Wednesday 24th July 2024

Don’t be distracted by Bank of England base rate cuts

John Davison, head of product, proposition & distribution at mortgage lender Perenna, looks at why mortgage customers shouldn’t be distracted by what the Bank of England does with its base rate in the coming months

Interest rates were at an all-time low for a long time. In fact, homeowners may be forgiven for thinking that the rates we saw over the last decade were the ‘norm’, and that current mortgage rates available are ‘excessively high’.

In the UK, interest rates are a topical subject, with speculation as to what will or won’t happen regularly making headline news.  And if the news reports are to be believed, it’s only a ‘matter of time’ until rates start to fall again.

Unfortunately, this may only be part of the story. For most of 2024, journalists have been predicting a drop in the Bank of England base rate (the rate of borrowing that the Bank of England charges to its customers – other banks and lenders).

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But what does this mean for borrowers?  Will this signal an instant change in mortgage payments?

Homeowners aren’t borrowing money from the Bank of England; they’re borrowing from a mortgage lender. And a drop in the base rate does not mean that a lender is obliged to pass on a discount.

In fact, if you already have a fixed rate mortgage, that rate won’t change at all until the end of your incentive period.

And if you are on a variable rate, your monthly payment may not drop either, as sometimes your monthly payment is linked to the lenders standard variable rate – and not the Bank of England base rate.

So, when will rates fall?

Current expectations are for the Bank of England to reduce their interest rate at some point this year.  But we also have a general election to navigate and an emergency budget in the autumn which could have an impact on the timing and magnitude of that change.

And don’t forget about the election in the USA. Although this may not seem relevant, in our global economy, the cost of lending is affected by global events!

The other thing to consider is lenders may have already assumed a reduction in base rate. This means that some of the rates available to you today were made available with that potential reduction already in mind.

And therefore, mortgage rates offered across the market if base rate does fall, may not change as much as first-time buyers would like.

What is the new normal?

It’s hard to say what the new ‘normal’ will be, but many commentators expect the Bank of England base rate to settle near 4%. This would give us average mortgage rates of 4.5% – about 1% lower than today.

But the timing of this reduction is critical and brings many questions. What if it takes two, three or even five years to get there? How will house prices change during that time? Are you prepared to put your life on hold while you wait? Is what you may eventually save in interest rate worth the risk of waiting?  

If you’re looking to make that first step on the property ladder you must consider all these factors.

How can Perenna help?

It’s hard to predict the future, but with a Perenna mortgage you don’t need to. If you can afford your monthly payments today, you get the reassurance of knowing you never have to worry about your payments going up.

We also know the question of ‘how much can I borrow?’ can be a top priority. So, we’ve designed a product to help.

With our mortgages, you can borrow up to six times your income, subject to criteria. This could act as a huge boost for those struggling to get onto the property ladder.

Curious about how much you could borrow? Try our mortgage calculator today.

John Davison is head of product, proposition & distribution at mortgage lender Perenna

You could lose your home if you don’t keep up your mortgage repayments.

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