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Bank holds base rate at 0.5% and continues with QE

The Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee has decided to keep rates on hold at 0.5% and to continue with its £175bn quantitative easing programme.

The MPC say it expects the announced programme to take another month to complete and that the scale of the programme will be kept under review.

As at October 1 the Bank has spent over £158bn on its asset purchase programme.

Yesterday Roger Bootle, the managing director of Capital Economics, predicted that interest rates would stay at their current level for the next five years.

Ben Thompson, director of mortgages, at Legal & General says: “There’s been a notable shift in popularity towards tracker rates as expectations of a long period of low interest rates become entrenched amongst borrowers.”

Figures from L&G Mortgage Club show that almost one in five mortgages applied for through the club were tracker rates, up from 12% in the previous quarter.

Thompson says he expects this figure to have risen by the end of the year.

He adds: “We expect the MPC to hold interest rates steady for some time but rises are inevitable, so borrowers must be prepared.”

Ray Boulger, senior technical manager at John Charcol, says: ““Today’s no change decision may be a bit of a non-event but there is at last some action back in the mortgage market.

“September saw the usual seasonal upturn and over the last few days we have at last started to see some real competition from lenders, albeit primarily for lower LTV business.

“Although the cost of fixed rate mortgages has fallen a little over the last month most still look expensive in relation to tracker/discount rates, some of which have also fallen during the month.

“Thus variable rates continue to look more attractive for those borrowers who don’t need or want the security of a fixed rate.”

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