In Focus: Home ownership  

Who's afraid of the big, bad mortgage rate?

Simoney Kyriakou

Simoney Kyriakou

The Big Bad Wolf is coming, and he will huff and puff and blow the interest on your mortgage repayments through the roof, regardless of what material your roof is made.

That is the prevailing fear still coursing through the property market and among commentators concerned - rightly so - about the ever-rising cost of living. 

But headlines such as "Fears as biggest interest rate rise in 30 years approaches" or "BoE set for 33-year record rate rise" do nothing to help calm the nerves of prospective borrowers and those needing to remortgage.

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All it does is cause us to squeal and head for the nearest safe harbour - which might not be safe at all.

In fact, it might harbour nothing but additional costs, unnecessary admin, and the potential for a mortgage product that isn't fit for purpose in a few years' time.

Just as when markets go awry and investment specialists urge people to avoid ripping up their long-term investment plans, so too, mortgage advisers have been urging people not to rush into bad decisions.

Well, some of them, anyway, if Twitter is anything to go by. (You know who I mean).

So what is this unhallowed rate rise? What is this terrible event that will ignite in us atavistic instincts, causing us to fight, flee or freeze in fright?

It's the expectation of another 0.75 percentage point hike to 3 per cent as early as this week.

Three per cent.

Yes we know that for one or two generations of prospective buyers and homeowners this seems unprecedented. 

It threatens to keep mortgage rates higher than we have seen for nearly two decades. 

It adds further financial pain to the pinch we are all feeling in our pursebelts as everything from energy bills to food prices is rising exponentially. 

Additionally, those warning about the government's plans for public finances are right to point out that the BoE is making its hikes without knowing what the new Prime Minister and new chancellor have in store for us on November 17

(We can only assume Rishi Sunak and Jeremy Hunt will still be the PM and the chancellor on November 17, although there's that old journalistic maxim: "To assume makes an ass out of u and me.")

Admittedly, there are concerns that spending cuts and tax hikes could lead to a recession worse than previously forecast.

But even taking all the above into account, wiser heads have called for calm in the mortgage world. 

Fear not

Lenders have already started to reduce the higher rates that had been imposed during the Trussian interregnum of 2022.

There are ways and means that advisers can help people struggling with immediate affordability issues, such as extending the length of the mortgage.

Gilt yields appear to have stabilised, and sterling has been struggling to recover, albeit like a drunk attempting to stand upright on the world stage and bellow 'look at me' with confident gusto. (It's not quite there yet).