First time buyers across the UK are trying to beat the stamp duty deadline, which is now fast approaching. Many are finding themselves torn between holding out for higher loan-to-value (LTV) mortgages and buying property before the end of the stamp duty holiday which finishes on 25th March 2012.

First time buyers have been thrown a lifeline to get onto the property market with a number of banks offering lower deposit mortgages. HSBC, Yorkshire, Marsden and Hinckley & Rugby building societies have all announced mortgages with an LTV of 90% in the last two months.

For the last few years, banks and lenders have only offered between 75% and 85% LTV mortgages, at the very highest. These mortgages require a larger deposit, putting a huge financial strain on buyers to save cash within an economic climate which has seen pay freezes, job losses, record high rental prices and low returns on savings accounts.

This has driven a number of potential homeowners to the private rental sector and, with such high demand, landlords have been able to push up prices to alarming rates in some cases.