This area of our website offers information about some of the things we do as a responsible business. For more practical information, visit our mortgage pages.

What's on this page

Barriers to home ownership

It’s no coincidence that as people struggle to buy, significant growth is seen in the private rental sector, where rent is often higher than notional mortgage payments. And policy to protect renters and support landlords has not kept pace. We’ve recognised the need to help stimulate change to improve standards and opportunities for renters. And where possible, to support our members in buying their first home.

Giving first time buyers the support they need

First time buyers are finding it particularly hard to find a way on to the housing ladder. Although first time buyers' activity has largely recovered from the financial downturn of 2007, it remains well below its peak in 2000 when 600,000 people became homeowners for the first time (figures taken from (opens in a new window)). The challenges facing first time buyers are well understood. The Building Society Association’s monthly Property Tracker consistently scores the most significant factors as:

  • raising a deposit, and
  • access to mortgage finance.

Tackling barriers to home ownership remains a priority to Nationwide, particularly after the coronavirus pandemic and the associated impacts on the mortgage market. Since April 2021, we have launched the following propositions to help more first time buyers move into a home of their own.

Helping Hand

Many first time buyers struggle to access mortgage finance. We launched Helping Hand as a direct response to this challenge. Helping Hand is a first time buyer proposition offering enhanced affordability for those taking longer term fixed rate products of at least 5 years. We lend at a higher income multiple for eligible buyers, and ensure we continue to lend responsibly through wider risk controls. Helping Hand is available up to 95% loan to value (LTV), meaning a 5% deposit is required, and the products have the same rates and features as our standard mortgage range.

Keeping deposits low

We reintroduced 95% LTV products for most buyers, making home ownership accessible again with a 5% deposit (at the height of the pandemic, deposits were 15% minimum). By not using the government’s mortgage guarantee scheme, Nationwide was able to relaunch these low deposit mortgages with market leading rates for new customers who were moving home and first time buyers.

First Homes pilot scheme

We confirmed participation in the First Homes pilot scheme – a new government initiative designed to help first time buyers on to the property ladder. First Homes will be available between 50 to 70% of open market value and will remain discounted in perpetuity for the next buyer. Eligible buyers will need a minimum 5% deposit against the reduced purchase price.

Deposit Unlock

In October 2021, we became the largest lender to support the Deposit Unlock mortgage indemnity scheme. This scheme enables eligible first time buyers and home movers purchasing a new build home at selected developments to do so with a low deposit of 5 to 10%.

Championing renters rights

Nationwide continues to be a force for positive change in the private rental sector by supporting vulnerable customers. Our campaigning work, alongside our partners in the sector, has seen:

  • The Government agree to the abolition of Section 21 ‘no fault’ evictions
    This reform will ensure that renters are protected against eviction unless the landlord has a legitimate reason to do so.
  • Blanket bans on renting to people on housing benefit ruled discriminatory
    Support for this campaign led to a legal ruling, making it illegal to apply blanket bans on renting to people because they receive benefit. This means ‘no DSS’ policies are no longer acceptable.

Lending for social housing

Social housing is important for many. Often offering an affordable, secure, longer-term tenancy.

We're proud to support providers of affordable housing throughout the UK and have been lending to the social housing sector for over 60 years. We lend to housing associations ranging from small almshouses to large national providers. With approximately £5.7 billion of committed lending, we’re one of the key lenders to social housing providers in the UK. 

Our support for the sector is a strong fit with our social purpose. The homes we’re helping to finance equate to housing a population the same size as Manchester.

Our relationship managers are experienced in the social housing sector, which means our customers benefit from our strong sector knowledge and dedicated customer service. We maintain regular dialogue with the Social Housing Regulator and other key sector stakeholders to contribute on social housing issues and policy.