If you work for the NHS, you might be wondering if you qualify for a special mortgage deal or rate. Well, you might! It all depends on the lender and your role in the National Health Service.   

Let’s dive in and learn more. 

Are there specialist mortgages for NHS staff?

The first thing to know is that there’s no such thing as an “NHS mortgage” (in other words, a mortgage purely designed and marketed to anyone who works for the NHS). 

Instead, you’ll find that some lenders will offer discounts or incentives to NHS workers, while others may be more flexible in dealing with certain professions in the health sector because of their job security and earning potential. 

What’s more, there are a variety of schemes available that make getting a mortgage and buying property more affordable and accessible, and several of these schemes are open to NHS workers (more on those below).

Ultimately, working with a mortgage broker like Habito can help you find the best mortgage deals for NHS staff.

Who is eligible for an NHS mortgage discount?

If a lender offers incentives or discounts for NHS staff, you may find that the eligibility criteria will depend on your role within the health service. Typically, to qualify, you’ll need to be considered “clinical staff” (for example, doctors, nurses, midwives, medical technicians, therapists, and so on) on a permanent contract in one of the following areas:

  • A GP surgery
  • NHS Direct
  • Ambulance Trust
  • Primary Care Trusts
  • NHS Dental Practices
  • National Blood Transfusion Service
  • Health Protection Agency
  • Mental Healthcare 
  • Social Care
  • Other NHS trusts

Non-clinical staff working in hospitals or GP/dental practices (like admin staff, cleaners, or porters) may also be eligible for deals. However, each lender will use their discretion when offering a discount to NHS staff. 

Can doctors get specialist mortgage deals?

It’s possible! Some specialist lenders can offer deals explicitly created for doctors working in the NHS. 

Professions like medical doctors, surgeons, dentists, and pharmacists can sometimes qualify for “professional mortgages,” which tend to offer higher levels of borrowing.

For example, a mortgage lender will usually let you borrow up to 4.5 times your annual salary if you meet their eligibility criteria. But with a professional mortgage from a specialist lender, this could go up to 5.5 times your yearly salary.

How much can NHS staff borrow on a mortgage?

The amount you can borrow as an NHS worker depends on how much you earn and whether you meet the lender’s eligibility criteria. The lender will want to know that you can afford to pay back the loan and that you have a strong credit history. 

When you apply for a mortgage, the lender will carry out an affordability assessment to look at your income, outgoings, credit score, and debt, along with your age, UK residency status, how much you want to borrow, and how much you have saved as a deposit. Read more about mortgage eligibility.

If you qualify for a mortgage, the lender will typically offer to lend you 4.5 times your annual salary.

If we take the average salary for an NHS physiotherapist as an example (£28,549 according to PayScale.com), the maximum you could borrow would be £128,470.

Plug your income and deposit into our mortgage calculator to see how much you could borrow.

Are there any restrictions on NHS staff mortgages?

Like most mortgages, your eligibility will partly depend on your income and job security. For example, if you’re on a temporary or zero-hours contract with the NHS, you may find it harder to prove that you can afford the long-term mortgage repayments. 

And if a mortgage lender offers discounts or incentives to NHS staff, there may be small print stating that only certain roles within the health service are eligible (usually the clinical roles we mentioned above). 

Working with a mortgage broker can help you figure out which deals are right for your situation before you apply.

What sort of schemes can NHS workers use to get a mortgage?

There are several schemes designed to make homeownership a more affordable and realistic prospect – and some of these are specifically geared towards key workers like NHS staff. 

These initiatives include discounts or lower interest rates (or ask for smaller deposits) to help first-time buyers get a foot on the property ladder. 

As an NHS worker, you may want to consider the following:

1. The First Homes scheme

Currently only available in England, the First Homes scheme can provide eligible first-time buyers with a discount of between 30% and 50% off certain new-build properties.

To qualify, you need to be buying your first home and have a combined household income of £80,000 or less (£90,000 in London). You also need to be able to get a mortgage for at least half the price of the home.

The local council may also set their own conditions, such as prioritising the First Homes discount for essential workers (like NHS employees), people who already live in the area, or those on lower incomes.

You can read more about this scheme on GOV.UK.

2. The Mortgage Guarantee scheme

To get more lenders to offer low deposit mortgages, the UK government launched its Mortgage Guarantee scheme in April 2021. 

Available to first-time buyers and existing homeowners, the scheme has brought more 95% loan-to-value mortgages back to the market. This means, if you’re eligible, you can secure a mortgage on a property worth up to £600,000 with a 5% deposit, borrowing the remaining 95% of the property’s value from a participating lender.

To make this happen, the government has guaranteed the portion of the mortgage over 80%. So if you get a 95% mortgage and can’t repay it, the government will pay the lender 15% of the mortgage back. 

Read more about the 95% LTV mortgage scheme.

3. Help to Buy (Wales only)

Another scheme that can only be used by first-time buyers to buy a new-build home in Wales (only), you can access a loan of up to 20% of the purchase price (40% in London) with a 5% deposit. The loan is interest-free for five years.

There are price limits on homes you can buy with an equity loan, and the limit is different for each region in England. Learn more about the limits and eligibility criteria of Help to Buy. In Wales, the maximum home value you can buy with an equity loan is £250,000.

In Scotland, the equivalent scheme is now closed to new applicants. However, the Scottish Government’s Low-cost Initiative for First Time Buyers (LIFT) remains open. You can learn more about the LIFT scheme here.