Kevin Roberts, Director, Legal & General Mortgage:
“With a rise in the base rate last month, it’s hardly surprising that the Bank of England has decided keep rates at their current level this month. This will be welcomed by borrowers, who continue to benefit from near-record low rates and a mortgage market that is delivering a growing number of innovative solutions for customers.
“However, the low-interest rate era won’t last forever and customers coming to the end of their mortgage term would be prudent to consider locking into a new fixed rate now, to take advantage of some of the great deals that remain on the market. Speaking to an adviser can be an excellent place to start, providing extensive product choice and the professional advice to help borrowers find a mortgage that suits their needs.”
Simon Longfellow, Head of stepstoinvesting.com:
“After last month’s rate rise, it is little surprise that the Bank of England has kept interest rates on hold. But consumers shouldn’t feel too disheartened, particularly as many are still waiting to see the result from last month’s rise, as little difference as it may be. For example, on a balance of £1,000, the extra 0.25% equates to earning an extra 21p a month.
“Struggling savers looking to secure a return on their money should think about looking elsewhere, particularly as the combination of low rates and high inflation meant UK savers saw the buying power of their money fall by £30.3bn last year, the equivalent to £1,147 per household. An alternative to holding it in savings is to invest it, but there needs to be more education around the benefits and risks involved in investing as naturally people are fearful of what they don’t understand. At the moment many don’t feel confident enough to put their money in potentially higher yielding alternatives.”
Jon Chitty, Investment Analyst at Brown Shipley:
“Following August’s unanimous decision to raise rates for only the second time since the financial crisis, today’s equally unanimous decision to leave rates on hold does not come as a surprise.
“Though consumer price inflation remains above-target, monetary policy actions typically take several months to filter down in to the real economy, and officials at the Bank of England will want to see how the last move plays out. Market forecasts suggest that no additional changes to the base rate are expected until at least the second quarter of 2019, and with the UK scheduled to leave the EU at the end of the first quarter it’s fair to say that a lot could change over this period.
“Indeed, it is hard to envisage a scenario where rates rise in Q2 2019. A ‘Soft Brexit’ would be met with a strong rally in sterling putting downward pressure on inflation, and if the BoE’s actions in the wake of the ‘leave’ vote are anything to go by, a ‘Hard Brexit’ is more likely to be met with rate cuts.
“We view Governor Mark Carney’s recent decision to remain at the helm over the Brexit transition as a positive, though with rates still pegged towards historic lows, we question how much scope there is for interest rates to play a role in reducing the impact of any unfavourable outcome.”
Miles Eakers, Chief Market Analyst at Centtrip: “The Bank of England (BoE) remains in the wait-and-see mode on interest rates. That said, the political situation in the UK is far from rosy and the news that BoE Governor Mark Carney will stay until 2020 to steady the ship post Brexit is welcome.
“Looking ahead, November may be the month when Brexit talks may have a positive turn, but Eurosceptic Tory MPs could still derail the Chequers plan. There is a growing risk that the Eurosceptic European Research Group may use a soft Brexit deal as the catalyst for a vote of no confidence in UK Prime Minister Theresa May. This, in turn, is likely to trigger a hard Brexit and the Pound will take a hit.”
Ben Brettell, Senior Economist, Hargreaves Lansdown:
“Markets gave a zero percent chance of any action from the BoE today, and so it came to pass, with a unanimous vote to leave rates untouched. There’s been little change in key economic indicators since the Bank’s August meeting, though there’s been a notable lengthening of the shadow cast by Brexit-related uncertainty in recent weeks.
“Policymakers are firmly in ‘wait-and-see’ mode having raised rates last month, and will be reluctant to even consider another move until they have a clear idea of what Brexit will look like. Realistically May next year looks the first available opportunity to raise rates to 1%.
“The minutes reiterated the Bank’s ‘gradual and limited’ stance on interest rate rises, but the outcome of Brexit negotiations will be the key to whether it can deliver on that promise. Indeed it looks increasingly likely the Bank will have to update its economic forecasts – due in its November Inflation Report – with no clarity over the Brexit deal (or lack thereof). Thankfully a relatively benign environment of under-control inflation and positive, albeit anaemic, growth, should afford the Bank the luxury of leaving policy unchanged for an extended period.”
Steve Seal, Director of Sales and Marketing, Bluestone Mortgages:
“With the previous interest rate rise still fresh in consumers’ minds and living costs on the rise, many borrowers will be relieved by today’s decision to hold the base rate. However, challenges facing buyers looking to step onto the property ladder mean that it won’t be plain sailing for everyone.
“Individuals unable to demonstrate flawless credit scores or regular incomes, such as the self-employed, can still find themselves blocked from the best deals and, in some cases, squeezed out of the market.
“Whether rates rise or fall, specialist lenders will play a crucial role in ensuring that those able to prove affordability, regardless of their career choice or distant credit history, can access funding solutions and are not faced with unreasonable ‘hiked’ up prices.”
Alistair Wilson, Head of Retail Platform Strategy at Zurich: “Unemployment is down and wages have outstripped inflation for four consecutive months, making a text book case for further increasing the base rate. But uncertainty around Brexit negotiations is causing the Bank of England to pursue a dovish policy, holding off on rising rates again so soon. This is further amplified by Mark Carney remaining at the Bank for an extra year until 2020, allowing for consistency during the transition period.
“As savers are yet to see the full benefits of last month’s rise, they shouldn’t be complacent when it comes to any money they are able to squirrel away. If their bank hasn’t passed on the rate rise, it might be time for savers to reconsider where their nest eggs are held. Although it’s likely we’ll see another rate rise later in the year, those looking to grow their money should consider other options with higher returns. Feeding a small amount each month into a stocks and shares ISA or a pension fund is a sensible way to build a healthy sum over the years.”