UK home owners should factor in interest rate rise sooner rather than later

Taylor Scott International News

Home owners and those thinking of buying a home should budget for an interest rate rise after the Bank of England indicated that it expects to see interest rates rise sooner rather than later. But Banks of England governor Mark Carney refused to be drawn on whether this would be before the end of the year and indicated that it will depend on factors such as the state of the euro and what happens in Greece. Interest rates in the UK have been at a record low of 0.5% since March 2009 but Carney said that the time for an increase is ‘drawing closer’. He said that the decision would be determined by looking at economic data including wage growth, productivity and import figures. He also said that the increases, when they came, would be gradual and limited to a level below past averages and line with his previous forecasts of how rates will change. Experts are divided as to when the rise might happen. Andrew Burrell, head of forecasting at JLL, believes it is unlikely that rates will rise before the first quarter of next year. ‘Despite wage rises and a recovering UK, a muted inflation forecast and global economic headwinds mean that interest rates are likely to stay the same for a couple more quarters,’ he said. Barry Naisbitt, chief economist of Santander UK, also believes that economic uncertainties still exist to prevent an immediate rate rise and John McNeill, co-manager of the Kames Absolute Return Bond Global Fund, thinks it will not happen until 2016. Property buyers need to recognise that rates will move sooner rather than later, according to Nicholas Leeming, chairman of agents Jackson-Stops & Staff. ‘The decision to maintain interest rates at the current, historically low levels comes as no surprise. However Mark Carney has been careful to flag that interest rates will edge higher in the longer term as the economy continues to grow and inflationary pressure on wages increase,’ he said. ‘Property buyers should recognise that rates will move towards more sustainable, long term levels and so budget for higher mortgage costs accordingly. Vendors should be aware that any such increases will create resistance to overly high guide prices,’ he added. Steve Bolton, founder of Platinum Property Partners, pointed out that the UK housing market as a whole has enjoyed six years of historically low interest rates. He believes that those who have invested in buy to let property over this period have also benefitted from high levels of demand for private rental accommodation across the country. ‘This has meant that the return on investment for buy to let has been strong, with many investors also seeing an impressive growth in the value of their properties. But the announcement that the base rate could start to rise soon has implications for the housing market,’ he said. ‘On the one hand, more expensive mortgage rates will possibly put a dampener on demand for borrowing, but on… Continue reading →

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