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Release: Self-employed workers excluded from UK mortgage market


Research reveals UK households collectively spend over £107 billion each year on their self-employed network

UK households spend on average over £4,000 each year on a network of up to 15 self-employed people, according to new research from Kensington, the specialist lender.

Households are typically spending £626 on lawyers and £235 on cleaners each year (figure 1) and this ‘selfie workforce’ is collectively costing UK households around £107.6 billion each year.

This trend looks set to continue as the faster pace of life makes society ever more reliant on those offering these services, who in turn are seeking a more flexible way to work.

The findings highlight the importance of decorators, beauticians, plumbers, electricians, gardeners and cleaners in keeping the wheels of the UK economy moving and partly explain why this element of the workforce has doubled in forty years.

Indeed, recent data shows that out of the 4.6 million people registered as self-employed between April-June 2014, 36% or 1.7 million have been self-employed since 2009.

However, Kensington is warning that this growing ‘selfie workforce’ is not well served by the financial services industry. After 18 months of consecutive house price rises in London and the South-East of England, many self-employed people could be forced to move further away from the markets they are trying to serve.

Keith Street, Head of Kensington, says:

“Self-employed people are overlooked as key workers. Whilst they may not perform crucial life-saving roles, they are essential to the smooth-running of many house-holds across the UK from accounting to cleaning or child care. But they are being squeezed by a rapidly rising housing market and many mainstream lenders that use rigid automated systems to make their decisions."

Figure 1. Self-employed services used:

Source: Kensington Mortgages, September 2014

Figure 1.

Self-employed services used by households

Average cost per year to each UK household

Total cost per year to UK households (£B)




Domestic cleaner






Personal/sports trainer












IT consultant












Interior designer






According to Kensington, men are likely to use accountants, electricians, plumbers, IT consultants and artists more often than women whilst women are likely to use hairdresser and beauticians more often than are men.

Kensington’s research also reveals a couple of gender differences in the amount both sexes pay for self-employed services (figure 2) with men paying significantly less for a photographer or a hairdresser or beautician.

Figure 2. Self-employed services used by men vs women:

Source: Kensington Mortgages, September 2014

Significantly higher spend between genders shown in bold font.

Figure 2.

Self-employed services used

Average Price paid by men

Average Price paid by women







Interior designer


















IT consultant






Personal/sports trainer



Domestic cleaner






Keith Street, Head of Kensington, continues:

"Many self-employed people provide an individual service to their clients and it is often true that, when it comes to looking for a mortgage, their circumstances require a more individual approach as well. We recommend they seek the guidance of a professional mortgage adviser, who can take the time to match their requirements with the right product and lender. Specialist lenders like Kensington use experienced underwriters to make decisions, not just an automated system, so we can understand the individual income and circumstances of a self-employed person.”

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