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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Surge in number of first-time buyer mortgages

The number of home loans available to first-time property buyers has risen to its highest level since before the start of the credit crunch, according to analyst Moneyfacts.co.uk.

The company says there are more 90% and 95% loan-to-value (LTV) mortgages available than at any point since 2007, with 723 deals now on offer.

This represents more than a threefold increase on five years ago, when only 194 products were available.

Moneyfacts.co.uk spokeswoman Charlotte Nelson said: “Surprisingly, Help-to-Buy (H2B) doesn’t account for all of these new products, but with the number of deals totalling 437 before the scheme was launched, it is clear that H2B acted as a catalyst for banks and building societies to get in on the act.”

Nelson added that, as a result of fierce competition in the mortgage market, the average rates for 95% LTV deals had plummeted to the lowest on record, with the average two-year fixed rate now standing at 4.47%.

“The boost in numbers and the lower rates suggest that lenders are finally recognising the importance of first-time buyers, who have often been considered the life-blood of the housing market,” Nelson said.

“As a result, borrowers need to try not to be swayed by the H2B scheme as the potential to find a better deal elsewhere is high. Many providers have now thrown down the gauntlet by not only offering a competitive rate but a great all-round package, which will help to lower the overall cost of the mortgage.”

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