On the 22nd June 2023, The Bank of England’s decision to raise interest rates for the 13th consecutive time has garnered attention as it aims to curb rising prices. In this blog post, we’ll explore the key details and delve into the impact of these interest rate hikes on homeowners, savers, and the overall economy.
The Recent Interest Rate Hike:
The Monetary Policy Committee has increased the Bank rate from 4.5% to 5% in an effort to slow down the rapid rise in the cost of living. This move presents a mixed bag of consequences, including potential challenges for homeowners and potential benefits for savers.
Impact on Homeowners:
For homeowners, especially those with tracker or standard variable rate (SVR) mortgages, the interest rate rise means higher monthly payments. Approximately 1.4 million people with such mortgages will experience an immediate increase in their monthly payments. For instance, individuals with a typical tracker mortgage will pay around £47 more per month, while those on SVR mortgages can expect a £30 increase. Since December 2021, monthly repayments have risen by £465 for tracker mortgages and £297 for SVR mortgages. The “mortgage bomb” phenomenon, characterised by people transitioning from low fixed-rate deals to higher-rate products, has become a significant economic and political concern.
Credit Cards and Loans:
Interest rate changes by the Bank of England also influence the interest rates charged on credit cards, bank loans, and car loans. Even before the recent rate hike, the average annual interest rates in April were already high. Lenders may further raise prices if they anticipate future interest rate increases.
Implications for Savers:
Individual banks and building societies generally pass on interest rate increases to customers, which means savers may see better returns on their savings. However, it is crucial to note that these interest rates may not keep up with rising prices, resulting in the erosion of the real value of cash savings. Savers are advised to explore options and shop around for better savings rates.
The Rationale behind Interest Rate Hikes:
The Bank of England has been raising interest rates to combat inflation, which has been on the rise due to factors such as increased consumer spending as COVID-19 restrictions eased and global supply chain disruptions. Rising oil and gas costs, exacerbated by geopolitical tensions, have also contributed to inflationary pressures. While global elements influence inflation, there are concerns about domestic factors, including rising wages.
The UK is not the only country grappling with rising prices. Various countries worldwide have been adopting similar approaches and raising interest rates to address inflationary challenges. For example, the US central bank has implemented significant rate increases, and the European Central Bank recently raised its main interest rate by a quarter of a percentage point.
The recent interest rate hikes by the Bank of England reflect efforts to tackle inflationary pressures. While these moves aim to slow down rising prices, they also have implications for homeowners, savers, and borrowers. Homeowners may face higher mortgage payments, savers may witness improved returns but with the risk of real value erosion, and borrowers may experience increased costs on credit cards and loans. As economies worldwide navigate the challenges of inflation, central banks continue to monitor the situation and adjust interest rates accordingly.