Research shows a third of home owning Britons would struggle with a hike in interest rates

10th November 2014


Around a third of homeowners would be at pains to meet their mortgage payments if interest rates rise were to rise by just 2% according to an analysis by ICM Research as reported in The Guardian.

The survey found that those in in the south-east, where property prices are highest, are the most worried about dealing with a higher cost of borrowing.

Last Thursday, the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee voted once again to keep interest rates at their historic low of 0.5%, a level they have now been at for more than five years.

The Guardian reported that the ICM analysis questioned borrowers how far, on a five-point scale, would rates have to move up until their repayments became difficult.

The respondents declared that a two-point rise in interest rates would mean that they would “struggle” while nationwide, 14% answered with a 5, indicating they “strongly agreed” that they would have problems, while a further 18% answered 4, indicating that they too could struggle considerably. It concluded therefore that in aggregate, about 32% of borrowers, are worried about such a rise.

In terms of when rates will rise, the consensus is that it will happen sometime in 2015 but potentially after the general election.

Howard Archer, chief UK and European economist at IHS Insight believes expectations of a delayed interest rate hike will be reinforced by lower forecasts for GDP growth and consumer price inflation in late-2014 and for 2015 overall in the forthcoming Bank of England Quarterly Inflation Report for November.

He said: “We currently expect the first interest rate hike from 0.50% to 0.75% to come in mid-2015. At this stage, we do not think that the Bank of England will delay raising interest rates past mid-2015 as we do expect UK growth to hold up relatively well over the coming months, barring a major global downturn, and we also expect earnings growth to trend up in the early months of 2015.”

However, Archer added it is very possible that the Bank could hold off from raising interest rates until next August.

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