Under new rules that take effect on Saturday, they’ll get even more complicated – and applicants will face tougher questions about their lifestyle and spending habits as part of new affordability checks.

All very daunting isn’t it?

The fear is the new checks will mean delays and more rejections. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) however says they’re a good thing. And they should know.

It is all part of the biggest shake up in mortgages for more than a decade – the Mortgage Market Review (MMR) – and is designed to protect consumers from the sort of unscrupulous lending we saw before the 2008 financial crisis when the housing market was booming, sales were frequent and lenders were offering mortgages people couldn’t then afford when the market fell, interest rates went up or if they lost their jobs.

In the old days mortgage offers were based on a multiple of the buyer or homeowner’s income and pretty much nothing else. Not any more. A good thing too says FCA chief Martin Wheatley.

“Too many people got a mortgage by simply telling their lender they would have no problem repaying their debt, and that was that,” he says. “Getting a mortgage can be one of the biggest financial decisions people will ever make, so it needs careful consideration. Our new rules will hard-wire common sense into mortgage lending, and the guide we have created will help explain those changes to borrowers.”

Lenders will now have to conduct a full affordability check, effectively testing an applicant’s ability to repay, say if there was an interest hike or something, to avoid any repeat of what happened in the aftermath of 2008.

It will probably impact how much people can borrow and for how long but the full extent – good or bad – won’t be known for some time.

It’s all very confusing isn’t it? Fortunately The BBC has developed a nifty little housing calculator to help people understand the changes and what they can or can’t afford. How nice?

You can find a full guide to the changes on the FCA’s website, here.

Image via Getty