Can I get a boat mortgage? | moneyfacts.co.uk

Michelle Monck

Michelle Monck

Consumer Finance Expert
Published: 15/10/2020

At a glance

  • Canal boat mortgages are available for those who want to live this lifestyle.
  • Much like with traditional mortgages, those seeking a narrowboat mortgage will have to jump through several affordability-related hoops to prove they can afford to borrow the money.
  • Seeking specialist support – either through a broker or heading straight to a specialist lender – is vital, as these mortgages aren’t typically available through high street providers. 

Can I get a mortgage on a boat?

In a nutshell, yes, but it may require you looking beyond standard mortgage lenders to source suitable finance. This is because a houseboat isn’t a “typical” property – it has no fixed address (unless you opt for a permanent mooring, which can sometimes be a requirement of securing finance) and will usually be significantly cheaper than a standard home. It also has the unusual drawback for lenders in that it can quite simply float away. That said, there are several specialist lenders out there that will provide this kind of marine finance, so be prepared to do a bit of research – and answer a lot of questions once you’ve found a provider.

Like with standard mortgages, your narrowboat mortgage lender will have a lot of affordability criteria that you’ll need to pass before you’ll be accepted for the loan. The following factors will typically be considered before a lender will decide whether to approve you and, if so, how much they’ll offer you:

  • Your annual income (including the source of that income)
  • Credit history (as with any kind of mortgage, having a decent credit score is vital. Make sure to read our guide on how to improve your score if yours is currently less than stellar)
  • Your age (most mortgages have a maximum age limit that they’ll consider)
  • The kind of boat you’re looking at
  • Your buyer profile (if you’re a first-time buyer, you may find it more difficult to secure a canal boat mortgage as you’re an unknown risk)
  • Your deposit (canal boat mortgages are typically available at up to 75% of the boat’s value, but if you’ve got a larger deposit, you’ll normally find it easier and cheaper to secure a deal).

You’ll usually be required to have your boat professionally surveyed to have an accurate valuation, and you’ll need to make sure all required insurances are in place. It’s worth bearing in mind that canal boat mortgages typically have shorter terms than standard mortgages (around 15 years is the norm), though you’ll likely continue to come across both fixed and variable interest rates. It’s important to do your research and, ideally, speak to a specialist broker who can help you find the right deal.

What lenders will offer me a canal boat mortgage?

As mentioned, it could take a bit of digging before you’ll be able to find a suitable lender. At one time it was possible to secure a Barclays boat mortgage through its specialist lending arm Barclays Marine Finance, but since closing to new business it’s only niche lenders that will be able to help.

No matter where you source your finance, remember that a narrowboat mortgage is still a mortgage – the loan is secured on the vessel, which means it can be repossessed if you fail to keep up with repayments. Alternatively, if you’re after a different type of boat, a boat for any other purpose (i.e. not to live in) or you don’t need to borrow such a substantial sum to fund your purchase, you may be able to source more traditional marine finance in the form of an unsecured loan, which means you can borrow less but you won’t have to put your vessel up as collateral. Again, it all comes down to doing your research (and seeking the right support) to find the type of finance that’s right for you.

Moneyfacts tip:

Moneyfacts tip Michelle Monck

A boat mortgage will need a specialist lender – you can save a lot of time by speaking with a mortgage broker to help you find the right deal more quickly.

Disclaimer: This information is intended solely to provide guidance and is not financial advice. Moneyfacts will not be liable for any loss arising from your use or reliance on this information. If you are in any doubt, Moneyfacts recommends you obtain independent financial advice.

Narrow boat mortgage

At a glance

  • Canal boat mortgages are available for those who want to live this lifestyle.
  • Much like with traditional mortgages, those seeking a narrowboat mortgage will have to jump through several affordability-related hoops to prove they can afford to borrow the money.
  • Seeking specialist support – either through a broker or heading straight to a specialist lender – is vital, as these mortgages aren’t typically available through high street providers. 

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