Mortgage bulletin for week commencing Monday 10 March

Posted 10 March 2014

Nationally, almost half (46%) of home purchases by first-time buyers (FTBs) were between £125,000 and £250,000. Figures released by Halifax point to significant regional variations in the prices paid by FTBs last year, with those in the South East (75%) and South West (71%) purchasing properties between £125,000 and £250,000. In contrast, only 14% of FTBs in Northern Ireland and 23% in the North of the country purchased within this range.

Designed to ease the burden for FTBs making their way onto the property ladder Halifax will, for the second year running, pay the entire stamp duty bill on purchases between £125,001 and £250,000, reducing costs by up to £2,500. In addition, for FTBs who purchase a property below £125,001, they will receive £250 cashback. Halifax's two-year fixed-rate deals for FTBs with a deposit of between 10% and 15% is 5.19% with no fees, or 4.79% with a product fee of £995.

Craig McKinlay, mortgage director, Halifax says: "We know that stamp duty can often be a cost that is overlooked, particularly by first-time buyers who are focused on saving an initial deposit for a house."

Leeds Building Society has launched a competitive new low-fee two-year tracker mortgage with a rate of 2.99% (base rate +2.49%). Available for loans up to 85% loan-to-value (LTV), the mortgage has a £199 booking fee and a £400 completion fee. The new tracker, which is available on loans up to £500,000 also comes with a range of benefits including a free standard valuation up to £335, and free in-house legal services for standard remortgages.

On loans up to 65%, First Direct is offering a two-year fixed-rate mortgage at 2.49%, reverting to 3.69%, one of the most attractive variable rates on the market, after the fixed term. The mortgage offers free basic valuation and basic legal work and no fees. Paying a booking fee of £499 reduces the initial fixed-rate reduces to 2.09%. First Direct's two-year tracker at 75% LTV is 2.39% with a booking fee of £499 or 2.79% with no fees, while their 90% LTV two-year fixed-rate mortgage is 3.59% with a booking fee of £1,499 or 4.19% with no fees.

Woolwich fixed-rate mortgages are tied to the Barclays Bank Base Rate, currently 0.5%. A three-year variable tracker with Woolwich is currently 1.65% for the fixed term, rising to the Woolwich standard variable rate thereafter, currently 3.89%. These rates are available on loans up to 65% LTV for mortgages between £500,000 and £2m. Woolwich is offering buy-to-let customers a two-year fixed-rate deal at 3.29% at 60% LTV on loans between £50,000 and £500,000 with an application fee of £1,999, and 3.99% fixed for two years on buy-to-let mortgages of up to 75% for loans between £500,000 and £1m, again with an application fee of £1,999.

Norwich and Peterborough Building Society is offering a range of fixed-rate mortgages at 75% LTV. The two-year fixed rate is currently 2.24% with a product fee of £195 or 2.34% with a product fee of £345 and £500 cashback. A three-year fixed-rate mortgage at 75% LTV for new borrowers is 2.54% with a product fee of £195, while Norwich and Peterborough's five-year fixed-rates at 75% LTV are 3.44% including either free valuation and free legal fees, or £500 cashback, both with a product fee of £345. A reduced fee of £195 is available to new borrowers only with no free services of cashback at a lower rate of 3.34%.

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