirus crisis has undoubtably presented different challenges for people wishing to move onto and up the property ladder. Those with homeownership aspirations still have many mortgage options available to them and should not feel locked out of the market because of previous credit marks, or existing debts. The key to success for these people is to seek professional mortgage advice. Working with an independent mortgage adviser can be especially useful to aspiring mortgage borrowers, helping them understand their full range of options, such as specialist lenders like Aldermore.”

**Ends**

Aldermore bank’s top tips to help secure a mortgage if you have credit issues:

  • No matter how early in the process you are, we would encourage you to go seek advice from a broker. Our research2 found that 91% of prospective first time buyers found their broker useful but only 14% had used one. They can give guidance on all aspects of the journey and there is no better time than now to get it, as they will give a whole of market view specific to your individual circumstances.
  • Credit issues can be a huge worry. There are quick things you can do to help this; registering on the electoral roll, paying off an overdraft or student loan. Every little thing will make it easier to show you can afford repayments and that you are responsible in that commitment. If this is a concern, reach out to a mortgage broker who can provide advice on improving your credit score and what mortgage options are available for you.
  • Credit cards can have a varying effect on credit history. They are often the oldest credit facility on your report, for those that have retained the same credit card for years, and closing them down can reduce a person’s score. However, it may be useful to close down for example store credit cards that have been opened recently with high annual fees, this may help a person avoid temptation of overspending and reducing annual bills. 
  • Credit issues are no longer as much a barrier to buying a home as they were in the past. Specialist lenders will consider borrowers with CCJs and other credit issues. You may need to pay a higher rate initially but making all your mortgage payments on time will improve your credit rating making it easier to get a better rate when you apply for a future loan.
  • In addition, the pandemic has caused over 1.9 million to apply for payment breaks, so you are not alone in being affected by this. Given the sheer volume, lenders are likely to be as considerate and understanding as they can in the future when reviewing this time period. But it may be the case people are asked more questions than normal when applying for a mortgage as lenders are required by the industry regulator to ensure they are lending responsibly.

Notes to editors

1 Research conducted by Opinium in November 2020, with a nationally representative sample size of 2,062 private renters

2 Research from Aldermore’s First Time Buyer Index, a survey of 2,000 prospective first time buyers conducted in August. Further details here: https://www.aldermore.co.uk/about-us/newsroom/2020/10/nearly-half-of-prospective-first-time-buyers-have-been-rejected-for-a-mortgage/

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