In the wake of last weeks shock announcement by Bank of England of a 1½% interest rate drop from 4.5% down to 3%. This was not before time! Around 40 mortgage lenders withdrew their trackers rate products from the market and said they would be reviewing and relaunching their tracker products later this week. By last Friday afternoon the London Interbank Offered Libor (Rate) which shows the interest rate at which the banks are willing to lend money to each other finally fell to 4.49% from 5.56%.
The main indicator and key driver when it comes to lenders pricing their new interest rate products is not the base rate but the three-month Libor rate. The Libor rate is still stubbornly high at 1.49% higher than the Bank of England Base rate. If mortgage rates are to regain any similarity with the base rate then the gap between the base rate and the three-month Libor rate needs to narrow. All we can do is wait and watch!
This defiance by the banks not to reduce their Libor rate continues to reflect the banks continuing unwillingness to lend money to each other. The experts say that the banks are still looking for further signs of stability before the libor rate drops any further and this will be a slow process. Add to this that the banks are hoarding money in an effort to show better than expected end of year results and you now start to see why the banks have been reluctant about dropping their interest rates. The Government is currently applying pressure to those banks where they invested taxpayers’ money in order to get them to reduce their interest rates.
In a strange turn of events last week the lender all withdrew their Tracker rate mortgages after the announcement by the Bank of England. Tracker rate mortgages are designed to benefit borrowers in the event of a Bank of England base rate cuts. The main reason for the base rate cut was to reduce the mortgage costs for borrowers and it was hoped that this would encourage homeowners to set about spending again in the run-up to Christmas and this would then stimulate the wider economy. Unfortunately things don’t work like this and these interest rate reductions will not affect every homeowner. As borrowers on fixed rate deals will not benefit until their penalty period has elapsed. First-time borrowers still need to find a minimum of a 5% deposits in order to buy their first home and there is currently only one lender at present willing to lend to first-time buyers. How are first-time buyers ever going to get on the housing market!
Mortgage lenders will start to pass on their new lower interest rates over the next few weeks and months. So don’t rush out for a quick mortgage deal or a secured homeowner loan. Consider that just 1% saved on a £100,000 remortgage is the equivalent of a £83.33 less to pay monthly. So the lower the interest rate the bigger your savings will be. There is unquestionably more hope around with the interest rate cuts announced by the Bank of England and the London Interbank Libor Rate last week and today there is talk of the government now considering tax-cuts. Better Interest rates to come!