UK banks pull half of first-time buyer friendly mortgages after mini-budget

estate agents

The number of low-deposit 95% mortgages on sale has fallen by more than half since last month’s scrapped mini-budget, stoking fears that financial uncertainty could lead some banks to scrap the deals that are often the only way first-time buyers with small deposits can own a home.

Data from Moneyfacts shows that the number of new 95% mortgages stood at 137 on Monday.

That compares with 283 on 23 September and 353 on 1 December last year, which amounts to a near-52% fall in the space of a month, and a 61% fall since December 2021.

Years of rising house prices mean that mortgages that require a deposit of only 5% can sometimes be the only way that some first-time buyers on tighter budgets are able to afford a property.

However, after the chaos triggered by Kwasi Kwarteng’s now – mostly ditched – mini-budget, some mortgage brokers were predicting that lenders would cut the number of 95% deals available, or that such deals could disappear completely for a time, as happened during the first few months of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020.

If banks and building societies believe house prices are likely to fall, as some commentators have predicted, some may pull out of this part of the market because of fears of borrowers falling into negative equity.

Not all lenders are pessimistic. On Tuesday, Skipton Building Society is launching a range of new products including several 95% deals. They include a two-year fixed-rate home loan priced at 6.41%, which the society said was a best-buy rate and likely to appeal to first-time buyers. It has also announced new 95% fixed deals aimed at those buying on a shared ownership basis, and those buying a new-build property.

Charlotte Harrison, Skipton’s head of mortgage products, said: “We know just how tough it is for people wanting to get the keys to their first home, and while we can’t control much of what we’re seeing in the marketplace over this past month, we are working hard to help wherever we can.”

In other more positive news for borrowers, Moneyfacts revealed that the number of new standard mortgage deals on sale was slowly creeping up: it stood at 3,067 on Monday, compared with 3,053 on Friday. Following the market turbulence caused by the September mini-budget, lenders pulled down the shutters, and the number of deals available plummeted, falling to 2,258 by 1 October.

Meanwhile, the average new two-year fixed rate has stayed static at 6.55% for a few days now – last Thursday it was at 6.65%.

However, this average has surged from 4.74% on 23 September, spelling bad news for homebuyers and those wanting to remortgage. Just over a year ago it was possible for mortgage borrowers to lock into an interest rate of less than 1% for two or five years.