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BoE holds base rate at 0.5% for 73rd month

The Bank of England has voted to maintain its base rate, marking 73 consecutive months at 0.5 per cent.

In a statement this morning, the Bank confirmed that its Monetary Policy Committee had voted in favour of maintaining rates, despite speculation that an increase may be imminent.

The Bank’s base rate has sat at 0.5 per cent since March 2009.

The MPC also voted to maintain quantitative easing programmes at £375bn, a level that has been maintained since July 2012, when it was increased by £50bn.

Minutes from this month’s MPC meeting are set to be published on 22 April.

Stephen Smith, director of L&G’s mortgage club and housing businesses, describes the result of this month’s MPC vote as unsurprising, but notes that the consistency of the Bank’s base rate does not mean consumer interest rates aren’t still changing.

“Banks don’t just look at the base rate when deciding the rates they offer to consumers, they also look at swap rates which can be very volatile. The average rate offered on a two fix over the past three years has fluctuated by 1.4% and the average 5 year fix has moved by 1.3% in the same period,” Smith says.

“At the moment there are some very competitive deals around and anyone who is thinking about moving house or who is coming to the end of a mortgage deal should speak to a broker now about which deal would be right for them.  Those who wait until interest rates start to rise risk missing out on the best deals as bank will raise their rates long before the Bank of England makes an announcement.”

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  1. In the light of the recent announcement of a 0% CPI, it really should come as no surprise that the MPC decided not to change rates. If there was a question of applying a rate change, I think that the question would have been whether to LOWER rates to 0.25% in order to head of a possible deflationary cycle.

    As an interim in the financial services sector one of the things which I have seen is a steady downward pressure on both day rates and salaries. Whilst it is not an absolutely fool-proof indicator, it is suggesting that we may see a fall into deflation, which may kill off any hope for a full economic recovery for the next few years given the current government’s drive for austerity.

    This may also kill any expectation of a recovery in the housing market for first time buyers in the short to medium term, since affordability is based on earnings. It may however fuel a greater drive from BTL sector as savers/pensioners to buy up properties for income generation. Consequently driving up prices for the remainder of the market and putting starter homes beyond the reach of many first time buyers.

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