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What is a fixed rate mortgage?
It’s a mortgage where the interest rate is fixed for a set amount of time.
This means the amount you pay for your mortgage each month remains the same during the fixed rate period.
Fixed rate mortgages are suitable for:
Fixed rate terms typically last for between one and ten years, but you may be able to get one for up to 25 years. Most lenders will offer a range of fixed rates so you can choose the term that best fits your needs.
Fixed rate mortgages differ from variable rate mortgages, where the interest rate and your monthly repayment fluctuate throughout the mortgage term.
When your fixed rate mortgage ends, the lender will revert the mortgage to a Standard Variable Rate (SVR) unless you switch to a new mortgage loan.
How to choose the best fixed rate mortgage
You’ll need to decide the best fixed rate term for your needs, so several factors must be considered.
The stability of a long term fixed rate loan is good for budgeting, but if interest rates drop, you could be stuck on a higher interest rate, so consider your financial outlook and the likelihood of interest rates changing.
In the past, you’d typically pay a lower rate on a short fixed term and a higher rate if you want to fix it for longer, although due to recent interest rate rises from the European Central Bank, that isn’t necessarily the case currently.
The term that best matches your needs depends on factors such as:
What is the cheapest fixed rate?
Choosing the best mortgage for you isn’t as simple as picking the cheapest deal.
With cheaper, 1 or 2 year fixed rates you’ll need to factor in the costs associated with switching your mortgage because you’ll need to remortgage more often with a shorter fixed term loan.
However, if you opt for a longer fixed rate, if rates drop during your fixed period, you won’t be able to switch and take advantage of a cheaper rate while you’re tied in. This could have a more significant impact if you’re fixed into your rate for a long time.
How to get a fixed rate deal
Use our mortgage search to find the best rates and apply directly to the lender or via a mortgage broker.
Before you start your mortgage application, check you meet the lender’s eligibility criteria and find out how much you can borrow.
If you’re a first time buyer or switching your mortgage you’ll need to apply to the lender for a mortgage approval in principle.
To help get you started, find out what mortgage deposit you’ll need, how to prepare for a mortgage application and how to get a mortgage approval in principle in our Complete Guide to Mortgages.
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Fixed rate mortgage FAQs
Can I switch from a variable rate to a fixed rate mortgage?
Yes. You have no ties with a variable rate mortgage, so can switch whenever you like.
You’ll need to apply for the deal you want and carefully consider how long to fix for.
How long can I get a fixed rate mortgage for?
You can typically get a fixed rate mortgage for 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7 and 10 years, but some lenders may not offer this full range of terms. One lender is offering fixed rate mortgages for up to 25 years.
What happens when my fixed rate mortgage ends?
When the term ends, you’ll switch over to the lender’s standard variable rate, which is usually expensive.
You’re also free at this time to overpay as much as you like, redeem your mortgage, or switch lenders.
When can I switch from my fixed rate mortgage?
You can switch at any time, but if you switch before your fixed term ends you’ll have to pay an early repayment charge (ERC), which could be expensive. Check with your lender before switching.
Once your term has finished, you’ll switch to the lender’s standard variable rate (SVR), and can switch your mortgage without penalty.
What is the Indicative APRC (Annual Percentage Rate of Charge)?
Mortgage lenders are required to quote the Annual Percentage Rate of Charge (APRC) when advertising a borrowing rate.
The APRC shows you the total cost of a mortgage, including fees, over the entire period of the loan. Its purpose is to help you compare the true cost of borrowing.
For example, a 2 year fixed rate mortgage with an introductory rate of 1.99% and a booking fee of £999 that reverts to the lender’s standard variable rate (SVR) of 4.19% for the next 23 years ends up with an APRC of 3.7%.
The rate is indicative because it’s based on a typical mortgage of €100,000 over a 20 year term.