Mortgage relief for millions as Bank of England expected to keep interest rates unchanged next week – what it means | The Sun
MILLIONS of households could breathe another sigh of relief as interest rates are expected to remain unchanged next week.
Experts think that the Bank of England will avoid another interest rate rise for the second time in a row after almost two years of consecutive hikes.
The base rate, which influences the interest that people pay on their mortgages, is widely expected to be kept at 5.25%, although markets see some chance that it could rise.
James Smith, a developed markets economist at ING, said that the meeting is likely to be highly predictable.
In September, four of the nine-person monetary policy committee (MPC) voted to raise rates to 5.5%.
James said: "It would only take one committee member to change their mind to tip the balance in favour of more tightening – but we're doubtful."
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He said that there had been little new data since the last vote, so those who voted against hiking rates are unlikely to change their minds.
While experts at Investec said that the decision-makers might still decide to hike rates they said that "the case for raising rates further now does look somewhat weaker to us than at the last meeting, for a number of other reasons."
Susannah Streeter, head of money and markets, Hargreaves Lansdown, said: "As more homeowners are forced to take on big increases in monthly mortgage costs as their deals come to an end, the effect of financial fragility is likely to show up in more frugal spending patterns and more uncertainty about jobs moves and reticence when it comes to pay demands.
"Already the economy is flatlining, with growth proving very elusive, showing that demand is being squeezed out.
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"Fresh weakness in the housing market, with prices continuing to fall, affects people's perceptions of their wealth – and with house moves on hold, it won't encourage spending on renovations and interior decor.
"If wage growth and goods and services price increases keep heading down, it’ll make policymakers more adverse to another hike."
The UK's rate of inflation remained at 6.7% in September.
Easing food and drink price rises were balanced out by higher petrol and diesel prices for motorists.
As it remained unchanged it could mean that the base rate – which is a tool used by the Bank to bring inflation down to its 2% target – does not need to climb as high as previously feared.
What it means for your money
Below we reveal more about what the rate pause means for your money.
Usually, if rates rise it means that mortgage bills, depending on the type you have, will increase.
Those on a fixed-rate deal tend to be safe for now until they remortgage.
But other mortgages, such as a tracker or standard variable rate (SVR) mortgage, can be impacted straight away.
Homeowners on variable-rate mortgages might not see their repayments go up straight away, but they likely increase shortly after interest rates are hiked.
But the exact amount depends on your borrowing and your loan-to-value.
However, if the BoE opts to freeze current rates, your lender may opt to do nothing at all.
This will come as a huge relief to those who have faced 14 consecutive increases to their mortgage bill.
Either way, your bank should warn you of any increase to your rate before it goes up.
We've got more info on how to find the best mortgage rate deal here.
Credit card and loan rates
Again the cost of borrowing through loans, credit cards and overdrafts can go up if the base rate is hiked, as banks are likely to pass on the increased rate.
Certain loans you already have like a personal loan or car financing will usually stay the same anyway, as you've already agreed on the rate.
But rates for any future loan could be higher, and lenders could increase the rate on credit cards and overdrafts – although they must let you know beforehand.
If rate hikes are paused again nothing is likely to change.
However, you can still cancel a credit card if you want and will have 60 days to pay off any outstanding balance.
Savers are the main group to have actually benefited after the last 14 rate rises.
That's because banks tend to battle it out by offering market-leading interest rates.
Although banks are usually much slower to act than with passing on higher rates for borrowing.
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Of course, if the base rate doesn't increase, banks will likely take advantage and keep their rates the same too.
Anyone currently getting a low rate on easy-access savings could find it's worth looking around for a better rate and moving their money.
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