Mortgage shelf-life plummets as lenders hike rates: Moneyfacts

Average mortgage rates on two and five-year fixed rate deals rose last month, breaking six months of consecutive cuts.

Related topics:  Mortgages
Rozi Jones | Editor, Barcadia Media Limited
12th March 2024
house price coin up
"It is worth noting that fixed rates remain lower than at the start of 2024 and there are still some decent options available for borrowers to compare."
- Rachel Springall, finance expert at Moneyfacts

The latest data from Moneyfacts shows that the average shelf-life of a mortgage product has plummeted to 15 days as lenders increase fixed rates.

Average mortgage rates on two and five-year fixed rate deals rose last month, breaking six months of consecutive cuts.

Overall average two and five-year fixed rates rose between the start of February and the start of March, to 5.76% and 5.34% respectively.

The average SVR rose slightly by 0.01%, to 8.18%, just shy of the highest recorded of 8.19% during November and December 2023, while the average two-year tracker variable mortgage remained at 6.15%.

Despite rising rates, product choice overall rose month-on-month to 6,004 options, its highest level since March 2008 (6,192).

In addition, the availability of deals at the 90% LTV tier (761) has increased to its highest point since March 2020.

The average shelf-life of a mortgage product has plummeted to 15 days, a six-month low, down from 28 days at the start of February 2024. The lowest shelf-life average on Moneyfacts records was 12 days in July 2023.

Rachel Springall, finance expert at Moneyfacts, said: “Mortgage product availability was volatile during February as the average shelf life of a deal plummeted to just 15 days, a six-month low. Lenders reacted to the change in swap rates, leading to numerous repricing of fixed rate deals, no doubt making it a challenging situation for borrowers and brokers to keep on top of the changes. The rate volatility led to a rise in both the overall average two and five-year fixed rates, the opposite direction borrowers may well have hoped for after positive rate cuts recorded a month prior. However, it is worth noting that fixed rates remain lower than at the start of 2024 and there are still some decent options available for borrowers to compare.

“Mortgage choice recorded the biggest month-on-month rise in six months, with mortgage options for borrowers overall breaching 6,000, the largest count in 16 years (March 2008 – 6,192). A deeper dive into the loan-to-value sectors reveals good news for borrowers with limited deposits. Indeed, product choice at 90% loan-to-value rose by 80 deals month-on-month, now at its highest count in four years (March 2020 – 779). This is a positive move, as choice dipped a month prior (February 2024 – 681). Those borrowers with just a 5% deposit will also find a rise in choice, as there are now over 300 deals on the market at 95% loan-to-value, the highest count since June 2022 (347). However, prospective first-time buyers still have affordability challenges to overcome amid volatile house prices and a lack of affordable housing before they even consider that the average rates on a two-year fixed deal at 90% and 95% LTV sit at 5.99%.

“As fixed mortgage rates rise, borrowers may wish to wait and see whether these rates will come back down in the weeks to come, but they must keep in mind that there is still an incentive to switch away from a Standard Variable Rate (SVR). All eyes are on the Monetary Policy Committee and their future rate setting, in conjunction with the swap rate market, as to whether mortgage rates will come down this year. Borrowers would be wise to seek advice if they are looking for a new deal, particularly as the shelf life of a product remains so unpredictable.”

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