Offset mortgages

What is an offset mortgage and is it right for you?

Choosing the right type of mortgage can save you thousands of pounds in the long-term. If appropriate to your particulate situation, one of the less common types worth considering is an offset mortgage.

Typically the people that offset are those with savings they want access to but are unhappy with the punitive interest rates offered for easy access accounts.

Some higher-rate tax payers may also want to consider offset mortgages as their savings will attract no interest and they will not have to declare this as taxable income.

Applicants that are self-employed can use money set aside to pay their tax bill to offset and landlords can have their rental income paid into a savings account linked to their own residential offset, which can help reduce their own mortgage interest that is also very useful.

What is an offset mortgage?

An offset mortgage is a homebuying loan that’s linked to your savings account to let you reduce how much interest you are charged. Any cash savings you have in that account are offset against the amount you owe. Lenders deduct this amount from your mortgage balance and only charge you interest on the remaining amount.

For example, if you have a £200,000 mortgage but you have £20,000 in savings, you will only pay interest on £180,000 of the mortgage.

The more savings you have, the less interest you’ll have to pay on your mortgage.

Why is it important to reduce your mortgage interest?

Interest can add up a lot over the full term of your mortgage. For example, if you were to repay a £200,000 mortgage over 25 years, at an interest rate of 3%, you’d pay over £80,000 in interest.

Anything that reduces the amount of interest you must pay – like an offset mortgage – can help you save a significant amount of money over the long-term.

Do you still have access to your savings with an offset mortgage?

Yes. One of the main advantages of an offset mortgage is that you can still use your savings if you need to. The money is still yours and you aren’t obligated to use it to pay off your mortgage at any point.

You just need to remember that, if you withdraw a significant amount of your savings, your monthly mortgage repayments will go up.

Can you still add to your savings with an offset mortgage?

Yes, you can still add to your savings, and this is often a sensible decision. The effect is the same as if you were to overpay on your mortgage, in that it will reduce the balance that you’re paying interest on.

However, the added benefit is that you can change your mind later and withdraw that money again if you need it. It isn’t usually possible to do this if you have overpaid your mortgage.

Do you still earn interest on your savings with an offset mortgage?

No, you won’t earn interest on your savings. It’s important to bear this in mind, as over a long period (like a 25-year mortgage) inflation will reduce the buying power of your savings.

But the interest you save on your mortgage should add up more than the interest you would earn on your savings. You just need to compare the interest rates available to you for both mortgages and savings accounts to see if you’ll benefit.

Why not use your savings as a bigger deposit?

Using your savings to increase your deposit has the same effect as choosing an offset mortgage – it reduces the amount that you’re paying interest on.

The advantage of choosing an offset mortgage is that you can still access your savings later if you need to, whereas if you use them as a deposit, they are no longer accessible.

There are two advantages of using your savings as a bigger deposit. Firstly, you’ll have access to a wider range of mortgages, as offset mortgages are less common than other types. Secondly, you’ll be borrowing at a lower loan-to-value ratio (LTV). Because of these two factors, you might be able to find a mortgage with a lower interest rate than the offset mortgages available.

The best option for you depends on your circumstances, and you might want to check with a mortgage broker to help you compare your options.

What are the advantages of offset mortgages?

  • You can pay lower monthly repayments
  • Or, you can overpay and be mortgage-free sooner
  • You will still have access to your savings if you need them
  • You won’t pay any tax on your savings as they are not earning interest
  • You’ll usually save more in mortgage interest than you lose in savings interest

What are the disadvantages of offset mortgages?

  • You won’t earn any interest on your savings
  • Offset mortgages typically have a higher interest rate than other mortgage types
  • There is a limited range of offset mortgages to choose from
  • You can sometimes be better off using your savings to increase your mortgage deposit

All Rights Reserved. Information contained in this article and on our website does not constitute advice and is provided for information purposes only. Recipients should not act upon it, but should seek professional advice relevant to their own situation.