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Antony Antoniou – Luxury Property Expert

Balancing Act: Should You Overpay Your Mortgage as Interest Rates Rise?

Balancing Act: Should You Overpay Your Mortgage as Interest Rates Rise?


As interest rates continue to climb, homeowners are grappling with the dilemma of whether to overpay their mortgages or invest in savings accounts. The pressure to reduce monthly bills is mounting, but the question remains: Which option is the smarter move? In this article, we’ll explore the arguments surrounding mortgage overpayments and weigh the benefits against the advantages of saving.

The Impact of Rising Interest Rates:

The past two years have witnessed financial market turmoil, with interest rates surging from 0.1% to 5% since December 2021. As a result, borrowing costs have increased, leaving many individuals with significantly higher mortgage payments after their fixed-rate deals expire. In response to these soaring rates, an increasing number of homeowners are opting to overpay their mortgages, striving to alleviate their debt burden. According to the Equity Release Council, over £6.7 billion was overpaid in the last quarter of 2022, marking the highest quarterly figure since 1999.

Preparing for the Future:

David Hollingworth from broker firm L&C Mortgages advises those on fixed-rate deals to plan ahead for when their terms end. While there is a possibility of rates easing if inflation is controlled, it is uncertain when this might occur, and historically low base rates may not return. Adjusting the monthly budget allocated to the mortgage can maximize the value of the current deal, whether through regular overpayments or saving a dedicated fund for future mortgage reduction.

Advantages of Mortgage Overpayments:

Overpaying on a mortgage not only reduces the outstanding balance but also saves on interest payments. Financial advice site NerdWallet’s Adam French explains that higher rates yield greater savings with overpayments. For example, on a £250,000 mortgage over 25 years, a one-off overpayment of £10,000 at a 2% interest rate would save £6,257 in interest over the mortgage’s lifetime and shorten the term by one year and three months. In comparison, the same overpayment at a 6% interest rate would save £31,723 and reduce the term by two years and one month.

Understanding the Limits:

Lenders typically impose limits on overpayments during fixed-rate deals, commonly capping them at around 10% per year. However, these limits vary depending on the lender. For instance, NatWest recently increased its overpayment limit to 20% per year for all borrowers, while Metro and Atom Bank offer up to 20%. Once borrowers transition from fixed rates to standard variable rate (SVR) mortgages, there are typically no restrictions or fees on overpayments. This flexibility allows borrowers to make overpayments before signing up for another fixed-rate deal if they have the necessary funds.

Considering Saving Options:

As savings account and ISA rates reach their highest levels in years, many homeowners are tempted to explore the potential returns from saving rather than paying down their mortgages. Financial expert Martin Lewis’s MoneySavingExpert recommends considering overpayments if the mortgage rate is close to or higher than the savings rate. It’s crucial to account for any tax on interest when evaluating the potential return on savings. The personal savings allowance usually mitigates this issue, but as rates continue to climb, it may affect more taxpayers, especially those in higher tax brackets.

Additional Benefits of Overpayments:

Beyond the immediate financial gains, overpaying a mortgage can lower the loan-to-value (LTV) ratio of the property. This reduction can lead to securing better rates when it comes time to choose a new fixed-rate deal.

Considerations and Final Thoughts:

While mortgage overpayments offer advantages, they may not be suitable for everyone. It is essential to maintain sufficient savings for emergencies and prioritize paying off more expensive debts, such as credit cards or loans. MoneySavingExpert advises borrowers committed to overpaying to inform their lenders about their intention to shorten the mortgage term. Once this is established, overpayments can typically be made conveniently through online banking.


As interest rates rise, homeowners face the tough decision of whether to overpay their mortgages or save their spare cash. The choice ultimately depends on personal circumstances, financial goals, and the specific terms of the mortgage. Overpaying can yield significant savings on interest and shorten the mortgage term, but it’s crucial to maintain an emergency fund and address higher-cost debts. Evaluating the potential returns from saving and considering future mortgage plans can also inform this decision. Remember, striking a balance between paying down debt and saving for the future is key to achieving long-term financial stability.

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