First-time buyers hit by drop in mortgage deals

By Michael Race

Business reporter, BBC News

First-time house buyers could find it more difficult to get onto the property ladder due to fewer mortgage deals with smaller deposits being on offer.

Figures from research body Moneyfacts show there were 137 mortgage offers at 95% loan-to-value on Monday, compared to 347 at the start of 2022.

The downward trend of such deals was accelerated after the mini-budget sparked turmoil on the markets.

Mortgage interest rates hit 14-year highs, but have since begun to fall.

Eleanor Williams , a finance expert at research body Moneyfacts, said first-time buyers were likely to feel the impact of the current climate “keenly” due to them often having smaller deposits and therefore favouring 95% loan-to-value mortgages.

On Monday, Moneyfacts said there were 137 95% loan-to-value mortgage products, compared to 283 on the day of the government’s mini-budget.

“The mortgage sector is changeable at the moment, with the level of product choice fluctuating as lenders review their offerings and try to keep up with a changing economic outlook, which has meant that there are fewer products to choose from than there were prior to the recent fiscal announcement,” Ms Williams added.

She said that with the cost of living biting into household budgets, buyers looking for a low-deposit mortgage deal would also have concerns about meeting affordability requirements.

  • Mortgage rates hit fresh 14-year highs

Mortgage rates in general have been rising for months as central banks across the world try to tackle rising inflation, which is currently at 10.1% in the UK.

But when the financial markets reacted badly to government’s mini-budget last month, which promised billions of pounds of unfunded tax cuts, UK rates rose even higher.

Lenders also suspended hundreds of mortgage products amid uncertainty over how to price these long term loans.

Moneyfacts said the number of all types of mortgage deals available in the UK had recovered slightly to 3,067 – down from 3,961 on the morning of then Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng’s statement.

On Monday, the largest number of deals from lenders was for 75% loan-to-value mortgages (583), the research said.

The picture could change again, with the Bank of England expected to raise interest rates again in November in an attempt to bring down the current rate of inflation.

Average two-and five-year fixed rates are currently at 6.55% and 6.43% respectively, levels not seen since the financial crisis of 2008.

At least 100,000 mortgage holders a month are coming to the end of fixed-rate deals, and face steep rises in monthly repayments.

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