More green shoots in the housing market

Those looking for a mortgage deal are likely to find significantly better offers now than this time last year. The best deal for a prospective first-time buyer is HSBC’s two year discounted mortgage, at 1.99 per cent – 0.5 per cent less than the same product in April 2009.   However this deal is only available up to a maximum of 60 per cent LTV and comes with a £999 fee. For those hoping to get a foot on the property ladder who have a smaller deposit, HSBC’s 4.49 per cent fee-free lifetime tracker is available up to 90 per cent LTV.

 Anyone planning to remortgage should find better value in ING Direct’s 2.49 per cent two-year tracker; last year, the best they could hope for – aside from HSBC’s deal – was five-year tracker from The Co-operative Bank at 2.79 per cent.

Hannah-Mercedes Skenfield, mortgage channel manager at moneysupermarket.com, said: "We saw an instant spike in activity amongst those looking to buy their first home in the week following the Chancellor’s announcement on stamp duty in the Budget and we did wonder whether this would be a kneejerk reaction that might not be sustained. However, we can clearly see from our numbers that momentum remains high, and this has spilled over into other homebuyer profiles. What’s more encouraging is that rates seem to be improving continually, so people looking for a mortgage should find themselves able to access some pretty good deals as we head towards summer.

"Anyone looking for a mortgage, whether it is to move home, remortgage or buy for the first time, it is essential you look around to make sure the deal is right for you. Although competition seems to be returning to the mortgage market, there are still products with low rates but high fees, and some of the best deals are only available to people who have a large deposit. It is important to compare the true cost of a mortgage as the lowest rate, will not necessarily be the cheapest product once you factor all fees and charges."

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