Reading headlines about house prices being on the up has become a fairly common pattern over the past decade or so.

If in recent years you have been eyeing up a step onto the property ladder, then seeing such headlines can be a little bit disgruntling.

Your parents might well have told you how easy it was back in their day. Cheers Mum and Dad, but times change and it’s not quite as simple as it once was!

Finding your way onto the property ladder is never plain sailing, with many hurdles to negotiate and funds to save up. Add to this working as a contractor or as a freelancer, as many of the people we work with are, and it can feel like the world is against you.

Two such hurdles are house prices and mortgage rates. Recent trends in both of these areas will be of interest to anybody looking to secure a mortgage in the near future.

What’s going on with house prices?

According to the latest Nationwide House Price Index, house prices have risen by 6.5% year-on-year. 

This puts the average house price in Britain at £229,721. This is the highest rate since 2015, and also signifies a 0.9% month-on-month increase.

The market has obviously seen some difficult factors affecting it of late, given the tumultuous events of the year so far. 

Factors such as the stamp duty holiday will continue to influence the market, but this is set to come to an end in March 2021. There is also the distinct possibility of a weakening labour market. With big name retailers already falling foul in the current economic climate and plenty of people made redundant during the COVID crisis, the labour market could well see a shaky period. That will naturally affect house prices. 

This means that while house prices have been on the up of late, whether this remains the case moving into 2021 will have to be seen. 

What about LTV rates?

Though the rise in house prices may strike potential first-time buyers as less-than-ideal news, the increase in availability of 90% LTV mortgages will be better received.

25 new deals for first-time buyers with a 90% loan-to-value rate were available within the UK market during November 2020 according to

This takes the total number of such offerings up to 81. This is the highest number available since June 2020, but such deals have become like gold dust since the pandemic started. Back in March 2020, there were 779 mortgage deals with 90% LTV available for buyers. This number dropped substantially over the course of the pandemic, reaching a low of just 51 deals in October 2020. 

But the slight rise offers hope for first-time buyers looking to secure such a deal now or in the near future. It can also be seen as indicative of an increasing confidence within the mortgage industry as it seeks to bounce back from a year to forget in many regards.

What does this mean for me?

If you are a first time buyer, then the growth in the number of 90% LTV mortgage rate offerings should provide grounds for optimism. 

The higher property prices are obviously less welcome, but as mentioned, this is likely to change in the coming months. So if you have managed to come through the pandemic still in reasonable shape with regards to getting a mortgage sorted, the market could well shift in your favour over the coming months.