As first seen in our November 2nd 2023 market update newsletter.
Mortgage-holders can breathe a sigh of relief again today after the Bank of England froze the base rate at 5.25% for the second successive time. It’s worth noting here that it is going to take a long time to see the real impact of the previous rate hikes due to the fact that the majority of borrowers are locked into a fixed rate. Each month that passes, more and more people will be seeing their payments rise though as their deals come up for expiry and it is expected that inflation will continue to fall over the coming months.
There are plenty of people reading of this who would like to move house but are playing “watch and wait” with the market. I would remind anyone in that position that in August this year the Bank of England announced that they are expecting the base rate to remain high until 2025 and that inflation is still way above the 2% target. This point was strongly reiterated by the Governor of the Bank of England today.
Mortgage rates have been coming down quite a bit given the current more stable environment, but it would take an event of massive proportions to see fixed rate mortgages pricing much lower than they are now.
Vendors are currently more likely to accept a lower offer on their property now which is another positive for anyone looking to buy, so my message to anyone sitting on their hands right now would be: “Waiting is fine – but what is it you are waiting for to happen exactly?”. There are bargains out there to be had and we have an environment where Banks are keen to lend.
Over the two or three decades you buy a home over you will have several fluctuations in both values and mortgage rates, but if you can afford to buy then why not, especially if you are in rented accommodation.
In later life lending, rate movements haven’t been as predictable as with the high street lenders but we are now seeing several lenders giving notice of small rate decreases for both lifetime mortgages (equity release) and retirement interest only mortgages.
We expect to see other lenders following this lead in the coming weeks. This is also having the benefit that we are seeing some of the higher borrowing amount products being re-introduced to the market.
There has also been an improvement in the way mainstream lenders are viewing older borrowers meaning greater choice than ever before. It is worth emphasising that we do not expect a return to the rates of a couple of years ago and that any further decreases we see are expected to be small with rates remaining fairly constant.