Property & Mortgages

Mortgage rates slashed as lender price war intensifies

Mortgage rates

A mortgage price war to attract first-time buyers with deposits as low as 5 per cent is intensifying, with providers slashing their rates, finds Moneyfacts analysis

A mortgage price war to attract first-time buyers with deposits as low as 5 per cent is intensifying, with providers slashing their rates, analysis has found.

The rate gap between the average two-year fixed-rate mortgage on the market for borrowers with a 5 per cent deposit, and the typical two year-fix for those with a 10 per cent deposit, is now at its smallest in six years, Moneyfacts.co.uk found.

This is despite borrowers with the smallest deposits often being seen as more “risky” and recent reports suggesting uncertainties relating to the economy and Brexit are having an impact on the housing market.

The 0.65 percentage point gap in rates is smallest Moneyfacts has seen since February 2013. The average two-year fixed rate for borrowers with a 5 per cent deposit is 3.30 per cent, while the average rate for borrowers with a 10 per cent deposit for this type of mortgage is 2.7 per cent.

The narrowing rate gap has been driven by “healthy competition” by providers looking to attract people with a 5 per cent deposit, Moneyfacts said.

Darren Cook, a finance expert at Moneyfacts.co.uk, described first-time buyers as the “lifeblood of the mortgage market”.

He said providers need to factor in the greater potential of default on higher-LTV (loan-to-value) mortgages, which is why rates are typically higher at 95 per cent LTV – but as seen, they’re increasingly willing to sacrifice these margins in order to compete.

Cook said the average two-year fixed-rate mortgage for borrowers with a 10 per cent deposit has “changed little” since October 2017, increasing from 2.62 per cent by 0.03 percentage points to reach 2.65 per cent now.

Over the same period, the average two-year fixed mortgage rate for borrowers with a 5 per cent deposit has fallen significantly, from 4.19 per cent in October 2017 to 3.30 per cent now.

Cook said this is fantastic news for potential first-time buyers who are looking to find their first step on the housing ladder. However, even though mortgage rates at the 95 per cent LTV tier are falling, it may not be that simple.

Since the financial crisis, the Financial Conduct Authority has introduced clear affordability measures that mortgage providers must follow, so potential first-time buyers will still need to jump through several affordability hoops before they find themselves on the property ladder, he added.

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