Self-employed make sacrifices to get on property ladder

Just under 40 per cent of self-employed borrowers are making “worrying lifestyle changes” and professional sacrifices in a bid to start the climb on the property ladder, new research from online mortgage broker Trussle revealed.

Using a combination of insight from lenders and self-employed mortgage applicants, the broker’s third edition of its Mortgage Saver Review highlighted the challenging journey those that are self-employed (4.85 million in the UK) must endure to get onto the property ladder.

Compared to those in permanent employment, the self-employed need to go through extensive affordability assessments, provide additional documentation and can face extra costs when wading through the mortgage process.

As a result of these hurdles, more than one-in-eight (13 per cent) self-employed borrowers have seriously considered abandoning homeownership ambitions. Additionally, nearly a tenth (9 per cent) of applicants have reconsidered their self-employment status altogether.

Furthermore, many claimed they feel “forced” to delay having children or expanding their family, with 18 per cent of self-employed borrowers, aged between 25 and 34, putting off having children to prioritise their homeownership goals.

Many people self-employed also feel obliged to fundamentally change their day-to-day lifestyle, with 8 per cent taking on extra work to prove their income on paper, 7 per cent delaying moving despite their current property not fitting their needs, and 4 per cent having felt the need to move back in with friends or family.

Trussle’s Mortgage Saver Review also found that nearly three quarters (71 per cent) of the UK’s self-employed population believe their employment status made it more difficult to secure a mortgage.

Commenting on the review, Trussle CEO and founder Ishaan Malhi said: “Considering the average income for the self-employed is higher than those in permanent employment, there’s no reason why the journey to home ownership should be anymore difficult for those who are self-employed.

“It’s concerning that many self-employed people feel pressured to make significant personal sacrifices to get on the property ladder. No one should feel they need to choose between having children and home ownership. Nor should anyone feel forced to change their employment status just to make the mortgage application smoother.

“This needs to change.”

The online mortgage broker is calling for a collaborative effort from the industry and the government to better support those that are self-employed. Suggestions include integrating Open Banking to help those with multiple income streams, becoming more flexible with tax reporting periods, and assessing self-employed mortgage applicants on their current, and not historic, income.

“We’re calling on the industry and the Government to work more cohesively to make changes for the better. As part of this commitment, we’re in the process of developing flexible products designed to suit the needs of the self-employed,” Malhi concluded.

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