It doesn’t seem that long ago that both first time buyers and home movers were reasonably relaxed about what they would be paying for their mortgage – indeed rates had remained fairly stable and at very low levels for some years.
Then the conflict in Ukraine arrived and things got a little less relaxed. Not only did rates begin to rise, albeit slowly, but the general cost of living also began to increase.
However. Just when you thought that the worst might have hit, along came the new Prime Minister and her Chancellor with their mini budget. Not what the doctor ordered.
Some have described it as disastrous – certainly by any measure it had a damaging impact on the UK economy and especially interest rates.
The knock on effect over the following few months has been felt by the whole country and most definitely by people either looking to buy a home for the first time or those looking to move or renew their mortgage deal.
We have since seen interest rates rise at a rapid pace, with base rate predictions of well over 6% and nearing 7%.
Mortgage rates have risen accordingly making it significantly more difficult for anyone whose mortgage deal is coming an end and putting off those who might be first time buyers.
Given the difficulties over the last few months one could be forgiven for wondering if or when the pain will end.
Well, perhaps there may be, just may be, some light at the end of the tunnel.
Firstly, the predictions of ever increasing base rates have resided somewhat. Secondly, inflation seems to be falling, possibly not as quickly as we’d like, but still falling.
Finally, and most importantly for home buyers and those with a mortgage, a number of major lenders have begun to reduce their mortgage rates.
In recent days, Halifax, HSBC, Nationwide, NatWest, Virgin Money and TSB have all cut their rates.
Again, not by as much as we might like, but still enough to make a difference.
Now the big question is, we will return to the era of ultra low rates?
The consensus appears to be no. In fact many experts believe rates of around 1% or so were actually the exception and normal looks more like 4% or 5%.
That said, if you can now base your affordability on those higher rates, then at the very least any fall in rates can be seen more as a bonus than a necessary requirement.
So, is this a good time to get a mortgage or to buy?
As ever it depends on your individual circumstances but the best place to start is speaking to a mortgage broker.