Best first-time buyer mortgages available right now - September 2023

It’s important to find the best first-time buyer mortgage to suit your needs if you're trying to get on the property ladder

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 It has also been fact checked and any out of date information removed.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 the best first-time buyer mortgage can feel really daunting, especially when there has been such much turmoil in the mortgage market over the last few months.

But despite that turbulence, there are still plenty of mortgages available for first-time buyers with small deposits (or even no deposit at all) and for those who need help paying mortgage fees. 

Interest rates rose throughout 2022 to combat rising inflation and this is forecast to continue in 2023. The Bank of England already increased the base rate multiple times in 2023 and it now sits at 5.25%.

Exterior of brick house

(Image credit: Future PLC )

Some mortgage products were removed from the market when interest rates were hiked, as lenders were unsure how high they would go. David Hollingworth of L&C Mortgages says: ‘Most lenders are still offering mortgage deals to those with small deposits so there is still a good range of choice. The government has extended its 95% mortgage guarantee to lenders, that was due to end in December, for another year which gives lenders more confidence to lend to first-time buyers.

‘Since mortgage rates increased, however, some lenders’ credit scoring and criteria has become stricter. That doesn’t mean first-time buyers will be refused a loan but they may need a higher credit score than they would have previously to be offered certain loan amounts.’

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. It’s also 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 September 2023

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.   


For borrowers with a larger deposit


Rate: 5.99%
Type: fixed
Duration: two years
Minimum deposit: 20%
Mortgage fee: £999

Early repayment charges apply. Free valuation. £250 cashback. Only available through a broker. 

A rate of 6.34% is available for a £0 mortgage fee. 



Rate: 5.49%
Type: discount
Duration: two years
Minimum deposit: 20%
Mortgage fee: £999

A booking fee of £199 is payable on application. Free valuation. Early repayment charges apply but are lower than standard penalties. Borrowers pay a 1% penalty in years one and two. 

A discount of 3.2% has been applied to the lender’s standard variable rate of 8.69%. This rate is variable which means it can rise and fall during the term of the deal, influenced by the direction of the Bank of England base rate. 



Rate: 5.64%
Type: tracker
Duration: two years
Minimum deposit: 20%
Mortgage fee: £999

Free valuation. This deal is only available through a mortgage broker. There are no early repayment charges so if you want to switch to a different deal before the two-year term expires there are no penalties. This is a handy feature to use if the base rate continues to rise, because tracker mortgages are directly linked to it. This deal tracks the base rate, by 0.39%. 



Rate: 6.14%
Type: fixed
Duration: two years
Minimum deposit: 10%
Mortgage fee: £1,295

 Free valuation. Early repayment charges apply. This deal is only available to borrowers using a mortgage broker, not those who speak directly with the bank. The maximum loan is capped at £540,000 which is lower than usual. 

Virgin Money has one of the highest standard variable rates among high street banks at 9.49%. When your fixed term ends, this is the rate you’ll pay unless you have arranged a remortgage to start as soon as your fixed rate ends. You can start to arrange your remortgage up to six months before your deal ends. 



Rate: 6.39%
Type: fixed
Duration: two years
Minimum deposit: 5%
Mortgage fee: £1,495

Free valuation and early repayment charges apply.

Borrowers should take advice from a mortgage broker before buying a property with a 5% deposit. House prices are forecast to fall by 5% this year which could mean you end up in negative equity, where the value of your mortgage is worth more than your property. You can offset the risk of house prices falling by discounting the offer you make to the seller.

Should first time buyers choose a fixed-rate mortgage?

Even though inflation dropped to 6.8% in the 12 months to July, 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, but some variable rates may be cheaper. 

Chris Sykes, technical director, Private Finance, says: 'First-time buyers should bear in mind there are talks that property prices may fall, so if you're buying a home with a 5% deposit at the moment I would generally recommend that borrowers choose a five-year fixed rate. This allows for a recovery in house prices if there has been a reduction in property values over the short term and means more of the mortgage will have been paid by the time you come to remortgage. This gives you a better chance of avoiding ending up in negative equity and being stuck on a high interest rate.'

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