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Lenders get good rating from first-time buyers


Published: 8 May 2017 | Author: Bob Pannell

This article focuses on how well recent first-time buyers – those who have bought in the past two years – view the actions of their mortgage provider. Our comments are based on the regular consumer research into first-time buyer experiences that YouGov plc has undertaken for several years.

The latest research, based on a survey of 840 recent and 164 prospective first-time buyers, was conducted in April 2017 and will be published shortly.


Chart 1: Overall satisfaction with mortgage lender, 2014-17

Chart showing overall satisfaction with mortgage lender 2014-17

Source: YouGov Reports First Time Buyers surveys (2014-17)

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Note: Respondents scored their lender on a number scale where 1 indicates Very dissatisfied through to 7 Very Satisfied; figures do not sum to 100%, as we have omitted cases where the respondent is agnostic or has no view.

Base: First time buyers (635, 820, 825 and 840 in 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 respectively)

The first point to note is that the vast majority of recent first-time buyers appear to be pretty happy with their mortgage provider. 

Only 3% of respondents in April 2017 indicated that they were dissatisfied to some degree. This echoes the 2016 results and represents a strong improvement on 2014 and 2015.

Slightly more than two thirds of first-time buyers (68%) are satisfied or very satisfied – once again similar to 2016 and better than earlier years. And if we combine the results to produce an overall weighting of satisfaction, the evidence is one of progressive modest improvement since 2014.

Separately, respondents were invited to reflect on whether their mortgage provider is good across a wide range of attributes. This provides a useful indication of where lenders are doing well. Chart 2 shows how ratings have varied across the period, and also indicates where the latest 2017 results lie within the range.

Chart 2: Whether mortgage lender rated as good across key attributes, 2014-17

Chart showing whether mortgage lender rates as good across key attributes 2014-17

Source: YouGov Reports First Time Buyers surveys (2014-17)

Download the data

Base: First time buyers (635, 820, 825 and 840 in 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 respectively)

Note: Blue bars denote range of ratings over the four years; “X” indicates the 2017 rating.

One of the key take-aways from this chart is that, broadly speaking, the relative ranking of attributes has not changed dramatically over the past few years.

For example, factors such as friendliness or helpfulness of staff or professionalism when dealing with the customer have consistently headed up the favourability rankings.

At the other end of the spectrum, lenders appear to score less strongly on issues that cluster broadly around customer empowerment and engagement. This is an area where consumer expectations are likely to be evolving rapidly, and influenced powerfully by developments in other sectors and the growth of digital technologies. Given their age profile, first-time buyers may be especially discerning in this respect.

Chart 2 also suggests a broad, although not universal, deterioration in how lenders are perceived across individual factors. This observation does not immediately square with the improvement in overall rating (Chart 1), but does represent a useful safeguard against complacency.

The CML has commissioned Accenture, one of our associates, to explore how digital technologies are transforming the mortgage process and how this is likely to impact consumers. We will be publishing its findings around the end of the month, and look forward to the opportunities and challenges it is likely to outline for mortgage providers.