Trusted since 1981
Pioneers in providing energy-efficient self-build mortgages
Experts in specialist mortgages
We’ve lent to over 4,500 unique properties and projects
Flexible decision making
We take a case-by-case approach to every project
Discounts for energy-efficiency
Our C-Change discounts reward you for creating an energy-efficient home
Flexible stage payments
We offer flexible stage payments during the build
Open to the unusual
We’ll consider a wide range of non-standard construction types
We are experts in providing mortgages for unique self-build projects and we don’t have a ‘tick box’ approach to assessing these types of plans – in many instances, we’ll welcome builds that standard lenders may not accept.
Our self-build mortgages are available to a wide range of self-builders. Whether it’s a competent DIY approach, custom build, self-managed right through to fully managed by a main contractor, we will consider lending.
If you’re planning to build an energy-efficient, self-build property, we’re here to help.
At Ecology, we’re not put off by the construction type; we’ll support many types of construction techniques including those using non-standard materials and modern methods of construction. If we can see your self-build will be energy efficient using sustainable and where possible, locally sourced materials, we’ll consider lending.
We’ll lend on:
- Timber frame and timber clad
- Non-traditional such as straw bale, rammed earth, cob
- Modern Methods of construction built off-site
- Structurally insulated panels
- Insulated concrete forms
- Builds that contain renewables such as photovoltaics, solar thermal, heat pumps, etc.
Our mortgages are available in the UK (England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland).
We’ll lend to support the purchase of the plot and the costs of your self-build project.
Outline planning permission needs to be in place to apply for the mortgage and detailed planning needs to be granted before any mortgage funds are released.
Normally, we’ll release up to 80% of the plot purchase price or value of the property if you already own the land and subsequently, the money required to cover the build costs. As you continue with your build, staged payments of up to 80% of your increased property value as the build progresses will be released – this will help you keep tabs on your budget and planning.
This type of mortgage may be suitable if you are able to make a 20% deposit for your plot and further funds to commence the early stages of the build. We normally recommend 20% of your total build budget as a good starting point to begin your self-build project.
Once your self-build is complete and you achieve the appropriate energy certificate, we can lower your interest rate through our C-Change discounts.
We’re committed to always giving you the best service that we can, with over 94% of Ecology borrowers rating us as very good or excellent.
You can speak directly to our dedicated team of specialist mortgage advisers who are experts in self-builds, renovations and retrofits. We consider every project on a case-by-case basis and have extensive experience in non-standard properties, energy efficiency improvements and ecologically sound building practices.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has laid down detailed rules about the service we must offer on regulated residential mortgages. Under these rules, we will provide you with advice and a recommendation on which of the Society’s products is most suitable for you, based on your needs, preferences, and affordability.
- Energy-efficient self-build rewarded through our C-Change discounts from 0.50% to 1.50%.
- Ability to overpay by up to 10% per annum over the first 2 years. Any amount above 10% will incur an early repayment charge.
- Borrow up to 80% of the property’s value on a repayment basis, or up to 65% interest-only (or part repayment and part interest-only).
- All self-build projects must show they will achieve a minimum SAP rating of 88.
This is an illustration of a typical mortgage and its total cost. It looks at a mortgage of £204,700, paid over 25 years on a variable rate of 6.29%. This mortgage would need 1 monthly payment of £2,309.72 and 298 monthly payments of £1,357.28 to pay off. The total amount paid would be £408,203.16. This includes the loan amount (£204,700), interest (£202,079.16), a mortgage application fee (£799) and a valuation fee (£625). This illustration assumes the cost of the property is £350,000.
The overall cost for comparison is 6.6% APRC representative.
APRC (Overall Percentage Rate of Change) shows you, as a percentage, the annual cost of a secured loan or mortgage. It brings together all charges (such as fees and other costs), calculated as if you kept your secured loan or mortgage for the full term without changing it.
- We’ll lend based on a full affordability assessment.
- Borrowers must be aged 18 or over. This mortgage is only available to UK residents.
- A maximum mortgage term of 30 years is available (subject to eligibility).
- Mortgages are available on a repayment, interest-only or part (repayment) and part (interest-only) basis, subject to eligibility.
- If your project requires planning permission or listed building consent, this will need to be in place before we lend any mortgage funds.
- An early repayment charge may be payable if you repay all or part of your mortgage within the first two years.
- A non-refundable mortgage application fee of £799 is payable in addition to a mortgage valuation fee.
- Read our full list of fees and charges for more information.
Heat Pump Cashback
Thinking about undertaking an energy-efficient self-build project where you are upgrading the heating system to the property? If you are planning to install an air or ground source heat pump, you can claim for a £500 or £1000 cashback when you apply for a new mortgage at Ecology.
We offer a cashback for eligible residential mortgage applications for projects that include the installation of a heat pump. If you qualify, you can claim:
- £500 cashback for when you install an air source heat pump.
- £1,000 cashback for when you install a ground source heat pump.
To be eligible:
- Make sure that your installer is MCS accredited
- This offer applies to our self-build, renovation, conversion and shared ownership mortgages
- Your property must have existing loft and cavity wall insulation.
How to obtain the cashback
The process is simple and part of the mortgage process.
- When speaking to your appointed mortgage broker or one of our mortgage advisors, they will check your eligibility for the cashback.
- The cashback value and installers accreditation requirements and how to claim will be shown in your personalised illustration and any Offer of Loan.
- The cashback is payable within 18 months of completing your mortgage (i.e. when you receive your first stage release/advance) and with the production of an MCS installer certificate.
- The cashback will be paid when we receive a completion certificate confirming that the heat pump has been installed by an approved installer. If you qualify, your cashback will be paid into the bank account you use to make your monthly mortgage payments.
Other important information
Ecology is not responsible for ensuring the quality of the work carried out and the costs provided. You should carry out your own checks to ensure the costs and the supplier is suitable. If you find that you are not happy with the work carried out, you should speak to your supplier in the first instance. If the work carried out is covered under a scheme provider you should also contact the appropriate provider.
An example of a scheme provider is the Microgeneration Certificate Scheme (MCS) that are the standards and quality assurance organisation for renewable heat technologies such as solar thermal, air/ground source heat pumps and biomass boilers.
Good With Money Good Egg award - 2021/2022
NaCSBA Gold Partner - 2022
Best Buy Mortgages & Savings - 2021/22
Benefit from our energy-efficiency discounts
94% of our residential mortgage customers are eligible for one of our C-Change discounts, which are designed to reward you for improving your home’s energy efficiency. So, not only can you enjoy reduced energy bills while shrinking your carbon footprint, you can get a lower rate on your mortgage, too.
1 Take out your mortgage with Ecology
2 Build your new home or transform an existing property
3 Confirm your revised energy rating and we'll calculate your discounted rate
Work out how much you could borrow and compare monthly payments for our Self-build mortgage. You’ll also be able to see how much you could save if you’re eligible for our C-Change discount.
Our mortgage calculator is for illustrative purposes only and is designed to give an indication of the amount that we may be able to lend. The actual amount that we may be able to lend will depend on a full assessment of affordability, the property value and the size of your deposit.
Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage
AGM Charity Poll 2018
Help us choose our AGM voting charity partner Every year we make a charitable donation when members vote in our AGM. International development charity Practical Action has been our AGM voting charity partner for the last few years and we’re asking our members to help us choose our next AGM voting charity partner. Ecology colleagues and directors ...ReadSee all projects
Members’ Newsletter December 18
The latest issue of Ecology News, the newsletter for Ecology members, is now available to view here. In this 50th issue we’re focusing on climate change – what effects are anticipated as the world heats and what can Ecology and our members do in the race to control carbon emissions. As well as a round-up of the latest news from ...ReadSee all projects
As leaders gather in Poland for the United Nations Climate Conference (COP24) Ecology non-executive director, Alison Vipond, discusses the challenge ahead and the urgent need for more action on climate change. Climate change is real and it is happening now. Indeed, we are facing climate breakdown. We are also experiencing the sixth great ...ReadSee all projects
Our customer projects
David and Gill’s offsite manufactured sustainable home
Project type: Self-build
David and Gill made the decision to realise their sustainable self-build dream right by their existing home on a conservation site in Hertfordshire. The triangular plot they purchased held a dated bungalow with an awkward footprint, which the couple’s new home, being a replacement dwelling, had to strictly follow. Rising to the challenge, they ...ReadSee all projects
Caroline’s story – The House at Wildcat Corner
Project type: Self-build
Caroline has always lived in the Highlands, known for its beautiful scenery. She owns a quiet plot of land north of Inverness on which she developed her own self-build home, after being inspired by low-carbon living at a self-build exhibition. Her main priority was creating an affordable, future-proof home that could withstand not only ...ReadSee all projects
The Old Water Tower: A Crisply Designed Passivhaus
Project type: Self-build
The Old Water Tower is a crisply designed Passivhaus new build located in West Berkshire. The site previously housed a derelict water tower, which was demolished to make way for the new build. While its name is a nod to the past, The Old Water Tower’s owners have enthusiastically embraced modern energy-saving technologies and materials. The build ...ReadSee all projects
As a building society with a unique mission to build a greener society, we lend on projects and properties that support our aims through their reduced impact on our environment. Making your home energy efficient is a major way you can support tackling climate change – while saving on your energy bills.
We reward borrowers whose properties are energy efficient (therefore have lower carbon emissions) with our C-Change discounts off our Variable Rate which helps them save money on their mortgage. We call our discounts ‘C-Change discounts’ simply because we’re aiming to make a ‘sea-change’ of difference to our climate with each property or project we fund.
The level of our C-Change sustainable homes or C-Change retrofit discount that applies is based on the Energy Standard rating achieved on the self-build, off-site build, renovation or conversion when the work is completed. Our C-Change energy improvements discount is based on the qualifying energy measures being installed. The discount is applied from the date we receive evidence that the work has been completed and if applicable the Energy Standard rating required has been achieved.
Do I need to provide planning permission for my self-build?
Yes. We need at least outline planning permission to start the application process and detailed planning permission before the mortgage is released.
What information do I need to progress a mortgage application?
You’ll need to have a specific plot and build in mind which needs to be supported by detailed plans, including a breakdown of material and labour costs and an indication of the energy standard you are building to. We’re currently focusing on self-build properties that are aiming for Passivhaus or EPC B (SAP rating 88+) or above.
What deposit do I need for my self-build?
You need a 20% minimum deposit to buy the land and a further 15% – 20% of total build costs to start your build.
Do I still need a deposit for my self-build if I already own the land and have planning permission?
No, you don’t always need a deposit; we can lend based on the value of your land to start the build, providing you already own the land and it’s mortgage-free. Also, if you need us to, we can help you repay any outstanding finance on the land.
Do you lend on buying the plot/land only?
We don’t just lend on a plot/land purchase. Any project we support needs to show planning details of the proposed build with an indication of the energy standard you are building to, and how the build costs are expected to be funded with savings and mortgage finance.
How long do I have to complete the build?
Subject to planning constraints, we allow a maximum of 2 years for you to complete the self-build, although we encourage you to complete earlier to benefit from our C-Change sustainable homes discount which is applied to our Standard Variable Rate from the date we receive evidence that both the work has been completed and the Energy Standard rating required has been achieved.
Do you offer stage payments for a self-build?
Yes, although the Ecology self-build mortgage does not release payments at set construction milestone stages (e.g. foundation, wall plate etc.). We release funds as and when the build progresses and release up to a percentage of the increased value of the property.
Can I have interest-only during the build phase?
We offer an interest-only mortgage only when you have a qualifying repayment vehicle to support this for example an established ISA, endowment policies or Pension Plan.
Does Ecology require a particular build warranty on completion of my self-build?
A build warranty is not a mandatory lending requirement of our mortgage and we are happy with a Building Regulation Completion Certificate. However, if you wish to take out a build warranty for the completion of the property then this is acceptable to the Society.
Does the self-build property have to be my main residence?
Yes, although we do offer a buy to let mortgage. Please bear in mind that the property can’t be a second or holiday home or classed as mobile planning.
Do you do mortgages for property renovations or conversions that are eco-friendly?