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Michelle Monck

Michelle Monck

Consumer Finance Expert
Published: 04/02/2021

The choice of mortgages for those needing a 90% loan-to-value (LTV) mortgage has improved in 2021 compared to the start of the pandemic, reaching 248 in February 2021. The number has grown every month for four months but is some distance from the pre-pandemic levels in 2019 of more than 700 products available every month.

Borrowers will also find the average rates for 90% LTV mortgages are also improving, with two and five-year fixed rates both falling in February. The average 90% LTV mortgage rate is now 3.56% for a two year and 3.72% for a five year fixed deal. This is good news for borrowers, but average rates still have a way to go to reach their pre-pandemic 2020 lows of 2.57% and 2.91% for two and five year fixed rates respectively.

Rising unemployment and the impact of lockdowns on the economy made lenders more cautious during 2020. The result was a reduction in the number of mortgages available, especially at higher LTVs, while mortgage rates increased.
These shifts in interest rates and the availability of mortgages suggest a modest increase in confidence at the start of 2021. The housing market was given a boost by the stamp duty holiday during 2020, but mortgage availability and rates have taken longer to recover. There is still has some way to go to return to levels seen early 2020 and it is likely lenders will continue to carefully manage their lending through the year.

Kathy Bowes, mortgage manager at The Cambridge, comments: “The housing market has remained reassuringly buoyant and busy, while this is great for us and our intermediary partners, we recognise it makes it more difficult for people to get on the housing ladder. Our enhanced range for those who have a 10% deposit is yet another way The Cambridge are striving to support both first-time buyers and those looking to move.”

Building societies offer lowest rates for first-time buyers

There is hope though for those with a 10% deposit, as in the past week, six building societies and four banks launched new or reduced rates on 90% LTV mortgages. All these new mortgages are available to first-time buyers and do not place any restrictions on where borrowers need to live.

Building societies offer the lowest rates available for first-time buyers both fixed and variable and they provide just over half of all the 90% LTV mortgages available right now.
The new mortgages launched by building societies this week were from Cambridge Building Society, Ipswich Building Society, Leek Building Society, The Melton Building Society, Saffron Building Society and West Brom Building Society.

Laura Bright, Senior Product Manager at Saffron Building Society explains how they are helping first-time buyers:

"As a mutual, we are constantly reviewing our products to make sure we can serve the community, especially in these uncertain times. We have recently waived the arrangement fee and are offering free valuation on our first time buyer products, to help relieve some of the financial pressure for the borrower. Additionally, with a manual underwriting process, we can assess each case on its individual merits to allow us to help as many first time buyers as possible."

The banks making changes this week to bring better deals and choice to those at 90% LTV were Halifax, Lloyds Bank, Metro Bank and Santander.

The best 90% LTV first-time buyer mortgage rates


Initial rate



Cambridge Building Society

2.89% variable (2.00% discount on the revert rate of 4.89%)

Two years


Hinckley & Rugby Building Society

3.09% variable (2.80% discount on the revert rate of 5.89%)

Two years


Cumberland Building Society

3.11% variable (0.98% discount on the revert rate of 4.09%)

Two years


Borrowers preferring to fix their mortgage interest rate can also find the lowest rate from Nationwide Building Society at 3.24% for a two-year period. This is the lowest rate for borrowers that want to deal directly with the mortgage lender.

Compare 90% LTV mortgage rates and find out more about first-time buyer mortgages.


Information is correct as of the date of publication (shown at the top of this article). Any products featured may be withdrawn by their provider or changed at any time. Links to third parties on this page are paid for by the third party. You can find out more about the individual products by visiting their site. will receive a small payment if you use their services after you click through to their site. All information is subject to change without notice. Please check all terms before making any decisions. This information is intended solely to provide guidance and is not financial advice. Moneyfacts will not be liable for any loss arising from your use or reliance on this information. If you are in any doubt, Moneyfacts recommends you obtain independent financial advice.

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