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Halifax mortgage rate cuts are a 'massive curveball' in the market

Halifax mortgage rate cuts are a 'massive curveball' in the market
Matt Browning
Written By:
Matt Browning

Halifax has announced it will drop mortgage rates across a range of products, going against the grain of its lending rivals.

After a wave of providers including HSBC, Santander, and TSB introduced price increases, the lender, owned by Lloyds Banking Group, will do the opposite.

Halifax said it is reducing rates on selected fixed-rate products including its first-time buyer, large loans, new build, and affordable housing ranges.

It will also do the same on its remortgage prices which include greener home products and shared ownership deals.

The prices have not yet been listed, but the lender confirmed the rates will be effective from 23 February. Following the news, industry experts have speculated on News Page as to what this alternative approach to pricing means.

Ranald Mitchell, director at Charwin Private Clients, wrote that after high-street lenders continually upped rates, Halifax has “delivered a massive mortgage curveball”.

Mitchell added: “Uncertainty continues to grip the UK housing market as mortgage rates fluctuate. In a tumultuous turn of events, the UK housing market finds itself ensnared in a whirlwind of uncertainty as mortgage rates continue to oscillate unpredictably.”

“This unexpected move has left consumers and industry professionals alike in a state of disarray, grappling with the perplexing question of what direction the market will take next.”

‘Mortgage wars’ appeared to be over… but are they?

Last year, lenders battled it out for over six months with continued rate decreases, and it seemed the latest marking-up by lenders meant the ‘mortgage wars’ were finally over.

Gary Boakes, director at Verve Financial, praised the intent of Halifax. He said: “Opportunity knocks, with Halifax clearly seeing the current climate as a great opportunity to increase their market share. With other lenders increasing rates today and this week, this is a great response and fantastic publicity.

“Even if the rates are just 0.1% lower, the extra business and positive news will be worth the potential cut in their margins. A tactical move timed perfectly. Well done Halifax.”

Halifax rate cuts ‘stick out like sore thumb’

However, not all industry commentators were full of praise for the move, including Craig Fish, director at Lodestone Mortgages and Protection. Fish said: “This move from Halifax stands out like a sore thumb, and shouts out loud that they need some business.”

“They haven’t been priced very well of late, and it’s those lenders that have hiked their rates that have been reaping the rewards of their pricing strategy and winning all the business. Now, it’s all eyes on Halifax and exactly what rates they will have on offer.”

The Mortgage Stop’s Rohit Kohli summarised the move as “underpinning how unstable and unpredictable the UK mortgage market is at the moment.”