As competition in the mortgage markets hots up again, banking giant Barclays became the latest player to step up today with the announcement of new “zero fee” deals on 90 per cent loan-to-value (LTV) mortgages.

Woolwich is the mortgage arm of Barclays, and this will be offering a three-year fixed deal to customers who can rustle up a 10 per cent deposit with no fee and interest rates pegged at just 4.99 per cent. The new range of mortgages also includes a 90 per cent LTV “loyalty” mortgage for Barclays account holders, with no fee and a fixed rate of 5.49 per cent. Non-account holders will have to pay a £499 fee for the same deal.

All the mortgage deals in the range revert to lifetime tracker interest rates of 3.39 per cent following the end of the five-year fixed-rate period.

The move by Barclays is being seen as good news for the many potential first-time buyers who are currently struggling to get on the property ladder and is a welcome addition to the small but growing number of lenders who are taking advantage of the Bank of England’s decision to maintain the base rate of interest at its historic 0.5 per cent low.

A Moneyfacts spokeswoman said: “Any additional maximum 90 per cent LTV introduced to the market is good news for customer choice, as higher loan-to-value mortgages have tended to be few and far between, and expensive.”

Moneyfacts recently revealed that while there were only 206 90-per-cent LTV mortgages available on the market at this time last year, the latest research identifies some 256 around nowadays. In 2009 the figure was even worse, with only 101 90-per-cent LTV mortgages available.

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