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Bank of England base rate and your mortgage

Find out how the base rate will affect your mortgage payments and what to do if you’re on a tracker, discount or SVR mortgage when the base rate changes

In this article
What is the current base rate? Bank of England base rate: the basics How does the Bank of England base rate work? Why does the Bank of England base rate change?
What does a base rate change mean for you? How will the base rate impact your mortgage? Base rate calculator: will my mortgage payments increase?

What is the current base rate?

The current Bank of England base rate is 0.75%.

It was increased by 0.25 percentage points on 17 March 2022, the third rise recorded since December 2021.

The Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) voted to increase the rate in response to inflation hitting 5.5%, well above its target of 2%.

The chart below shows how the base rate has changed since the the financial crisis in 2008.

Bank of England base rate: the basics

For an at-a-glance look at how the Bank of England base rate works, check out our short video below.

How does the Bank of England base rate work?

When the Bank of England lends money to commercial banks, the banks must pay interest, and the amount is determined by the base rate.

The base rate will also impact on ‘Swap’ rates, the interest rate banks charge when lending to each other. If the base rate rises or falls, lenders often pass these costs on to consumers by raising their own interest rates on loans or savings products.

While that might sound complicated, it essentially means the base rate will impact two areas of your finances: how much interest you can earn on your savings and how much it costs to borrow money.

 

Why does the Bank of England base rate change?

The Bank of England base rate is usually voted on by the MPC eight times a year.

However, the committee has the power to make unscheduled changes to the base rate if they think it necessary. The MPC used this power in March 2020, when it reduced the base rate due to the potential effects of the coronavirus on the economy.

The MPC can adjust the base rate up or down. Its decision is based on current economic circumstances, with the MPC aiming to keep inflation as close as possible to the target of 2%.

If the MPC feels that the economy would benefit from higher borrowing and spending by businesses and consumers, it lowers the base rate.

On the other hand, if spending levels are increasing too quickly and inflation is in danger of soaring, the MPC may raise the base rate.

What does a base rate change mean for you?

Broadly speaking, a lower base rate is good news for borrowers because the rate of interest they repay is likely to be lower.

A higher base rate is good news for savers, who will earn better returns.

The base rate rises in early 2022 mean mortgages may become more expensive, but that - theoretically at least - rates on savings accounts may finally start to rise after a long period of stagnation.  

How will the base rate impact your mortgage?

If you’re on a variable-rate mortgage, a base rate change - or sometimes even speculation that one could be on the horizon - is likely to have an effect on your repayments.

Homeowners on fixed-rate deals, however, won’t feel the effects until their fixed term ends and they’re moved across to their lender’s standard variable rate (SVR).

Tracker mortgages

If you have a tracker mortgage, a change in the base rate will have a significant effect on your monthly payments.

These mortgages ‘track’ the Bank of England base rate, plus a set margin - for example, the base rate plus 1%. Like fixed-rate mortgages, these deals tend to last for a set number of years before reverting to a lender’s SVR.

This means that if the base rate rises by 0.25%, your repayments will too.

In times where the interest rate remains unchanged - for example, between 2009 and 2016 - your interest may stay the same for an extended period. 

But in uncertain economic times, your payments may vary as the rate changes, so it’s worth considering whether rate changes are expected in the near future.

SVR mortgages

If you’re on your lender’s SVR - perhaps because your fixed-term deal has ended - then a rate increase could significantly bump up your costs.

While your lender might not increase its SVR by the full amount, it’s still highly likely that your payments will increase.

With average SVRs above 4%, it's important to remortgage to another deal before the end of your fixed term.

Discount mortgages

Discount mortgages offer a discount on the lender’s SVR - for example, the SVR minus 1% -  and typically last between two and five years.

As previously explained, a base rate increase might result in lenders pushing up their SVRs, thereby reducing the benefit of your discount deal.

Fixed-rate mortgages

Fixed-rate mortgages provide a temporary safe haven from rate rises as they guarantee a fixed interest rate for a set period of time, but it’s important to be on the ball and switch to a cheaper deal before the end of your fixed term.

At times when the base rate is low, it can pay to fix your mortgage to guard against upcoming rises. 

However, if you take out a fixed-rate mortgage and the base rate drops, you won't benefit from reduced payments.

Base rate calculator: will my mortgage payments increase?

The tables below show how much your mortgage repayments could increase if lenders passed on a base rate rise in full.

Based on the following assumptions:

  • Interest rate 2.5% 
  • Mortgage term 20 years.
 
Base rate increase of 0.25%
Mortgage balance Monthly increase Annual increase
£100,000 £12.27 £147.24
£150,000 £18.40 £220.80
£200,000 £24.52 £294.24
£250,000 £30.66 £367.92

 

Any increase in the base rate is likely to be gradual and staged in increments over the coming years. But when taking out a mortgage, you need to consider how changes in the economy could affect your repayments in the long term.

With this in mind, here’s a rough guide to how your payments could change if interest rates increased by 0.5%.

 
Base rate increase of 0.5%
Mortgage balance Monthly increase Annual increase
£100,000 £24.70 £296.40
£150,000 £37.85 £444.60
£200,000 £49.39 £592.68
£250,000 £61.73 £740.76

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