Interest rates stay the same

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The Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) has voted to keep interest rates the same - refusing the option to raise them past their current level of 5.5 per cent.

The announcement will no doubt be welcomed by the nation's homeowners and buy-to-let landlords - who have had to endure interest rate increases of one per cent over the last ten months.

But many believe that another rise could be on the cards some time over the summer months - as inflation is running above the MPC's target rate of two per cent and will continue to increase over the course of the year if interest rates remain at their current level, according to the MPC's own forecasts.

"It is no real surprise that the Bank of England is holding fire this month in order to monitor the impact of three base rate rises since November 2006," said Stephen Leonard, director of Mortgages at Alliance & Leicester.

"While house prices are generally cooling, as is often the case they vary by region and judging the overall impact is complex.

"Housing and economic activity tends to fall off during the summer months, and with many commentators suggesting that any further rate rise may not occur until August, borrowers may be able to heave a sigh of relief, particularly if rates are now nearing their peak and begin to stabilise, or even fall within the next six months."

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