Tracker mortgages do a disappearing act

15 December 2008 / by Rebecca Sargent
The number of tracker mortgage deals available has dropped to just 45 overall and there is no sign of more reappearing, despite the Bank of England's decision to cut interest rates to two per cent says Moneyfacts.co.uk.

The tracker mortgage research shows the apparent dead end that the UK mortgage market has come to as interest rates continue to drop but lenders fail to pass them on to customers.

In fact, according to Darren Cook, mortgage expert at Moneyfacts.co.uk, despite the most recent base rate cut of a whole percentage point, the average tracker mortgage interest rate has only fallen by 0.85 per cent.

More often than not, lenders have been withdrawing their tracker mortgage ranges to new customers following the announcement of a Bank base rate cut. However this time they have failed to reappear.

Mr Cook said: "After November's base rate cut, new tracker rate mortgage deals quickly disappeared from view, but this time around they have failed to return to the market, mounting speculation that mortgage providers have strong views and expectations that base rate will be cut again."

In fact, according to Moneyfacts.co.uk, on December 3 there were 53 two year tracker mortgage deals on the market, but just eight days later there were 13, and this reduction remains.

Mr Cook continued: "Predictably we have now reached the point where Banks and Building Societies have decided on which side of their balance sheets they are wiling to support. There is now a reluctance to cut rates in the fear that saver's deposits might begin to move elsewhere."

Commenting on the unlikely return of the tracker mortgage, he added: "I would be surprised if we see many more announcements this time around and if a further base rate cut materialises early in the New Year, I foresee an even lesser impact on new mortgage borrowing."

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