The big interest rate rise: Who will be affected today – and how much worse could it get? | Business News
The Bank of England’s interest rate has increased by 0.5 percentage points – a figure that was bigger than expected.
The 13th consecutive increase came as a shock to most economists – but financial markets had forecast, to a greater degree, that a bolder move against inflation was warranted.
Here, Sky News explains the thinking behind the bank’s decision, and the immediate implications for your family finances as the cost of living crisis continues to evolve.
Why is the bank hiking so aggressively?
Put simply: the inflation number on Wednesday came in so hot – remaining at 8.7% during May – that the bank felt it had no choice but to act more aggressively.
The data from the Office for National Statistics also showed that so-called core inflation, which strips out volatile elements such as energy and food, was on the rise rather than easing.
It’s a particular worry for the bank as it suggests price rises are becoming more engrained in the economy.
Governor Andrew Bailey has spoken out on “unsustainable” company profit margins and levels of wage rises, at 7.2%.
But why impose more hardship on me?
It is perverse, isn’t it, that in acting to end the cost of living crisis as quickly as possible, the bank is imposing even more costs on millions of people.
Its only tool to utilise this is through a rate rise.
The bank, which has a 2% inflation target, wants to see the annual rate of price growth stabilise around that level – so its aim in making borrowing more expensive is to curb demand in the economy.
Who is affected today?
The dwindling number of households on standard variable rates (SVR) or trackers – those that are linked to the Bank of England rate – will see their mortgage bills go up almost straight away.
According to Moneyfactscompare, a rate rise of 0.5 percentage points on the current average SVR of 7.52% would add approximately £1,576 onto total repayments over two years.
Those on tracker deals, at an average of almost 5.5%, will see their monthly bills rise by just over £47 per month.
What about fixed-rate residential mortgage customers?
There were just over two million households on SVR or trackers early last year as bank rate started to creep further up.
The bulk are now on fixed-rate deals of either two or five years’ duration – but those costs have been surging, too.
Because of growing market interest rate expectations, funding costs for lenders have been going up in the process, forcing banks and building societies to pull their best deals, sometimes within days, and keep repricing.
That has been particularly acute this month, with the average two-year fix just passing 6% on Monday and hitting 6.19% on Thursday, according to Moneyfacts.
How are buy-to-let mortgages faring?
The majority of the two million such mortgages are on fixed-rate terms.
Rising bank rate expectations, again, only places more costs on lenders.
They pass them on to landlords who, in turn, make their tenants pay for it through their rent.
How much worse could this get?
Financial markets currently see UK bank rate hitting 6% early next year.
That is a whole percentage point higher than it stands at today.
By implication, it tells us that fixed-rate deals have further to run above their current levels.
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Surely savers are benefiting?
Banks have been accused by consumer groups and MPs of being quick to pass on rate hikes to their mortgage customers but slow to recognise the rises in their savings rates.
Building societies have had the better press than banks generally.
Rachel Springall, finance expert at Moneyfactscompare.co.uk, said of the current market: “A flurry of savings rate competition and consecutive Bank of England base rate rises continue to improve the savings market.
“Those savers earning variable rates of interest who take time to review their existing pots may find more attractive returns are available elsewhere, as their loyalty has not been rewarded.
“The top easy access accounts pay around 4%, with the market average around 2%, however, some of the biggest banks pay much less.”