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Mortgage choice rises to 11-month high

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Mortgage availability is rising, and borrowers with modest deposits have seen the biggest boost in their options
Mortgage choice rises to 11-month high

Mortgage availability is now at an 11-month high, according to Moneyfacts.

The financial information provider found that overall mortgage availability in February rose for the fourth month in a row to 3,215 – the highest level since March 2020 (5,222).

Since October 2020, total product choice has increased hugely, by 42% – the largest four-monthly rise Moneyfacts has recorded since 2007.

First-time buyer boost

The 90% mortgage market has seen the greatest rise, with 88 more deals on offer compared to last month. At 248 products now available, this represents a significant 386% growth in availability since October 2020.

Eleanor Williams, finance expert at Moneyfacts, said: “Those with 10% deposit or equity might be especially pleased to note that this tier has, for a second month, seen the largest uplift in availability.

“With products at this level often favoured by first-time buyers and traditionally being seen as higher risk for providers, willingness to extend lending in this risk bracket could be an indication that lenders have confidence in the sector, despite ongoing, wider economic uncertainty.” For more information about mortgages, visit Lending Expert.

Rising rates

But it’s not all good news, as average mortgage rates are rising too, albeit slightly.

The average two-year fixed rate rose for the seventh consecutive month, and five-year rates for the second month running, however, the rises were of only 0.01% and 0.02% respectively.

Williams added: “At 2.53%, the two-year fixed overall average rate is now 0.11% higher year-on-year, while the five-year equivalent at 2.73% is equal to where it sat in February 2020.

“Therefore, while these rates have risen again, the increases are of just 0.01% and 0.02% this month, which may be a sign of the start of some stability in the market, especially when compared to the drastic monthly increases witnessed over the course of last year.”

The average shelf life for all mortgage deals, which had been static at 28 days for the previous three months, has now risen to 40 days, which Moneyfacts said is ‘another sign the market may be settling down’.

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