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Cheapest loans ever?

How low can mortgage interest rates go? The next six months will tell, and could provide even cheaper mortgages.

There may never be a cheaper time to buy a house, analysts have said after official figures showed mortgages rates have almost halved over the past year. A typical £200,000 mortgage is more than £100 a month less expensive than 12 months ago, according to Bank of England data. Costs are predicted to fall further over the next six months due to a price war, disclosed by the Telegraph last week.

Mortgage brokers believe that home owners may never again experience such cheap loan rates, with interest rates expected to rise in future. Today’s prices have never been bettered in modern times and given that a Bank Rate rise is inevitable at some point, it is unlikely they will be surpassed in the years ahead.

In the past year there had been a seismic shift in the price of two-year mortgages. Data from the Bank of England showed the average two-year variable rate had fallen from 2.76 per cent to 1.64 per cent for someone with a 25 per cent deposit. On a £200,000 loan, the monthly repayments would be £813 before fees, down from to £924.

Banks are also unveiling ever-cheaper fixed-rate deals which allow customers to lock into cheaper repayments, sometimes for as long as a decade.

For someone with a 25 per cent deposit, the average two-year loan rate has fallen from 2.37 per cent to 2.01 per cent.

The average five-year rate was down from 3.45 per cent to 3.09 per cent and the Bank of England noted a re-emergence of 10-year deals.

The Bank of England mortgage records stretch back 20 years to February 1995, when the average two-year loan cost 8.38 per cent – up to seven times as much as today's best deals.

Even though mortgage rates are at record lows, young people stepping on to the housing ladder today face much higher house prices than their parents and so may have to borrow more.

House prices rose slightly in January, catching off guard economists who predicted a slowdown ahead of the general election.

Figures calculated by Halifax showed a 2 per cent rise in prices between December and January, taking the average value across the UK to £193,130.

Charlie Wells, managing director of buying agency Prime Purchase, said the "bounceback" was due to the Chancellor's stamp duty reforms in December.

"With interest rates unlikely to rise this year, those reliant on a mortgage will find it is a good time to buy," he said. "This will particularly benefit first-time buyers and stretched young families trying to move up the housing ladder."

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