How Long Should You Fix Your Mortgage For?
How long should you commit to a mortgage term? Get expert guidance on 2, 3, and 5-year fixed rate options to find the best choice for you
Firstly, do you know how long you'd like to fix your mortgage for?
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In this article, we’ll explain how long you can get a fixed-rate mortgage for, what the benefits are for each term and how a mortgage broker can help you secure the best deal that’s right for your own circumstances.
In this article:
- How long can you fix yourself into a mortgage for?
- Mortgage Lenders for fixed-rate deals
- How long should you fix yourself into a mortgage for?
- How to choose the right fixed-rate mortgage
- Are your circumstances likely to change?
- What is the Bank of England’s interest rates outlook?
- Do you prefer consistency or flexibility?
How long can you fix yourself into a mortgage for?
Fixed-rate mortgages traditionally come with two-year, three-year, and five-year introductory rate periods where the interest rate will not change until after this timeframe. While these are the three most common fixed-rate periods, mortgage deals with longer fixes are available.
It’s possible to get a 10-year fixed-rate mortgage from some UK mortgage providers, and a minority go even higher than this for borrowers who like long-term consistency.
Mortgage lenders for fixed-rate deals
The table below outlines some of the best fixed-rate deals currently available from mortgage lenders.
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Last updated December 2023
The rates quoted above were correct at the time of writing and are subject to change at any time at the lender’s discretion. Speaking to a mortgage broker is the best way to keep track of the rates available at any given time.
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How long should you fix yourself into a mortgage for?
The answer to this depends on a number of factors but we can help you decide what kind of deal to choose by outlining the benefits of longer fixes compared to shorter ones, and explaining why people typically choose one type of fixed-rate mortgage over another.
Advantages of a longer fixed rate:
Fixing yourself into a mortgage for five years or more comes with the following advantages…
- You’d be protected from interest rate rises for a lengthy period
- Longer-term consistency and peace of mind
Although the list of benefits is relatively small, longer-term fixed-rate mortgages can potentially be a great option for people who have no plans to move house or remortgage in the foreseeable future. If your circumstances are unlikely to change and there’s a very favourable interest rate available, it’s usually worth considering locking yourself into it for as long as possible.
You can exit a fixed-rate mortgage early, but this usually means paying early repayment charges (ERCs). The longer there is left in the introductory period, the higher these fees usually are.
Advantages of a shorter fixed rate:
People typically choose two-to-three-year fixed-rate mortgages for the following reasons…
- You’d have the flexibility to move house sooner
- You can remortgage sooner if you want to switch to a new deal
- Interest rates are typically lower than on longer fixes
- Fees could be lower if you want to exit the deal early
People generally choose shorter-term fixes to keep their options open. You’d have the flexibility to move house in the near future or remortgage onto a new deal or a new product type, such as a tracker mortgage, with either your current mortgage provider or another lender.
Fixed-rate periods of two or three years can be a viable option for anyone who knows their needs and circumstances could change in the near future.
The main drawback of shorter fixes compared to longer ones is that you’d have more uncertainty in the longer term. There’s no way of knowing what kind of rates might be available in two to three years when your fixed rate expires, and there is usually a fee to pay to renew your mortgage after the introductory rates period has ended.
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How to choose the right fixed-rate mortgage
To choose the right fixed-rate mortgage, here are some questions you should consider…
Are your circumstances likely to change?
Perhaps you have plans to start a family in the next couple of years and will need to move to a larger property as a result. If that’s the case, you might want to consider fixing your mortgage for a shorter period so you’ve got the option to move in the not-too-distant future.
What is the Bank of England’s interest rates outlook?
It’s worth researching what experts are forecasting for the Bank of England base rate in the future. While this is not an absolute science, during times of economic uncertainty, some people like peace of mind and choose longer fixed-rate deals to safeguard themselves against a sudden rate shift or lock down a good deal that might soon disappear from the market.
On the flip side, if forecasts suggest that rates could drop, it might be worth keeping your options open with a shorter fix so you could potentially remortgage onto a better deal when the initial rates period ends or onto a different product type altogether, such as a tracker mortgage.
Do you prefer consistency or flexibility?
If consistency is what appeals to you most and your circumstances are unlikely to change, it might be worth exploring what kind of deals are available with five-year fixes or higher. But if you want the flexibility to sell your property or remortgage without having early repayment changes to foot, it’s obviously a better idea to research your shorter fixed-rate options.
Speak to a mortgage broker before you choose a fixed-rate mortgage
A mortgage broker will thoroughly assess your needs and circumstances and help you choose the ideal mortgage for you. If that happens to be a fixed rate, they will advise you about how long you should fix yourself in for, with every factor, including fees, considered.
Your broker will guide you through the application process, help you with any paperwork along the way, and introduce you to the lender who’s best placed to offer you a great deal.
Call 0808 189 2301 or make an enquiry online and we’ll set up a free, no-obligation chat between you and a mortgage broker we work with today.
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Key takeaways from this guide
Choosing the right fixed rate is important:It’s essential to think about your needs and circumstances before deciding how long to lock yourself in for. There’s no point fixing yourself into a deal for five years if you’re planning to move in two, for example.
A broker can help you choose the right fixed rate:A mortgage advisor who specialises in fixed-rate deals can assess all of your requirements and match them with a mortgage that’s absolutely perfect for you. What’s more, they will introduce you to the right lender, make sure you get the best rates and guide you through the application.
We can match you with the right broker:Ideally, you’ll want a mortgage broker who specialises in helping customers just like you, and that’s exactly what our free broker-matching service will provide. We can pair you with a mortgage advisor who specialises in fixed-rate mortgages and helps customers like you every day.
Speak to a fixed rate mortgage expert
Maximise your chance of approval with a dedicated specialist broker
Yes. You can usually overpay by up to 10% of your outstanding mortgage balance each year while in the introductory rates period of a fixed-rate agreement without incurring any early repayment fees. Once you’ve reverted to your lender’s standard variable rate (SVR), you can overpay by as much as you want, but keep in mind that SVRs usually come with higher interest rates than fixed rates.
The longest fixed-rate mortgage currently available in the UK comes with an initial rate period spanning 40 years. Rates on this product depend on how much deposit you put down, but it comes with no early repayment charges, allowing you to overpay or remortgage at any time.
In August 2022, it was announced that a new lender has been granted regulatory permission to launch 50-year fixed-rate mortgages to help safeguard borrowers from rising inflation.
Lenders including Barclays, Virgin Money, Halifax and First Direct offer mortgages with fixed interest rates periods spanning 10 years or longer. If you think a longer-term fix is the best option for you, it is advisable to speak with an independent mortgage broker before contacting one of these lenders.
There are many other lenders offering long-term fixed deals, so it’s important to check the whole market rather than limiting yourself to one set of mortgage products.
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