Can I get a Reema construction mortgage?

There’s no getting around the fact that mortgage lenders like a known quantity. They favour the type of property you would recognise as a typical home – with brick, block, or stone walls and a tiled or slate roof.

This type of property gives mortgage lenders a degree of certainty about the likely lifespan of the home, its ease of maintenance, and its eventual resale value. The last is essential, of course, in case you default on your mortgage repayments and the lender repossesses your home before selling it.

Non-standard construction gives any lender none of that assurance – and that makes getting a non-standard home mortgage more of a challenge.


What are Reema construction homes?

Reema is a non-standard construction technique using prefabricated reinforced concrete panels.

The name is taken from the builders, the Reema Construction Ltd, based in Salisbury, Wiltshire, and formed in 1948. According to the Non-Standard House Construction (NSH) website, between 1945 and 1966, 16,000 houses and bungalows were built using the Reema method in England and, 1,600 in Wales.

The original Reema hollow panel building method used one storey high, lightly reinforced concrete panels, linked together between reinforced concrete columns. Then all linked together on the first floor and at the eaves by further reinforced steel beams.

The hollow panels are double-skinned, with trough-like rebates cast into the vertical and upper edges. The rebates function as a lasting type of shuttering that joins and supports the panels where they are held together by the concrete columns and the steel beams at the level of the first floor and eaves.

The nature of construction meant that Reema homes are often expensive and difficult to heat. At the same time, subsequent surveys have revealed localised corrosion of the concrete panels, together with further evidence of cracking and spalling.

Unless they were subsequently the subject of repairs and modifications, these Reema hollow panel homes were designated as “defective” under Part XVI of the Housing Act 1985. Unsurprisingly, their designation as defective makes a Reema construction mortgage more difficult – but not impossible – to secure.

As the Reema Company continued its building projects, from 1967 until the 1970s, it also developed construction techniques that were not subsequently designated as defective. These were the Reema Conclad and Reema Contrad houses. If you are looking for a mortgage, you might find it slightly easier to secure one for Conclad and Contrad homes – typically provided they have been granted a pre-cast reinforced concrete (PRC) certificate.

Modifications and reinstatements that gain such certificates put a Reema PRC Conclad concrete construction mortgage and even a Reema PRC Hollow Panel concrete construction mortgage within reach.

If you approach any lenders for a mortgage on a Reema house or bungalow, you are almost certain to need a PRC certificate for the property. The PRC certificate gives any lender the necessary confidence and reassurance that approved structural repairs have been made – in line with the PRC that has been issued. Without the PRC, your application for a mortgage is unlikely to prove successful.


What is a non-standard construction mortgage?

Whether hollow panel, Conclad, or Contrad, the methods for building Reema houses and bungalows adopt non-standard construction techniques. As we have seen, mortgage lenders are especially wary of loans for the purchase of non-standard properties built from anything other than brick, block, or stone walls and a tiled or slate roof.

Along with homes built from pre-cast concrete panels – including the full range of Reema homes and other types of concrete “prefab” – the following are further examples of non-standard construction:

  • thatched cottages – indeed, any building with a thatched roof;
  • buildings – large or small – that have been “listed” under the National Heritage List for England (NHLE) or its equivalent in Wales, Scotland, or Northern Ireland;
  • steel framed homes;
  • timber-framed homes;
  • flats in high-rise blocks; and
  • many other dwellings built from materials other than brick, block, or stone walls and a tiled or slate roof.

Why is it difficult to get a Reema house mortgage?

A non-standard construction mortgage is likely to prove more challenging to secure because of the lender’s assessment of the risks involved. As we have seen, lenders are far more comfortable with the known quantity of a conventionally built home. In contrast, non-standard construction raises serious doubts about the useful life of the property, the invariably higher costs of its repairs and maintenance, and questions and uncertainties about its resale value.


Can I get a Reema PRC Hollow Panel concrete construction mortgage?

So, mortgages for Reema homes – including Reema PRC hollow panel concrete construction mortgages (where modifications have been made in accordance with a PRC certificate) – are certainly available. But the pool of potential lenders is relatively limited, and you might want to draw on the expertise of a specialist broker to identify likely lenders.

That is because any lender will have assessed your application for a Reema home to represent a higher risk. In addition, you will be seen as a high-risk borrower because of the uncertainties and doubts about the home’s resale value if you default on the mortgage repayments and the lender is forced to repossess the property before attempting its resale.

The demand for housing is less than enthusiastic where it was once branded as defective under the Housing Act of 1985 – even though it has been subsequently upgraded and granted a PRC certificate. In addition, a reduced field of buyers, expensive maintenance and repair costs, and difficulties in insuring a Reema home are likely to make resale more difficult.

As a high-risk borrower, your application for a mortgage will be scrutinised more carefully than ever, and the lender’s policies will be applied more stringently. For example, some lenders will reject your application for a mortgage to buy a Reema property outright – others might impose special terms and conditions or charge a higher rate of interest.


How do Reema mortgages work?

The Reema method adopts non-standard construction techniques, but your mortgage application will likely proceed along familiar and otherwise standard lines.

In other words, you will need to provide evidence of a regular, sustained, and reliable income, details about your personal circumstances, and a check with the credit reference agencies for an insight into the way you have managed your debts in the past.

As we have seen, the most significant difference in approach will be the lender’s assessment of the risks involved in lending against a Reema property. Because of those risks, the maximum loan to value (LTV) ratio of your mortgage might be lower – you’ll need a bigger deposit – you may have to pay a higher rate of interest, and the lender’s affordability stress tests are likely to prove more rigorous.

As with any mortgage application, you will be required to pay for and furnish a structural survey of the property.


Next steps- Reema Construction Mortgage

If you have set your sights on a house or bungalow that requires a Reema construction mortgage, be prepared for some uphill challenges in your application.

From the outset, you might want to recognise that it could be easier to obtain a Reema PRC Conclad concrete construction mortgage than a Reema PRC Hollow Panel concrete construction mortgage – but, in any event, and as the respective descriptions suggest, you will need the property to have a PRC certificate.

The added challenges of identifying suitable lenders and the difficulties you may face in your application are likely to make worthwhile an early approach to experienced brokers such as ourselves here at NeedingAdvice.co.uk.


FAQs –  Reema Construction Mortgages

Can I get a mortgage on a concrete construction property?

Yes, you can get a Reema construction mortgage in the UK. Such type of construction is considered as a non-standard construction property. Because of this reason, every lender has different lending criteria based on mortgage affordability. So, if you are looking forward to getting a mortgage for a concrete construction property, then you should contact a mortgage broker who can help you with your mortgage application. 

Why are concrete construction mortgages more difficult to get?

Concrete construction properties are not as popular as brick and block homes because they tend to cost more to build. Also, there is no guarantee that these types of houses will last forever. However, there are many benefits associated with concrete construction properties. The main benefit is that these properties are very energy efficient. They also offer good insulation which makes them a great option for people living in colder climates.

What are the two types of Reema construction?

There are two types of Reema building materials: hollow panels and concrete. Both of these types of materials are used to construct buildings. Hollow panels are made from composite material while concrete is made from cement.

How do I know whether my property qualifies for a mortgage or not?

You need to check whether the property you wish to buy is eligible for a Reema construction mortgage. You can find out by contacting a mortgage broker. A mortgage broker will provide you with all the information about the eligibility of your property. If you are