Mortgages When Earning Sterling

by | May 8, 2023 | Mortgages, Investment Advice

Mortgages When Earning Sterling in Letterkenny

If you are looking for a Cross Border Mortgage, you have come to the right place.

This is an area of confusion for lots of people. Especially for our friends living in or working in Northern Ireland who wants to buy a home and live in Donegal or anywhere the Republic of Ireland. This is very prevalent for people around the border areas of Derry and Tyrone wanting to move to Donegal, where property prices are cheaper.

Mortgages When Earning Sterling | Advice First Financial

Firstly, can I stress that Mortgage lending is available to cross-border workers, contrary to some given information?

Whilst lending is available, there are a couple of issues for those earning Sterling to be aware of. These apply whether you currently live in the Republic of Ireland and working in Northern Ireland or the UK or those living in Northern Ireland and wanting to move to Rep. of Ireland.


If you earn in Sterling there are 2 main challenges to be aware of, these are:

  • There are a limited number of lenders willing to lend. Not all lenders are in the market for you.
  • The lenders that will lend will allow an exchange rate but will also reduce your Sterling income by 20%. As in the first instance, the amount of lending you qualify for is based on your income. The reduction of 20% does have an effect on the amount of lending available. Where you have 2 people earning in Sterling, this can reduce the lending figure a lot.

Example 1: Single Applicant

John is earning £35,000. In the first instance when calculating the amount of lending John would qualify the lenders will:

  1. Reduce John’s income by 20%, so, £35,000*1.15*/120%=€33,541
  2. Use 4 times income, if John is a first-time buyer, to establish the amount John can borrow. = €134,166 of 90% loan to value

* Obviously, the exchange rate from £ to € will verify.

All the usual terms and condition to mortgage lending apply. If you have any existing loans this may reduce the amount of lending offered.

The message is always to speak with a Broker, who knows the Cross Border lending criteria of the different lenders and who can shop around to find you the best available option for you.

Example 2: Joint Application both earning in Sterling

A couple; John is earning £25,000 and Mary is earning £35,000
With their incomes being reduced by 20%, they would qualify for a mortgage of €230,000. If both are first time buyers. How this is worked calculated.

  1. Reduce both incomes by 20%, so, £60,000*1.15*/120%=€57,500
  2. Use 4 times income, if both are first-time buyers, to establish the amount they can borrow. = €230,000 of 90% loan to value

* Obviously, the exchange rate from £ to € will verify.

All the usual terms and condition to mortgage lending apply. If you have any existing loans this may reduce the amount of lending offered.

The message is always speak with a Broker, who knows the Cross Border lending criteria of the different lenders and who can shop around to find you the best available option for you

Warning: In the examples above we used a simple income multiple of 4 times and an exchange rate of 1.15% to work out the amount of available lending. Other lending terms, conditions, and criteria apply. This is not a guarantee of lending.


Lending criteria differ between lenders, and the amount of lending available can differ greatly between lenders, so, it is important to speak to an advisor/broker who knows the Cross Border Mortgage marketplace and who has access to a number of lenders.

Take Action

Our advice is, if you are thinking of applying for a cross-border mortgage, or looking at your existing mortgage, get advice, this will be one of the biggest decisions you will make in your lifetime.
Asking for help and advice is the first place to start.

If you want help, we are happy to advise.

Call us today in Letterkenny: 074 910 3938


Get Advice

Talk to us now and make an appointment with one of our Letterkenny team of QFAs.
We are here to help with your Financial Planning Concerns. Ask us questions on Retirement & Pension, Life Insurance & Protection, Mortgages, and Investment Advice.


Get in touch here or give us a call at 074 910 3938.

Cross Border Mortgages Donegal | Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

I live in Northern Ireland can I get a mortgage to buy a house in Donegal

Yes, you can. The mortgage process for cross border mortgage is the same as any other mortgage.

How much can I borrow

The amount you can borrow will be based on your income, age, repayment capacity etc. All the usual criteria apply. If you are buying to live in the house, you can borrow up to 90% loan to value (LTV). If you are buying a holiday home, you can borrow up to 70% loan to value. Obviously, terms and conditions do apply as with any mortgage application.

Are the interest rates different for cross border mortgages?

No, lender can’t offer different rate to you if you are earning in sterling and or living in Northern Ireland. The same rates are offered to everyone regardless.
As with any mortgage application we recommend you shop around though, because different lenders offer different rates anyway.

Can I borrow in the North for a house in the South of Ireland

No, lenders on either side of the border will not lend if the proposed property is across the Ireland border on either side.

I have a house in Donegal with no Mortgage, can I take a mortgage on it?

Yes, you possibly could but will greatly depend on the purpose of the equity release. It will also depend on whether it is a family home or a holiday home. You definitely need to get advice on this one.

Can I use a Solicitor in the North of Ireland for the purchase in the South?

Yes, you can use a Solicitor who is based in Northern Ireland provided they are licenced to provide conveyancing services in the South. If they are not licenced in the South, then you can’t use them. We are happy to recommend a solicitor if you need.

Does loans I have in the North matter?

Oh, yes they do matter, all lending on the North and or UK is taking in account. You will be asked for a UK credit history report, and this will detail all your lending.

Does having adverse credit in the North matter for a mortgage application in the South?

Oh yes it very much does, as with any adverse credit history it will influence whether lending is possible or not. Depending on the detail, lending may not be possible. You need to speak with us on this one.

I live in the North but earn in the South, is this different?

Yes, it is, if you are earning in Euro, then you will be classed the same as if you are living in the South. So, your income will not be reduced. You will have to provide same additional paperwork but everything else is the same.

Can I hold the deposit in a Sterling Account?

For the application, yes, you can get approved in principle and hold the deposit in you NI account. When you find the house you wish to buy, you will have to transfer the deposit into a Euro account when going for loan offer.

Warning: The cost of your monthly repayments may increase.

Warning: If you do not meet the repayments on your loan, your account will go into arrears. 

Warning: If you do not keep up your repayments you may lose your home

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