Banks have withdrawn the majority of their low-deposit mortgages in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, resulting in the gap in cost between 90% and 95% deals growing significantly.
This means that to secure a great interest rate, first-time buyers may now need to either stump up a 10% deposit or bide their time until more deals return to the market.
Here, Which? explains how much you'll need to save to buy a home with a 90% mortgage in your area and how a bigger deposit can affect the size of your mortgage repayments.
These cuts have been sparked by a series of challenges, including the government's stay-at-home measures banning in-person , bank resources being stretched due to applications and two emergency cuts to the creating uncertainty.
The number of 90% deals on the market has increased by 11 in the last 10 days, but 95% deals are yet to see any change.
|Loan to value (LTV)||1 March||17 May||27 May|
As people begin buying and selling homes again, it's likely that more products will return over the coming weeks and months. The number of 90% mortgages is likely to rise first, simply because 95% loans are riskier for lenders.
New data from Rightmove shows that savers in the North East only require £10,034 for a 10% deposit, while buyers in London need an eye-watering £47,757. The overall average for England is £24,189.
The interactive map below shows how much you need in each region for a 10% deposit, as well as the current average asking price in each area.
Rightmove also assessed deposits and property prices in 20 cities around England.
It found that in two cities, Bradford and Hull, first-time buyers could take out a 90% mortgage with a deposit of less than £10,000.
Outside of London, first-time buyers in Brighton need the biggest deposits, with £30,960 required to secure a 90% mortgage.
Generally speaking, bigger deposits mean lower mortgage interest rates and, thus, lower monthly repayments.
The gap in cost between the best-rate 90% and 95% mortgage is usually in the region of 0.7%-1%.
On the day the base rate dropped for the first time (11 March), the gap was 0.97%, but this has now widened to 1.3%, meaning 90% mortgages are considerably cheaper than 95% deals.
At 90% LTV, HSBC offers a two-year fix with an initial rate of 1.79% and a fee of £999.
The cheapest comparative 95% mortgage is from Nationwide, at 3.09% and with a fee of £999.
The chart below shows how your monthly repayments during the two-year introductory period could differ depending on whether you have a 5% or 10% deposit.
Based on buying a £200,000 property with a 25-year mortgage term, the cheapest 90% mortgage would cost you £165.25 a month less than the best-rate 95% loan.
Going down a LTV bracket makes a difference to your repayments, but once you go below 90% the savings are smaller.
There are currently 158 deals available for first-time buyers at 85% LTV, meaning those with slightly bigger deposits have much more to choose from.
The cheapest two-year fixed-rate mortgage at 85% LTV is priced at 1.49% from HSBC - that's just 0.3% lower than the best 90% rate.
This means the monthly saving in this instance would be £65.58 a month, as shown below.
The market likely to be volatile for a while, so you might not see returns in terms of house price growth for some time if you purchase now. With this in mind, think about your long-term plans before you start your search.
Whether you're close to buying your first home or you've just started saving, we've got lots of great advice to help you boost your deposit.
Experts from across Which? have been compiling the advice you need to stay safe and to make sure you're not left out of pocket.