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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

No bank rate hike this year, brokers say

Brokers and analysts don't expect base rates to rise until at least 2016 after the Bank of England held base rates yet again.

Some have suggested they could even stay on hold until 2017 or beyond.

In July, Mark Carney raised expectations of a base rate hike towards the end of this year, but the first move upwards still seems months away.

Just one member of the monetary policy committee (MPC), Ian McCafferty, voted for a rate hike, instead of the expected two or possibly three.

Brokers say that borrowers still need to ready themselves for rising interest rates, and should look to fix their variable rates while mortgages are still at record lows.

Additional documentation published by the MPC signalled that mortgage rates are likely to increase ahead of base rates, due to rising funding costs for lenders.

Brian Murphy, head of lending at Mortgage Advice Bureau (MAB), said: “It takes little encouragement for the winds to change in the mortgage market, and there are signs that some price cuts have already been reversed – even though the base rate hasn’t moved an inch.

“Lenders have been chasing customers all year with attractive headline rates, but the time will come when borrowers have to make more of the running to secure the best deals before they disappear.


“Nevertheless, with just one MPC member voting for a rise, there is less prospect of low-cost loans disappearing overnight than might have been the case."

Murphy said recent borrowers are largely shielded against the impact of what will be a slow rise in rates.

“They have already had their incomes thoroughly stress tested in preparation, so the biggest impact will be on those who haven’t reassessed their loan commitments for some time and may never have known the effects of a rate rise.”

Mark Harris, chief executive of mortgage broker SPF Private Clients, said base rates may stay at 0.5% for even longer than markets believe.

“Given that the recovery is still finely balanced and the enormous level of debt, we wouldn’t be surprised if rates didn’t go up until 2017.”

Harris said the Bank could use other tools to control house prices. “The Chancellor demonstrated this in the Budget by placing restrictions on mortgage tax relief, which should make people think twice before getting into buy-to-let.”

Several lenders have raised their fixed rates anyway on the back of rising swaps, Harris said. "That said, there are still plenty of excellent rates available and historically mortgage rates remain extremely competitive.”

Harris added: “Lenders have plenty of capacity to lend so they are likely to continue to offer tempting deals to attract borrowers but we have probably seen the very cheapest of the rates.

“Those borrowers who would struggle to pay their mortgage if rates rise should therefore consider a fixed rate.”

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