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Fixed mortgage fees have climbed over past year, website finds

The average fixed-rate mortgage fee has increased, while a shrinking proportion of deals are offering perks such as free legal fees or cashback, according to a financial information website.

Moneyfactcompare.co.uk found that the average product fee currently charged on a fixed-rate mortgage, excluding no-fee products, has increased by £46 since March 2023, to stand at £1,141.

The website found that just over a third (35%) of fixed-rate deals do not charge a product fee, down from 43% at the start of March last year.

The proportion of fixed-rate mortgage deals on the market offering a free or refunded valuation has fallen to 73%, from 75% at the start of March 2023.

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The percentage of fixed-rate mortgage deals with free or refunded legal fees has edged down to 44%, from 45% a year earlier.

A quarter (25%) of fixed-rate mortgages come with cashback, down from just over a third (34%) in March 2023.

However, while the proportions of fixed-rate mortgages on the market offering certain perks have decreased over the past year, the number of fixed-rate mortgages available generally has increased. This general increase in the number of deals available has meant that the number of deals offering perks has increased.

So, for example, while the percentage of fixed-rate mortgages on the market with no product fee has decreased, the number of mortgages with no product fee has increased, from 1,551 at the start of March 2023 (representing 43% of the fixed-rate market at that time), to 1,845 (representing 35% of the current market).

Rachel Springall, a finance expert at Moneyfactscompare.co.uk, said: “Borrowers concerned about rising fixed mortgage rates would be wise not to rush when comparing deals and ensure they consider the overall true cost package, as the average mortgage fee has crept up.

“There is an abundance of deals to suit different needs, some may be headline-grabbing rates, but these can also charge a high up-front fee.”

She continued: “Those borrowers looking to remortgage right now will find some of the lowest rates will cost them more than £1,000 in a product fee, but a mortgage with a slightly higher initial fixed rate and lower product fee could be a better package, based on true cost.

“Mortgage interest rates remain volatile, and this may well be the case for the next few weeks. However, even if borrowers lock into a rate that’s slightly higher than what may have been available a few weeks ago, borrowers could still get an attractive package by finding a deal that has some cost-saving incentives, a reasonable product fee, or no fee, and maybe even cashback.”

Ms Springall added: “First-time buyers might need to save on the upfront cost of their deal or opt for a mortgage that comes with a bundle of incentives, such as cashback. These packages may be more suitable if new buyers have exhausted all their savings on a deposit, removal and furnishing costs.”