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Bank has ‘room to raise interest rates’ without hitting borrowers

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21/10/2013
The Bank of England (BoE) could increase interest rates a "fair amount" without hurting homeowners taking advantage of the government's Help to Buy scheme, according to one of its policymakers.
Bank has ‘room to raise interest rates’ without hitting borrowers

The BBC reports Ben Broadbent, who sits on the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC), has said rates could go up a fair amount before “borrowers got into great difficulties”.

Concerns over potential rate rises have been mounting as signs of a housing market bubble re-emerge.

An upswing in prices, caused in part by the Government’s scheme, has spooked fears that borrowers are once again over-extending themselves and could be caught out if rates suddenly rise.

However, Broadbent stressed a rate rise would not be allowed to “choke off” recovery.

Rates would only increase if the economy was in good health, or if inflation was out of control, Broadbent said. “We want to ensure that this recovery continues and is not choked off by a premature rise in interest rates,” he told Sky News.

The base rate has been at a record low of 0.5% since 2009.

A rise in rates would mean hiked mortgage payments for most homeowners who are not on fixed rates, which could lead to a rise in repossessions should people be unable to afford their monthly payments.

But Broadbent added: “I think their is a fair amount they could go up before borrowers got into great difficulties.”

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