This type of mortgage sets the interest rate you will pay for a given period of time – thereby guaranteeing that the amount you pay back each month will not change for that period. When the fixed period expires, you will revert to the lender’s Standard Variable Rate.
The obvious advantages of fixed rate mortgages are that if you are having to budget carefully over the first few years of your mortgage then you know how much you will be paying each month and you won’t be caught out by any surprise increases in the interest rate.
Likewise, if interest rates rise above the fixed rate you are paying then you have the satisfaction of knowing you are saving money.
The reverse is also true however. If interest rates drop below the fixed rate you will lose out, but you will still be sure of how much has to come out of your bank account each month.
The most popular fixed-rate mortgages usually last for a period of 1 year, 2 year, 3 year or 5 year with the best rates occurring in the one to three year time frame. Some lenders offer fixed-rate mortgages lasting 10 years or more – in some cases, the full length of the mortgage term.
How long a fixed rate you opt for will depend on your view of how interest rates are going to move over the next few years, as well as the comfort you may get from knowing that whatever changes do occur, your payments will not change for that period.
Fixed rates have proved very popular with people looking to protect themselves against interest rate movements, particularly as variable interest rates have been as high as 18% in the past. However, recent years have seen interest rates fall and many borrowers have been turning to base rate tracker mortgages instead to ensure that they benefit from those rate decreases as they occur.
Also, be aware there can be catches, such as extended tie-ins.
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