Five-year fix from Stroud & Swindon

The initial rate of 5.65 per cent is fixed for five years, and there is an early redemption penalty of five per cent of the outstanding balance if the loan is redeemed in full, or five per cent of the amount repaid if more than 25 per cent of the loan is repaid before 1 May 2005.

Andy Paddock, head of mortgage development at Stroud & Swindon, said: "With the market taking a view that interest rates could rise over this year, this fixed rate product gives borrowers the opportunity to guarantee themselves a very attractive mortgage rate. But five years is a long time, and both the general election and the possibility of our entry to the Euro within that timescale could lead to the base rate coming down again.

"No borrower can be sure how interest rates, or their own circumstances, might change. So while most of the temptingly-priced five-year rates tie borrowers in for at least five years, we have developed a competitive product wich allows for a change in circumstances after the first three years. And even within three years, borrowers can repay up to 25 per cent of the mortgage without penalty."