BRITAIN’S housing market was given a mighty boost yesterday with the cheapest mortgage deals in history now on offer.
Homeowners were urged to snap up one of the cheap loans as the interest rates on them continue to fall to almost rock bottom levels.
The latest drive downwards in deals was fuelled by Leeds Building Society as it launched its lowest ever two-year fixed mortgage with a rate of 1.99 per cent. On the back of that, two-year fixed home loans across the market dropped to an average of just 3.82 per cent – also their lowest ever.
The record deals are available because lenders are confident that interest rates will not rise from their current base rate level of 0.5 per cent until next year at the earliest.
The Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee is again expected to keep base rates unchanged for the 32nd consecutive month at its meeting today. David Newnes, director of LSL Property Services owners of Your Move and Reeds Rains estate agencies, said last night: “Lenders are driving down rates to record lows. Fixes are so cheap homeowners will be tempted to lock into deals which will give them financial security for years.”He called on borrowers to act quickly. “As soon as the base rate looks like rising, fixes will get more expensive. Borrowers who wait too long will miss out.”
Miles Shipside, director of Rightmove estate agents, said: “Lenders are fighting over buyers with good deposits, and offering them terrific deals to get their low-risk mortgage business.
“It’s a great time for those with enough equity to trade up.”
Buyers taking up the Leeds deal on a 25-year term with a 25 per cent deposit, would see their monthly payments on a £219,852 property fall by £159.93, according to homes search website FindaProperty.com.Nicholas Leeming, business development director at Zoopla.co.uk, said: “Low mortgage rates are also excellent news for the property market as a whole.
“Low rates help stimulate demand and fuel price growth; this encourages sellers and boosts confidence among other buyers.”
The average two-year fixed rate is now down from 4.01 per cent in August, according to analysis by price comparison website Moneysupermarket.
Clare Francis, financial expert at the website, said: “The cost of fixing your mortgage for two years has never been cheaper.”
A number of lenders – such as Nationwide and the Post Office – have slashed the cost of fixed-rate mortgages recently as the Bank holds its base rate at a historic low of 0.5 per cent. Martyn Dyson, head of mortgages at Nationwide, which also has its own record low two-year fixed deal of 2.64 per cent, said some of the lowest fixed rate and tracker deals for more than 20 years were available at under three per cent.”
Stuart Law, chief executive of property investment firm Assetz, also cautioned borrowers to act.
“I expect the Bank to announce a series of panic rate rises next year in response to growing inflation, therefore I would advise homeowners to fix now,” he said.
Moneysupermarket, whose records began in 2007, found that fixed-rate mortgage fees have risen by 6.4 per cent since June and urged borrowers to consider all the fees and charges.
A product with a slightly higher rate but lower set-up costs may work out cheaper, depending on how much you need to borrow.
For example, the Leeds Building Society two-year fixed deal at 1.99 per cent includes a combined booking and arrangement fee of £1,999.
The fee means that this deal is only a best buy for those customers looking to borrow more than £164,350.
For smaller mortgages, Yorkshire Building Society’s two-year fixed rate deal at 2.49 per cent works out cheaper, due to a lower £995 fee.