According to a recent report consumers confidence in variable rate mortgage products is on the increase in the UK, following a substantial period of consumers tending to shy away from variable rate products, preferring instead to opt for more stable, yet more expensive, fixed rate deals. The series of five interest rate hikes between August 2006 and July 2007 resulted in many homeowners trying to remortgage to fixed rate deals in order to try and avoid the effects of further interest rate rises, as well as resulting in first time buyers opting for fixed rates to avoid the pitfalls of rising repayments during the first few years of mortgage repayments.
However, since July of this year the Bank of England has kept interest rates firmly on hold at 5.75%, making it latest announcement to keep rates stable just last week. It is thought that part of the reason for the bank’s decision to keep rates on hold is the possible of effects of the global credit crunch upon the UK’s economy, resulting in the Bank of England taking a wait and see stance. Another reason for keeping rates on hold for the moment, state experts, is that CPI inflation is now within the government’s target of 2%, coming in at 1.8%, which is its lowest in a year.
Predictions from analysts and economists that the Bank of England will not raise interest rates again for the remainder of the year has seen renewed interest in variable rate mortgages from consumers in the UK, with many breathing a sigh of relief over the fact that repayments are unlikely to be affected by further interest rate rises this year. This renewed interest has been further fuelled by additional speculation that interest rates may even fall by the end of this year, with many economists expecting – or urging – the Bank of England to cut interest rates. Many are now expecting rates to fall by at least a quarter point by the end of the year.
Interest in fixed rate mortgages peaked recently, as homeowners and first time buyers struggled to find a solution to the problem of rising repayments resulting from the hike in interest rates. However, some experts have even predicted that interest rates could fall back to around 5% by the end of next year, so many consumers may want to avoid tying themselves into more expensive fixed rate deals under fears that they may end up paying way over the odds in six or twelve months’ time.