Lowest-ever fixed rate mortgage no good for first time buyers

HSBC launches lowest ever five-year fixed rate mortgage that only the few can afford.

HSBC (LSE: HSBA.L - news) launches lowest ever five-year fixed rate mortgage that only the few can afford.

The lowest five-year fixed rate mortgage ever seen in Britain is being launched today by HSBC, one of the biggest banks in the world.

HSBC is charging just 2.99pc for a five-year fixed rate mortgage and 3.99pc for a seven-year fixed rate mortgage.

But they are only available to borrowers with a 40pc deposit ruling out most first time buyers. The £1,499 arrangement fee also ensures that this is a home loan for those remortgaging, who have built up sufficient equity in their properties.

"This great rate won’t be available to all in fact with a 60pc loan to value and with a pretty hefty arrangement fee, this mortgage could still be out of reach for many," said Michael Ossei, personal finance expert at uSwitch.com.

"First (OTC BB: FSTC.OB - news) time buyers especially may struggle. But with such a low rate, and the ability to fix for five or even seven years, we may see a sharp fall in people choosing a tracker mortgage."

Ray Boulger, a director of John Charcol said that even if you could afford to stump up the cash you may find you do not meet HSBC's tight lending criteria: “Our experience is that HSBC are even more picky than other major lenders, and slow as well, when is comes to assessing mortgage applications.

“We have had several situations where perfectly creditworthy clients have come to us after being rejected by HSBC and we have been able to obtain a perfectly satisfactory alternative mortgage for them, albeit often at a rate slightly higher than HSBC’s."

The HSBC mortgage is considerably cheaper than its competitors, Nottingham Building Society is the current lowest rate at 3.69pc with a £1,499 fee but to 75pc loan to value.

Industry experts predicted that the launch would spark a slew of new products as mortgage providers rushed to cut rates to compete with the HSBC offering. Peter Dockar of HSBC said: “Every borrower has different needs from their mortgage. We recognise that many are looking for certainty with their mortgage payments over the longer term.

“This is the lowest ever five-year fixed rate to come to the market and with the security of our retail deposit funding we are committed to offering competitive rates to benefit our customers with what is for many, their largest monthly commitment.”