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Antony Antoniou – Luxury Property Expert

Mortgage rates set to begin falling

Mortgage rates set to begin falling

“Lenders Set to Slash Mortgage Rates as Borrower Choices Expand”

The Mortgage Landscape Evolves

In a welcomed development for both aspiring homeowners and current borrowers in the UK, lenders have recently unveiled plans for substantial reductions in mortgage rates. What’s more, there’s a growing anticipation that more rate cuts are on the horizon. These promising prospects align with fresh data indicating that the array of mortgage options available to borrowers has surged to its highest point since February of the previous year.

A Shifting Market

The catalyst for these rate reductions can be traced back to the comments made by Andrew Bailey, the Governor of the Bank of England, just last week. Bailey’s remarks offered a glimmer of hope, suggesting that the UK may not experience further rate hikes in the near future.

Aneisha Beveridge, Head of Research at estate agency Hamptons, has been closely monitoring the situation. She remarked, “There’s been a bit of a shift in markets over the last week or so. Since Andrew Bailey came out with his comments, swap rates [used by banks to price mortgage deals] are down a little bit.”

Bailey’s statement to Members of Parliament hinted that interest rates, currently standing at 5.25% following 14 consecutive increases, might be approaching the peak of their cycle.

The Rate Hike Dilemma

Despite the Bank of England’s impending decision to raise base rates by another quarter point in the upcoming week, investors remain divided on whether there will be another rate hike before the year’s end.

Commenting on this, Matt Smith, Rightmove’s mortgage expert, shared his insights: “There’s a widely held view that the Base Rate is now nearing its peak, which led to a fall in swap rates toward the end of last week. This could mean we see lenders make more significant mortgage rate cuts in the next few weeks. Swap rates have also responded reasonably positively to today’s unemployment figures and pay growth data.”

Smith continued, “All eyes will now look to the upcoming inflation figures, which are likely to have an impact on the next Bank of England Base Rate decision. As long as the news is in line with market expectations, it’s possible that rate reductions will start to gather pace, and we could see sub-5% rates return to the market for the first time since the end of June.”

The Current Mortgage Rate Landscape

As of yesterday, data from Moneyfacts reveals that the average rate for a two-year fixed mortgage stands at 6.66%. This marks a noticeable decrease from the 6.85% rate observed at the beginning of August, a figure that represented the highest level recorded since 2008.

However, it’s important to note that even with these reductions, average borrowing rates still surpass the levels seen in the immediate aftermath of last year’s tumultuous “mini” Budget.

Optimism on the Horizon

Rachel Springall, a finance commentator at Moneyfacts, weighed in on these developments, stating, “Mortgage product choice has grown to its highest level since February 2022, and average rates are gradually falling. This positive momentum has resulted in the average shelf life of a mortgage product rising to 15 years, up from a record low of 12 days in July.”

She further added, “It will be interesting to see how the mortgage market improves in the weeks to come, particularly if SWAP rates fall, as lenders may then cut their fixed-rate deals as a result. As we have seen before, a volatile interest rate market can have a significant impact on lenders’ pricing strategies.”

In Conclusion

  • UK lenders are planning significant mortgage rate cuts.
  • Mortgage options for borrowers have reached the highest level since February last year.
  • Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey’s comments suggest the UK may avoid further rate hikes.
  • Swap rates used by banks for mortgage pricing have decreased in response to Bailey’s comments.
  • Average two-year fixed mortgage rates have fallen from 6.85% to 6.66% since August.
  • Despite rate reductions, average borrowing rates are still higher than post-“mini” Budget levels.
  • The mortgage market shows positive momentum, with an increased product choice and longer mortgage product shelf life.
  • Future rate cuts may be on the horizon if SWAP rates continue to fall, impacting lenders’ pricing strategies.

As the number of mortgage options for borrowers reaches its highest point in over a year and with the possibility of further rate cuts looming, the UK’s mortgage market appears to be undergoing a positive transformation. For individuals considering homeownership or those looking to refinance, these developments may signal a more favorable environment in the coming months.

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