Best first-time buyer mortgages available right now - May 2024

If you’re buying a property for the first time, getting the best first-time buyer mortgage that’s right for your circumstances is crucial

illustration of house keys on a pink background
(Image credit: Future PLC)
Recent updates

This article has been updated to show the latest mortgage products available and to reflect the latest Bank of England base rate and inflation announcements. It has also been fact checked and any out of date information removed.

Finding your first mortgage can be a challenge particularly when mortgage lenders keep changing the cost of their deals sometimes at short notice.

Thankfully, the mortgage market has calmed down for the time being. 

Rates have stabilised, with some small price rises, and there are still plenty of mortgages available for first-time buyers with a range of needs from low or no deposit, those in need of family assistance or borrowers looking for fee-free options.

Interest rates rose throughout 2023 to combat rising inflation. While things are levelling out in 2024, it is still expected that mortgage rates will continue at current rates. The Bank of England increased the base rate multiple times in 2023 and it now sits at 5.25%.

Adrian Anderson, director of mortgage broker Anderson Harris, says: ‘Rates on first-time buyer deals have come down a little in the first quarter of the year but we have seen a few banks increasing rates again recently. They are currently sitting at a slightly lower level than they were at the end of 2023. 

‘I think we will be seeing rates stay higher for slightly longer than anticipated but I do not think that we will be seeing big increases.’ 

Exterior of brick house

(Image credit: Future PLC)

So if you’re looking to buy a house for the first time, it pays to do your research. Some mortgages have special rules exclusively for first-time buyers to make it easier to get on the ladder. Others offer a lower rate in exchange for a higher fee, while some banks give borrowers cash or a free valuation as an incentive. 

If you only have a small deposit, there’s help for you too. 

Nicholas Mendes of broker John Charcol says: ‘There are a range of schemes currently available which mean you can secure a property with a 5% deposit, however, there are several factors to consider before opting for a 95% mortgage. 

‘Lenders typically charge higher interest rates when you have a small deposit. This means you may end up paying more in interest over the life of the loan compared to a mortgage with a larger deposit. It's crucial to ensure that the monthly mortgage payments are affordable. Consider your income, expenses, and potential future changes in circumstances.’

The pool of lenders tends to reduce when you have a small deposit and may only be available to those with a clean credit history.

It’s a good idea to make yourself as attractive a borrower as possible - if you’re not sure where to start, here’s how to boost your chances of mortgage approval

Best first-time buyer mortgages May 2024

Rates are subject to change, but were correct at the time of writing. These options are for illustrative purposes only, speak to your lender or a mortgage broker to find the best mortgage deal for your circumstances.   

NATWEST FIVE-YEAR FIX AT 75% LTV

Specifications

Rate: 4.52%
Type: fixed
Duration: five years
Minimum deposit: 25%
Mortgage fee: £1,495

Early repayment charges apply. No valuation costs. Only available through a mortgage broker. NatWest’s two-year alternative is  

Two other fee options are available: 4.57% with a £995 fee and 4.72% with no arrangement fee.

Five-year fixed rates are currently cheaper than two-year fixes because rates are expected to fall during the term of the mortgage deal. Some borrowers may need to opt for the cheapest rate now to fit their budget. Speak to a broker before locking into a five-year – it is expensive to leave early. 

NATIONWIDE TWO-YEAR FIX WITH CASH BACK

Specifications

Rate: 4.84%
Type: fixed
Duration: two years
Minimum deposit: 25%
Mortgage fee: £1,499

Early repayment charges apply. No valuation costs. The deal comes with £500 cash back. This deal is only available through a mortgage broker. Borrowers must be taking out a mortgage of at least £300,000 to qualify.

PENRITH BUILDING SOCIETY 10% DEPOSIT MORTGAGE

Specifications

Rate: 5.19%
Type: fixed
Duration: two years
Minimum deposit: 10%
Mortgage fee: £0

Free valuation. Only available through a mortgage broker. Early repayment charges apply. A maximum loan cap of £500,000 applies. 

MONMOUTHSHIRE BUILDING SOCIETY FIXED DEAL AT 95%

Specifications

Rate: 4.90%
Type: fixed
Duration: two years
Minimum deposit: 5%
Mortgage fee: £999

Early repayment charges apply and free valuation. But it is only available through a mortgage broker. A £150 booking fee applies, and borrowers are restricted to a maximum loan of £500,000. 

The lender offers a rate of 5% fixed for five years under the same terms.

ACCORD 1% DEPOSIT DEAL

FOR LOW DEPOSIT BORROWERS

Specifications

Rate: 6.39%
Type: fixed
Duration: five years
Minimum deposit: 1 %
Mortgage fee: £0

First-time buyers must put down a minimum deposit of £5,000. Flats, new-build properties and homes in Northern Ireland are excluded. The maximum mortgage offered is £495,000. Free valuation and early repayment charges apply. 


Should first time buyers choose a fixed-rate mortgage?

Even though inflation dropped to 4% in the 12 months to January, household budgets are still under pressure so the type of mortgage you choose will depend on multiple factors. Whether you prefer a fixed or variable rate depends on your financial position and your attitude towards the risk of rising interest rates.   

Fixed-rate mortgages, give borrowers certainty over their monthly budget for a period of time. The most common periods you can fix your mortgage rate for are two or five years. You can also fix for three, seven and 10 years but, lacking in popularity, they are not as widely available. 

Variable rates can sometimes be cheaper but borrowers must have room in their budgets for an increase in their monthly mortgage payment if interest rates do rise within the term of their deal.  

Not sure how much you'll be able to borrow? Use our mortgage calculator as a guide.

How to find the best first-time buyer mortgage rates

You can search online for the best first-time buyer mortgage rates using a price comparison website. By submitting basic details such as your annual salary, credit commitments and the value of your deposit you’ll find out how much you can spend on a house and which lenders are offering the cheapest deals.

You can also use an online mortgage broker. After completing an online questionnaire and a credit check you’ll be sent a list of mortgage deals with the cheapest rates tailored to your circumstances.

Or you can ask a traditional mortgage broker to search for the best deals on your behalf. After a phone call or face-to-face interview, they will select the best deals for your circumstances rather than just the lowest rates.

Exterior of brick house

(Image credit: Future PLC / James French)

What kind of first-time buyer mortgage could I get?

Banks and building societies typically offer first-time buyers a mortgage that is between 4.49 and 4.75 times their annual salary. Some lenders will offer up to 5.5 times salary for first-time buyers with larger deposits or higher salaries.

Lenders also offer a range of low or no deposit deals, fee-free options, cashback incentives and mortgage terms of up to 40 years if you want to keep your monthly repayments low. 

There are also lots of mortgages designed to specifically help first-time buyers or those struggling to raise a deposit or pass affordability checks.

Family assist mortgages

Barclays, Lloyds and Halifax offer options where parents can deposit savings with their mortgage lender for a fixed term, usually in line with the term of the fixed rate. By doing so the first-time buyer can put down little to no deposit. At the end of the fixed term, if the first-time buyer is up to date with their payments, the parents get their savings back with interest.

Joint borrower sole proprietor

Some mortgage lenders also allow parents to join their children on the mortgage application to boost their income if they are still working or have sufficient retirement income. By doing so, parents are agreeing to pay the mortgage if their children cannot but they do not own the property.

First Homes Scheme

This is a government scheme which involves the building of new homes specifically to be sold at a discount of at least 30% (can be increased up to 50% by the local council).

This scheme is only available to first-time buyers. Priority is also given to serving members of the armed forces and key workers.

Shared Ownership

Under the shared ownership scheme, a first-time buyer can purchase a share of the property and pay rent on the remaining share. A deposit is still required and the first-time buyer must be able to afford the mortgage and rent but it can be a good way to buy your first property as you don’t have to find the money for the full property value.

Samantha Partington is a personal finance journalist specialising in mortgages and the property market.

Over the past nine years, Samantha has worked for the Daily Mail, trade website Mortgage Solutions and business title Property Week. She regularly writes for national money pages including Money Mail and Sun Money and supports prop tech firms with content writing.

With contributions from