Over half of freelancers feel ‘penalised’ by mortgage lenders
Over half of all freelancers (59%) feel they are being penalised for being self-employed when trying to get a mortgage, according to the the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE).
Of those looking to buy a home in the next five years, three quarters (75%) said they were worried they would not have the job security to get a mortgage, while three-fifths (60%) said they were concerned they simply would not be able to afford a mortgage. In this group, over three quarters (77%) also worried getting a mortgage will be more difficult because of their self-employed status.
These concerns are sadly borne out by the experiences of many freelancers who already have a mortgage.
One in four (25%) said it had been somewhat or very difficult – and of these, almost all (96%) said the main reason was that they had had to provide more paperwork because they were self-employed.
Worryingly, over two-thirds (70%) also said that some lenders simply would not consider them because of their self-employed status.
Overall, nearly all freelancers (96%) said they were worried about the financial impact of the pandemic.
Go for broker
But there is some good news. Nearly two-thirds (65%) of those who used a broker to find a mortgage believed they were helpful for getting self-employed people better rates, while two-fifths (42%) said it was easier than going directly to a lender.
Chloé Jepps, head of research at IPSE, said: “Getting a mortgage has always been more of a challenge for freelancers, but in the pandemic – the financial impact of which has disproportionately hit the self-employed – it is more difficult than ever.
“In the context of the pandemic, a significant proportion of freelancers are not considering buying a home at all – either because of the sheer financial uncertainty, or because they have lost so much of their savings.
“With extreme financial anxiety across the self-employed sector, as well as widespread reports of lenders unfairly adding to the obstacles facing freelancers who want to get on the housing market, it’s clear the sector needs more support from government. Without intervention, there is a risk many thousands of freelancers will have to put their house-buying plans on ice for years to come – or even give up on the dream of home-owning altogether.”