Mortgage Rates on the Up Amid Rumours of Further Rate Rise

The dream period of super-low mortgage rates is over. At least, that’s what the latest figures indicate. The average rate people are paying for their mortgage has increased by 0.25% since last month. This has pushed up the average rate paid on a two-year fixed-rate deal to 2.5%, according to the latest data gleaned from Moneyfacts.co.uk. This counts as the highest figure seen since July 2016. While the average two-year fixed now stands at 2.5%, it was recorded as 2.41% just a month ago. Rewind one year, and we can see a lower figure still. April 2017 saw an average of 2.3% on a two-year fixed-rate deal. Bank of England Governor Mark Carney announced a rise in interest rates in November last year and has suggested a further rise could be on the way. Many experts expect a rise to occur as soon as May, but Mr Carney has spoken out against this possibility. When interviewed on the BBC recently, he pointed to “a few interest rate rises over the next few years.” He then declined to focus too heavily on the “precise timing”, instead preferring to plot out the “general path”. Prior to the interview, financial experts deemed there to be an 85% chance of seeing a rise in the base rate this May. However, this has more than halved since Mr Carney spoke out. Despite this, there is clear evidence many lenders have been hiking rates in advance of the suggested rate rise. Does this mean we could see further movement in the opposite direction if the rise does not occur as was previously expected? “Ahead of the rate rise that occurred last November, many lenders started to increase the interest rates they applied on many mortgage products,” said Darren Pescod, CEO of The Mortgage Broker Limited. “We are seeing that same activity occurring now as well. However, there is no guarantee the suggestion of a rate rise will come to fruition. Mark Carney’s latest comments seem to indicate there is less chance of a rate rise next month than we might have expected. “Many people will expect a rise in interest rates if they are on a variable rate mortgage prior to a base rate rise. But it can leave a sour taste in the mouth if rates increase ahead of an expected rise, only for that rise not to occur. It is more important now than ever to lock into an affordable and competitive fixed-rate mortgage term to protect against future rises if they occur.” While May’s expected rise may not occur, it seems likely we will see several rises over the next few years. Lenders may not always wait until a base rate rise happens, as we have seen in recent weeks. There is every chance they will boost rates before this occurs.