Income is crucial for determining how big a mortgage you can have. Traditionally, mortgage lenders applied a multiple of your income to decide how much you could borrow. So, if you earn £30,000 per year and the lender will lend four times this, they may be willing to lend £120,000. (Remember that each lender will have different criteria and will offer different income multiples, so always do your research.)
When it comes to households with two incomes, some lenders offer a choice:
• The option to add the second income on top of the multiple, so if the main breadwinner earns £30,000 and the second person's income is £15,000 a lender might offer 4x the first income, plus the second income (4 x £30,000 + £15,000 = £135,000)
• A slightly lower multiple for two incomes than for one. So £30,000 + £15,000 = £45,000. Then £45,000 x 3 = £135,000
Many lenders now only use income multiples as an overall maximum that they will lend, conducting a detailed affordability assessment to decide how much they are willing to lend. This is something that has become particularly strict following mortgage regulations introduced in 2014.
If part of your income is comprised of a bonus or overtime, you may not be able to use this, or if you can, you may only be able to use 50% of the money towards what the lender deems as your income.
All income you declare in your mortgage application will need to be proven – usually through you providing your latest pay slips, pensions and benefits statements.