Lenders look to woo 1st-time buyers

Mortgage lenders are targeting first-time buyers as the numbers of newcomers to home ownership reaches a decade-high level.

Nationwide is the latest lender to look to appeal to first-timers by cutting the repayment rate on its 95 percent loan-to-value mortgages.

But analysis by Which? shows that lenders across the industry are offer more deals and better rates on mortgages of 90 and 95 percent, directly targeting first-time buyers who are struggling to raise a big deposit.

Lenders had virtually closed the door on 95 and 90 percent mortgages after the 2008 financial crash, while stricter borrowing criteria means many younger people keen to get on the housing ladder couldn’t access finance.

However, recent data from both the Nationwide and the Halifax in their monthly house price index reveal that first-time buyer numbers are now back to pre-crash levels.

And with more newcomers in the market for a mortgage, competition is growing among lenders to secure their custom.

According to Moneyfacts, the average two-year fixed-rate 95 percent mortgage now has a repayment rate of 3.72 percent, compared to 4.21 percent a year ago. The average five-year fixed rate on a 95 percent mortgage is 4.06 percent, dropping from 4.50 12 months ago.

And analysis from Which? shows first-time buyers with a small deposit have better options for finance than ever before, despite two increases in the Bank of England base rate in the last year.

Its analysis of Moneyfacts data shows the number of products for buyers who only have a 5 percent deposit has almost doubled since 2017, up from 155 to 224.