"Lenders are eager to attract longer term business which has created a competitive landscape for customers. "
Demand for five-year fixed rate remortgages has soared to make up 47% of the total remortgage market in April, according to LMS research.
This is a significant rise from the 36% recorded in March, and the 34% share seen in April 2017.
LMS has put increased demand down to more competitive offers from lenders. The average rate for five-year fixed remortgages only increased by 0.01% month-on-month to reach 2.91% in April – well below the increase in the average two-year fixed rate.
Average two-year fixed rates are now at their highest since September 2016.
The proportion of borrowers consulting an independent mortgage adviser or broker when remortgaging also hit a record high of 78% in April – increasing from 72% in March.
The proportion of remortgagors who expect a base rate rise this year has declined to 77% - the lowest level in seven months.
However, expectations of an increase in the base rate are still significantly higher than they were in April last year when only 46% of borrowers believed there would be a rate rise in the year ahead.
Nick Chadbourne, chief executive of LMS, said: “The popularity of five-year fixed rate deals rebounded in April, having dipped in the first three months of the year. Lenders are eager to attract longer term business which has created a competitive landscape for customers. This has ensured five-year average rates have remained relatively flat month-on-month. As more borrowers seek independent advice when remortgaging, the market is reacting quickly to the shifts in headline rates.
“Five-year fixed rate remortgages will always be popular when borrowers are seeking financial security. Many consumers are now opting for these deals to ensure they have certainty and stability through the potential economic and political upheaval of the next few years.
“After hints of a rate increase earlier in the year, sluggish economic growth discouraged the Bank of England from raising the base rate. Yet more than three quarters of borrowers still believe another base rate increase will happen at some point in the next twelve months. The surge in borrowers playing it safe by locking in longer term fixed-rates when remortgaging is understandable when the direction of the economy is so difficult to predict. Despite poor overall growth figures, unemployment and inflation are both falling – offering a very mixed, confusing economic landscape."