The Bank of England has announced its decision to keep the base interest rate steady at 5.25%, marking the fourth consecutive time this rate has been maintained. The Monetary Policy Committee’s decision was split, with a vote of 6 to 3. Two members voted for an increase, and one voted for a decrease.
This decision means the interest rate remains at a 15-year high at the start of the new year, reflecting the Bank’s cautious approach in managing inflation.
Andrew Bailey, the Governor of the Bank of England, and Huw Pill, Chief Economist, are both believed to be in favor of holding the rate steady.
The decision comes against the backdrop of a surprise increase in inflation in December to 4% from 3.9%. However, most City analysts are optimistic, believing inflation is on a downward trend, with some predicting it will reach the Government’s target of 2% by April.
Industry reactions to the decision are varied:
Susannah Streeter, head of money and markets at Hargreaves Lansdown, says, “There were no bold moves in sight, just another hold from Bank of England policymakers. However, all attention is on the mood music from the Bank of England rather than just the drum beat of the rate decision.”
Matt Smith, Mortgage Expert at Rightmove, comments, “Another hold in the base rate today also shows that the Bank will also be cautious not to overshoot base rate rises, and will be keen to maintain the current stability.”
Jason Tebb, President of OnTheMarket, adds, “The fourth hold in rates in as many meetings of the Monetary Policy Committee will come as further relief for buyers and sellers.”
Jonathan Samuels, CEO of Octane Capital, notes, “Today’s decision to keep the base rate held should bring further positivity for the economy and the property market, in particular.”
Guy Gittins, CEO at Foxtons, remarks, “The potential now is that mortgage rates could start to climb following a fourth consecutive decision to keep the base rate frozen at 5.25%.”
Verona Frankish, CEO of Yopa, states, “Today’s decision won’t necessarily add to the property market positivity seen so far this year, but it certainly won’t diminish it either.”
Marc von Grundherr, Director of Benham and Reeves, observes, “The property market has made considerable strides forward since the Bank of England first held the base rate at 5.25%.”
Ruth Beeton, Co-Founder of Home Sale Pack, reflects, “While it’s reassuring to see continued certainty in the form of a freeze on interest rates, it will do little to boost an otherwise sluggish property market.”
Colby Short, Co-founder and CEO of GetAgent, mentions, “Today’s decision to hold the base rate at 5.25% marks six months since the last interest rate hike.”
Nathan Emerson, CEO at Propertymark, suggests, “It is positive to see that many people intending to buy their first home or sell their current one won’t be hindered by an increase in interest rates.”
John Phillips, CEO of Spicerhaart and Just Mortgages, adds, “Continuity and stability is a positive, especially for those not on a fixed rate deal.”
Ben Thompson, Deputy CEO at Mortgage Advice Bureau, says, “A hold was always the most likely decision – and will continue to give markets confidence that the Bank of England is still on track to cut rates later this year.”
Jeremy Leaf, a north London estate agent and former RICS residential chairman, concludes, “Although improving, the property market remains sensitive and fragile.”