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How To Decide Between Fixed-Rate and Tracker Mortgages

Personal_Finance / Mortgages Oct 05, 2010 - 02:15 AM GMT

By: Credit_Choices

Personal_Finance

Best Financial Markets Analysis ArticleOne of the biggest decisions to make when taking on a mortgage is whether to go for a fixed-rate mortgage or a tracker mortgage. You need to consider your own personal circumstances, and all the potential outcomes of being signed up to each kind of mortgage.


Different mortgage deals are suited to people in different circumstances.

Fixed-rate mortgages

The main advantage of a fixed-rate mortgage deal is that, usually for a set period, it removes the danger of being subjected to a sudden hike in monthly repayments, should there be an increase in interest rates. With a fixed-rate mortgage, you can budget effectively for the long term.

The main disadvantage of a fixed-rate mortgage is that, while the Bank of England base rate is low, they tend to be significantly more expensive than tracker mortgages linked to that base rate.

Tracker mortgages

The main advantage of a tracker mortgage is, which the Bank of England base rate is low, tracker mortgage deals are a lot cheaper than fixed-rate mortgages.

However, being linked to the base rate makes tracker mortgages a lot more risky, and predicting the future of the base rate is impossible.

If the base rate suddenly increases, you could find yourself with much higher monthly payments, but with the same income as you had before. A steep change in the base rate can add hundreds to the monthly repayments on a tracker mortgage.

Keeping up repayments

One of the main things to consider when signing up for a mortgage deal is whether or not you will be able to keep up the monthly repayments. If you are considering a fixed-rate mortgage, this is a relatively simple calculation to make. However, with a tracker mortgage, you need to consider all possible outcomes and make sure you could keep up the repayments even in the worst-case scenario of very high interest rates.

Whichever type of mortgage deal you choose, you need to have a contingency plan in case of redundancy, pay cuts or other unforeseen circumstances. Some people choose to take out mortgage protection to cover themselves for potential problems.

Bank of England base rate

Nobody can accurately predict future base rate changes. However, if you it can help to consider what the experts are saying about the future of the base rate, and to get independent advice from a mortgage advisor or independent financial advisor (IFA) so that you are basing your decision on as much information as possible.

Mortgage size

The size of your mortgage is a very important factor to consider when deciding which type of mortgage deal to sign up to. The larger your mortgage is, the bigger the risk of taking on a tracker mortgage. Even if the base rate does go up, a smaller mortgage will mean a relatively small change in repayments.

Capped tracker mortgages

Another option to look into is the capped tracker mortgage. This means that although the mortgage repayments track the base rate, they cannot rise above a certain, set level. This mitigates your risk and can be a good compromise.

Droplock tracker mortgages

A droplock tracker is a type is tracker mortgage which is flexible in that you are allowed to switch to a fixed-rate mortgage if you choose to do so. This is another way to compromise, giving you a safe way out if the base rate rises steeply.

Credit Choices on mortgages.

© 2010 Copyright Credit Choices - All Rights Reserved Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilising methods believed to be reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any losses you may incur as a result of this analysis. Individuals should consult with their personal financial advisors.


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