Getting on the housing ladder can be hugely challenging. But, are certain groups finding it harder to get a mortgage? That’s the question we sought to answer on behalf of our client uSwitch.com.
Our research uncovered some shocking findings. One in ten female home buyers claim to have faced mortgage discrimination, while nearly a quarter of women who’ve applied for a mortgage have intentionally hidden family plansfrom lenders for fear they will be rejected. These mortgage rejection fears appear to stem from the tougher new mortgage rules which came into play last year. Under the new rules, lenders may refuse to grant a mortgage if they believe an applicant is unable to meet the repayments due to an expected drop in income, such as going on maternity leave or reducing working hours after having a child. But, what our research found is that almost half of women save up before going on maternity leave to cover monthly mortgage repayments and other essential household bills. Yet, lenders don’t always take savings into account during the mortgage application process.
The media certainly got behind the issues uncovered by our campaign. On launch day, we pulled in a spread of national coverage including Mirror, Express, Daily Mail, The Daily Telegraph and Independent. This was followed up by more in-depth advice pieces from the likes of Grazia and Good Housekeeping and powerful comment pieces in the Independent on Sunday and Evening Standard.
Yes, the haul of coverage was pretty impressive. But more importantly, we’ve helped bring this issue to the fore and now women who feel they’ve been a victim of discrimination know they should make a formal complaint to the Financial Ombudsman. A message that came across loud and clear in the media.