After last month’s pleasantly surprising drop in the UK Consumer Price Index (CPI) to 4%, homeowners were once more given cause for concern about a rise in interest rates when the figures for April showed an increase of 0.05% to 4.5%. The figure was just as surprising as the March ones really but altogether more unpleasant.
The prospect of a hike in interest rates has once more been raised and consumers already paying over the odds for fuel, home insurance products and energy will be more than a little concerned.
Economists rewriting their scripts
The drop in last month’s figures coupled with the gloomy recovery predictions from Mervyn King, the Governor of the Bank of England (BoE) had led pundits to believe that the record low Base Rate of interest would remain the same for the rest of this year. They are now revising their forecasts once again with economists appearing in front of TV screens seemingly every day, voicing their opinions.
Been wrong before
November is now reckoned to be the time when interest rates will start to go up but city forecasters have been wrong before and just for an example of how wrong they can be the long term forecast for interest rates in May 2011 by a leading economist in August 2009 was actually 3.5%. That is some way out, and remember in August 2009 we already had rates of 0.05%.
5% the tipping point
Of course if inflation is at 4.5% now, then the predicted increases in energy costs in the autumn may well take them over what many see as the pivotal figure of 5%. Inflation over 5% would really point to the BoE as having lost its grip on the economy and would probably result in an interest rate increase.
Getting house in order now may pay dividends
How many homeowners will try and organise their finances around an interest rate hike is anyone’s guess, but the time may be right for consumers to get a new home insurance quotation if their policy is due for renewal and the same could apply in regard to their energy and home loan providers. Making sure one can manage the essential bills over a period of a few years can take a great deal of stress from the financial management of any household.