Borrowers who are uncertain about probable interest rates rises should be locking in their rates now, according to Emma Cox (pictured), sales director at Shawbrook Bank.
She made her call at a time of ongoing uncertainty around Bank of England (BoE) policy, high inflation and the continuing threat of the COVID-19 Omicron variant.
The BoE has been rumoured to be considering pushing up interest rates from the historic low of 0.1%. Despite this their last meeting ended up with the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) voting against such a move for now.
Mortgage approvals drop to pre-pandemic levels
But with the new Omicron variant spooking markets and inflation at the highest level for a decade there has been an increased level of uncertainty about when the BoE will make such a move.
However, despite this mortgage rates are still at near historic lows, despite some lenders having priced in a rate hike, and long-term fixes are available for those looking to mitigate risk.
Cox said: “With suggestions that the Bank of England’s decision on interest rates may be less significant as the market reacts to a new COVID-19 variant emerging and the government activating ‘Plan B’, it’s too soon to tell what impact inflation will have on buyer affordability.
“What is clear is that the continued lack of supply in the market, something that cannot be solved overnight, will continue to drive up prices in the best interest of sellers.
“For those unsure of what the future holds for the mortgage market in the short-term, locking in competitive terms should be a priority to shelter homeowners from any unexpected policy changes from the Bank of England.”
Cox added: “The word of 2021 will surely be ‘uncertainty’ and the housing market offers nothing but proof of this. Traditionally pinned as a quieter period for the industry, the winter months on this occasion have shown no sign of letting up.
“Estate agents, brokers and lenders that spend December wrapping up business in good time for another activity resurgence in the New Year, will sadly be left without a period of respite as we gear up to Christmas. Buyers remain intent on striking while the iron is hot, even if this puts prices at a premium.