The Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee today increased the Bank Base rate by 0.5% to 4%, the tenth interest rate rise in a row.
Back in December 2021 the base rate stood at just 0.1% as the committee tried to encourage consumers to spend after the Covid slowdown. However, markets had been expecting today’s increase:
“As wage growth and core inflation have continued to surprise to the upside, we expect another +50bp [basis point] hike on Thursday, in line with market pricing,” Peder Beck-Friis, portfolio manager at PIMCO, said prior to the announcement.
Andy McBride, Director at Professional Contractor Mortgages had this to say,
“Threadneedle Street has the unenviable task of walking a very fine line. On the one hand it needs to be very conscious of pushing the UK into recession by continuing to increase the cost of borrowing, whilst also trying to manage the worrying inflation figures.”
Inflation has eased to 10.5% but is still close to its 40 year high, compounded by UK households continuing to be squeezed by the cost of living crisis.
What does it mean?
According to reports up to a million households now face further hikes on their mortgage borrowing costs. The most recent rise will impact those with fixed rates due to come to an end this year.
To give some context, a household with a mortgage debt of around £280,000 who agreed a fixed-term deal of around 1.5 per cent during the period of historically low rates would see their monthly mortgage repayments rise from c.£1100 to £1654, or £6,600 more each year.
How much higher will interest rates go?
A recent poll of economists by Reuters indicated there may be a glimmer of hope as they believe interest rates appear to be reaching their peak. The analysts are expecting one more rate rise in March, while financial markets think that the tightening cycle will end in the middle of this year at 4.5%.
Paul Hollingsworth, Chief European Economist at the French bank BNP Paribas, said:
“We still believe that the end of the tightening cycle is nearing. Soon, we expect the MPC to shift from increasing rates to emphasising that rates will need to stay at elevated levels for a long time in order to bring down underlying inflation.”
William Coe, Senior Mortgage Consultant at PCM had this to say to anyone looking to refinance their home or make a new house purchase:
“There is no such thing as a crystal ball when it comes to interest rate movements and therefore my advice is to engage with a professional broker as soon as possible. A good broker will be able to walk you through the options that are available and work with you to build a plan that protects you and your family as much as possible”