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Have first-time buyer mortgages really returned?

Jessica Nangle

December 7, 2020

residential first homes

Despite more lenders returning to the high LTV market, many remain unavailable to most first-time buyers (FTBs) according to new research by Defaqto.

Of the 86 mortgages available to FTBs, only 25 are actually available to all, with only eight intergenerational mortgage products today compared to the 24 recorded a year ago.

Most first-time buyer products have some sort of restriction based on postcode or are only available through select intermediaries.

Defaqto found that 22 mortgages are restricted by postcode, 25 are not available in Wales and 18 are only available through certain broker networks.

This means that whilst there are more products available to FTBs than a month ago, many borrowers still can’t access them.

Additionally, these products are more expensive today than the same time last year.

The average 90% LTV product costs 12% more than it did a year ago, however the rates are still low when compared over a longer period.

In contrast, equity release products have improved significantly in recent years, and are currently the cheapest they have ever been.

The average interest rate is now 4% and the lowest rate available for someone aged 65 is 2.25%, which is historically low.

Katie Brain, banking expert at Defaqto, said: “This year we have seen many 90% LTV products launched into the market, only for them to be pulled just days later.

“It looks like the market is stabilising now and borrowers have more certainty about getting one of these mortgages.

“The bad news for first-time buyers is that many of these products have restrictions which prevent the majority of people from accessing them, so they still have little choice.

“If they can get help from family in the form of an intergenerational mortgage or through equity release, there are far more options available to them.

“The good news is that with these products, the rates are historically low and so these are more affordable now than they have been.

“For anyone looking to buy a home, it is important to get your finances in order, clear as much debt as you can and build up your savings.

“When you are ready to make the leap, it is worth consulting a professional adviser to guide you through the process and help you get the best deal for your needs.”

This research follows the news that many lenders were reintroducing their 90% LTV ranges following lockdown restrictions easing, including Halifax, Nationwide and YBS.


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