Mortgage lenders are offering new products to people struggling to borrow money because of climbing interest rates, which the Bank of England recently raised for the 12th consecutive time, to 4.5%.
People with mortgages tied to this base rate are now paying hundreds more a month and first-time buyers are struggling to get a deal at all.
As a result, banks and building societies are offering deals for first-time buyers without a deposit – or people trying to renew their mortgage.
Here is a look at five new products lenders are offering, and whether they might catch on.
You can apply for a new deposit-free deal through Skipton, the UK’s fourth largest building society. It is available for the same amount as you currently pay in rent and unlike other 100% mortgages, it doesn’t need a guarantor.
But when the BBC went to the North Yorkshire market town the building society is named after, not everyone was sold on the idea.
Holly Wardman lives in the nearby village of Carleton, where rent is cheaper, and put her £625-a-month rent into the company’s affordability calculator.
“It said I could borrow just over £116,000, there’s no way I’m going to get anywhere in Skipton for that money,” the 24-year-old teacher told the BBC.
Chris Sykes, technical director at mortgage broker Private Finance, said: “The deal won’t help everyone, but will maybe allow some people to get on the property ladder.”
If you have parents to turn to there are deals that allow them to help, said David Hollingworth, associate director at L&C Mortgages. For example, the Barclays Family Springboard mortgage uses your family or friends’ savings to get your own no-deposit mortgage and pay them back with interest.
Smaller lenders like Buckinghamshire, Loughborough and Tipton have similar schemes. “But these require additional collateral like cash or equity in the parental home,” Mr Hollingworth said.
The idea that other lenders could follow Skipton in offering zero-deposit mortgages may not be welcomed by everyone – riskier mortgages with a high loan-to-value ratio were a cause of the 2008 financial crash. But mortgage expert Andrew Montlake said it could work if the loans were “underwritten sensibly”.
Removing the stress test
Lenders want to know that you can afford your mortgage in the future even if interest rates rise – this is known as the stress test.
Many potential first-time buyers are being turned down for this reason. But a long-term fixed-rate mortgage reduces the risk to lenders and can therefore help buyers get on the ladder.
Kensington Mortgages, which was taken over by Barclays in March, has a 40-year deal, the longest currently on offer.
Mr Sykes at Private Finance said: “I would love to see more similar products in the future. More in the market would encourage competition and lower rates.”
But Mr Hollingworth at L&C Mortgages warned that rates can be high at the moment so locking in for a long time “won’t be for everyone”.
Zero-interest loans for green improvements
While mortgage rates have been climbing, so have energy bills – although the amount households pay for gas and electricity is due to drop in July with a new price cap.
If you are looking to make your home more energy efficient to save on bills, there are a range of interesting offers from lenders to encourage you.
From 1 June, Nationwide building society will offer a 0% loan to existing mortgage customers wanting to spend up to £15,000 on energy-efficient home improvements such as solar panels, window upgrades or an electric car charging point.
Other lenders may follow suit, said Mark Harris, chief executive of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients.
Too old to borrow?
Some older people looking to renew or take out their first mortgage are being turned away by lenders because the length of time they have to pay back is too short.
Some lenders have become more flexible about age limits, with deals available for borrowers often until they reach 80.
“It has been an opportunity for niche lenders to enhance their criteria around older borrowers and take other factors into account, such as rental income or pensions,” said Mr Sykes.
Smaller building societies around the country – such as Hinckley & Rugby, Tipton, and Teachers – have been particularly open to older borrowers, as long as they pass their usual affordability tests.
Overpaying to reduce overall cost
If you’re in the fortunate position to be able to overpay on your mortgage you could save thousands on the overall cost.
For instance, with a £350,000 loan you could normally overpay up to 10% a year – up to £35,000 – saving you roughly £1,600 a year on a 4.5% mortgage.
You would usually be charged a redemption penalty for repaying more than 10% of the loan, which can make it unwise – but NatWest Bank has doubled the amount it allows borrowers to overpay, to 20%, which means savings can be even higher.
“It’s a good innovation which we hope to see other lenders follow,” said Mr Sykes.