Interest Rate Increase for the first time in 10 Years
We had an interesting announcement on Thursday the 2nd November 2017 when the bank’s nine-strong Monetary Policy Committee voted for a quarter point rise in the base interest rate to 0.5%.
The bank has moved to curtail inflationary pressure which, rightly or wrongly has been largely and commonly attributed to last years Brexit vote and with the bank predicting an inflationary peak of around 3.2% this autumn. The Bank is setting expectations for two more rate hikes over the next three years in order to hold inflation to its two percent target, this would leave us with 1% interest rates by the end of 2020. Do you remember the days of 17% Interest Rates in 1979 or Black Wednesday 1992 with 15% Interest Rates? Clearly and superficially these were better times for Investors (if we foolishly ignore the impact of higher inflation) but caused greater challenges for those with a mortgage.
In fact, it’s hard to believe that many employees who have taken the plunge over the last 10 years to commit to owning their own property via a mortgage will have never seen an increase in their mortgage monthly payments. This could all be about to change should they have opted for a tracker or variable rate mortgage, as most of the well-known banks decided to immediately increase their mortgage lending rate in the wake of the announcement. House buyers with a £100,000 mortgage will have to find approximately £13 a month extra, according to The Building Societies Association.
On the other side of the coin employees who are nearing retirement may well have savings in a bank account or be contemplating taking their pension benefits in the form of a Pension Annuity. These employees may stand to gain although most of the banks and annuity providers may take a longer-term view before reviewing their rates.
With more interest rate increases likely, maybe now is the time for employers to engage with their employees and offer some form of Financial Education within the workplace to help employees gain a greater understanding of their financial wellbeing.
Mark Eastwood, Senior Employee Benefit Consultant at D E Ford Insurance Brokers. Commercial and Charity Insurance specialists, Part of the PIB Group Ltd.