HSBC and NatWest have announced a fresh round of mortgage rate cuts and Britain’s remaining large lenders are expected to follow suit in a move that will ease some of the pressure on hard-pressed Britons.
HSBC said it was cutting rates across many of its new fixed products – including some of its first-time buyer, home mover and remortgage deals – with effect from Tuesday, when full details of the reductions will be published.
Fellow high street lender NatWest said it would also be cutting rates from Tuesday.
The latest reductions will improve conditions for homebuyers and those looking to remortgage on to a new deal.
NatWest announced reductions of up to 0.35 percentage points on selected fixed deals. A five-year fixed rate deal aimed at homebuyers with a 5% deposit that is currently priced at 6.39% will result in its rate being cut to 6.04% at the bank.
Mortgage costs had been rising relentlessly for months but UK lenders have been reducing their rates since the second half of July after it emerged that UK inflation fell further than expected in June, prompting speculation that the Bank of England would not raise interest rates by as much as previously expected. The Bank’s base rate is 5.25% after an increase from 5% in August.
Nicholas Mendes, a mortgage technical manager at the broker John Charcol, said HSBC had “laid down the gauntlet and shown they mean business … This is their second rate reduction in a week, along with criteria changes which extend terms to 40 years.”
Accord Mortgages, part of Yorkshire Building Society, also said that all of its fixed rates were being cut by 0.20 percentage points from Tuesday.
Last week, Nationwide Building Society reduced some of its fixed and tracker rates by up to 0.15 percentage points.
Stephen Perkins, the managing director of the broker firm Yellow Brick Mortgages, said: “All these rate reductions are starting to feel like an avalanche … No doubt there will be more of these reductions over the week, as all lenders follow in a conga line.”
Lewis Shaw, the owner of the broker Shaw Financial Services, said that with NatWest following hot on the heels of HSBC, “There’s every chance we could see the remaining big four [Lloyds Banking Group, Barclays, Nationwide and Santander] come to the party this week, too.
“It would appear that lenders are struggling to get new business, and the rate tap is the only tool they can turn to.”