MORTGAGE RATES HIT RECORD LOWS

New research shows that mortgage rates for two and three-year fixed rate deals fell to record lows in February, with borrowers accessing the largest number of products since 2008. The average two-year fixed rate mortgage fell to 2.54% in February, down from 2.56% in January. While the average three-year fixed rate mortgage fell to 2.92%, down from 3.01% the previous month, according to analysis of data compiled by the Mortgage Advice Bureau. The average five-year fixed rate deal also declined, from 3.27% in January to 3.25%, edging towards August 2015’s record low of 3.24%. Meanwhile, figures from the Bank of England show the number of mortgage approvals fell for the first time in five months in February but remained close to the two-year high of January. The BoE revealed that approvals for house purchases dropped to 73,871 after reaching 74,085 in January. "The start of the year has seen a sustained momentum in house purchase lending, fuelled by the force of buy-to-let lending. February in particular saw a surge of buy-to-let activity as a result of the race to beat stamp duty changes," said Richard Sexton, director of e.surv.