Borrowers opt for long term fixed rates

Mortgages Direct says a record numbers of borrowers are opting for long-term fixed rate deals as homebuyers fear that rates will not only rise imminently but increase even further over the next five years.

Mortgages Directs monthly survey reveals that number of five year fixed rate loans, comprising of 26% of all mortgages arranged in May, have increased to their highest levels.

This is despite a general hardening in the swap rate market and a widespread increase, albeit of only a modest 0.10% to 0.15% so far, in interest rate levels for fixed rate deals in anticipation of a base rate rise later this year.

Although the Bank of England has kept interest rates at 4.5% for 10 months now, fixed rate mortgages have been going up in price as many lenders have factored in an increase in their fixed rates in anticipation of a base rate rise later this year.

In contrast tracker mortgages, whose rates have stayed static, are more competitive than fixed rate deals.

Despite this, Mortgages Directs survey reveals that the number of borrowers opting for tracker mortgages has decreased from 14% in April to 8% in May.

Peter Gladdy, director of Mortgages Direct, says: With the increasing speculation that interest rates will rise in the imminent future, more borrowers are becoming a lot more cautious.

They are not prepared to take the chance that the rates will only increase by the already widely speculated amount of a quarter per cent.

They fear further hikes in the forthcoming years. An increasing number of borrowers are weighing up the benefits of cheaper rates against long term security and are currently opting to pay above the odds for long term security.

With interest rates in historical terms at inherently modest levels, borrowers are showing little confidence that the rates will remain at this level.

Despite the competitive tracker deals currently on offer, borrowers are worried that repayments with a tracker could rise beyond their budget.