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Updated: 23 Jun 2022

First-time buyers: how to get the best deal on a 90% or 95% mortgage

Rates on low-deposit mortgages creep up after fifth base rate hike  

Rates on 90% and 95% mortgages are rising steadily, after a fifth increase in the Bank of England's base rate.

Low-deposit mortgages were the last to be affected by the base rate hikes, but the cheapest deals have been creeping up in cost over the last couple of months.

Here, we reveal the best mortgage rates currently available to first-time buyers, and explain whether borrowers should be concerned about rising prices.

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What's happened to low-deposit mortgages?

Nine in ten 90% and 95% mortgages were withdrawn from the market after the Covid-19 outbreak in 2020, but the landscape now looks much better for first-time buyers with small deposits.

The 95% mortgage guarantee scheme, which was launched in April last year, resulted in a flurry of deals coming on to the market and rates falling steadily.

The number of low-deposit mortgages has dropped off in the last couple of months, with lenders chopping and changing their deals in light of the recent base rate rises.

The graph below shows how the number of 90% and 95% mortgages has changed since the start of 2021.

Best rates on 90% and 95% mortgages

Since December, the Bank of England's base rate has increased five times, rising from 0.1% to 1.25%.

The first two rises have had relatively little impact on low deposit mortgages, but the three most recent hikes have resulted in rates on 90% mortgages increasing.

The tables below show the cheapest initial rates currently available to first-time buyers with 10% and 5% deposits respectively.


90% loan-to-value

The cheapest two-year and five-year rates have risen by around 0.1% this month.

Many of the 'cheapest' deals below come with up-front fees of up to £999. Buyers who can't afford or don't want to pay fees can instead take a slightly more expensive rate. In some instances, doing this can work out cheaper over the fixed term.

The current joint-cheapest rate on a two-year fix is fee-free. On a five-year fix, you'll need to pay a premium of 0.2% for a fee-free deal.

Lowest rates on 90% two-year fixed-rate deals

LenderInitial rate
Revert rate
Fees
Santander
2.69%
4.50%
£999
Cambridge Building Society2.69%
5.29%None
First Direct2.79%4.04%
£490


Lowest rates on 90% five-year fixed-rate deals

Lender
Initial rate
Revert rate
Fees
First Direct2.79%
4.04%
£490
Santander2.84%
4.50%
£999
NatWest2.97%4.49%
£995


Source: Moneyfacts, rates checked 22 June 2022.


95% loan-to-value

The cheapest rates on 95% two-year and five-year fixes have risen by around 0.2% this month.

The current joint-cheapest rate on a two-year fix is fee-free. On a five-year fix, you'll need to pay a premium of 0.07% for a fee-free deal.

Lowest rates on 95% two-year fixed-rate deals

LenderInitial rate
Revert rate
Fees
Newcastle Building Society3.14%
3.96%
£999
First Direct3.14%
4.04%
None
Leeds Building Society3.15%
4.29%
£999


Lowest rates on 95% five-year fixed-rate deals

Lender
Initial rateRevert rateFees
Saffron Building Society3.17%
4.79%£180
Newcastle Building Society3.20%3.96%
£999
First Direct3.24%
4.04%
None


Source: Moneyfacts, rates checked 22 June 2022.

How much can I borrow with a low-deposit mortgage?

When taking out a 90% or 95% mortgage, you can usually borrow up to four-and-a-half times your annual income.

As an example, if you and your partner collectively earn £60,000, you should be able to borrow around £270,000, as long as you meet the other criteria banks have in place.

There are exceptions. In February, Nationwide announced it would allow first-time buyers to borrow five-and-a-half times their salary on 95% mortgages. This means that with a household income of £60,000, you would theoretically be able to borrow up to £300,000.

The online mortgage broker Habito offers the biggest income multiples. In December, it announced that borrowers could access seven times their income at up to 90% loan-to-value, albeit with the caveat that they'd need to fix their interest rate for the full term of the mortgage. 

The threat posed by inflation and the rising cost of living means some banks have recently tightened their lending restrictions, requiring buyers to have higher salaries to be eligible for bigger mortgages.

If you're unsure about how much you might be able to borrow, or want to know which lenders might offer you the biggest mortgage, it's worth taking advice from a mortgage broker.

computer screen showing mortgage application

Will the rising base rate make mortgages more expensive?

The base rate dictates the cost of borrowing for banks and building societies, so a rise usually results in higher prices for consumers.

The recent increases have only begun to have an effect on low-deposit mortgage rates in the last few months. That's because banks had already priced in the prospect of base rate hikes, and had instead been increasing rates on their cheaper mortgages for buyers with big deposits.

So far, competition between lenders has kept low-deposit mortgage rates relatively low, but any further increases in the base rate will continue to have an impact on the cheapest deals.

The Bank of England will make its next base rate announcement on 4 August.


This story was originally published in January 2021. It is regularly updated with the latest 90% and 95% mortgage deals and rates. The last update was on 23 June 2022.