Half of homeowners unconcerned by looming rate rise
A survey by the Halifax found that while two in five mortgage holders (41%) say they are concerned there are wide regional variations.
Most likely to say they are not concerned are homeowners in the North East (61%), Wales (60%) and Scotland (58%). But homeowners in the South East (53%) are the most concerned, followed by the South West (49%).
A third of mortgage holders (30%) in the North West said they would find it difficult to afford monthly repayments if the amount increased by up to £50. In Scotland and North England one in five (20% and 21%) respectively would find it difficult to afford payments if they increased by up to £50.
In the West Midlands, 45% of homeowners would find it difficult to afford repayments if they increased by up to £100 while 60% would find it difficult to afford payments if they increased by up to £150.
The South West saw 46% saying they would struggle if their monthly mortgage payment was £100 higher.
Other groups who are more likely than others to say they are concerned about interest rate rises impacting their mortgage payments are women (45%), those aged 35-44 (50%), families with children (48%), and those with variable rate mortgages (57%, compared to 43% of those with a fixed rate mortgage).
Nationally, one in ten mortgage holders (13%) say they are concerned that they would find it difficult to afford their monthly mortgage repayments if the amount was up to £50 higher. A third (33%) say they would struggle if the amount was up to £100 higher, and this figure rises to 42% for those on variable rate mortgages.
Commenting, Craig McKinlay, mortgages director at Halifax, said: “Speculation of a potential rate rise has been high up on the news agenda for some time now so it is perhaps surprising that the majority of homeowners are not concerned about this.
“However, with base rate historically low, and the Bank of England reinforcing its position that there will not be a rush of successive rate rises, it is understandable as to why the perceived impact of future rises is being dampened and homeowner sentiment is reflecting this.
“With the base rate remaining at 0.5% for over five years, a significant number of homeowners have not yet experienced the effects of a rate rise.
“While responsible mortgage lenders take in account potential rate increases as part of the affordability checks in the mortgage application process, the way in which people manage their remaining disposable income will be a key factor in how well they can adjust to any changes in rates.”