The best new mortgages

HSBC has captured the headlines by launching Britain’s lowest fixed-rate mortgage, allowing homeowners to borrow at 2.99% for five years. It’s an excellent headline rate that easily beats the next best rate in the market, which is 3.69%.

However, don’t get too excited. It’s only available to buyers with 40% deposits – or at least that much equity (the estimated sales value less any mortgage) – in their house. That will put it out of reach of most first-time buyers, meaning it will do little to stimulate the lifeless housing market.

At £1,499, the arrangement fee is also a lot steeper than most rivals are offering. And even if you can afford the fee
and have the necessary deposit, you may still not get the mortgage. Several mortgage brokers have reported that “perfectly credit-worthy clients” have been rejected by HSBC.

If you can’t meet HSBC’s tough criteria, Nottingham Building Society may be the place to go. It offers a five-year fixed rate mortgage at 3.69%, with a £1,499 fee. The rate is not as competitive as HSBC’s, but you only need a deposit of 25% to qualify.

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