It is a mortgage with an interest rate guaranteed to be an agreed amount above the Bank of England base rate or another financial indicator.
It is guaranteed to change every time the rate it tracks goes up or down.
For example, a mortgage that tracks the Bank of England base rate at 2% above it would charge interest at 2.25% while the base rate was 0.25%.
If the base rate rose to 0.75%, your new mortgage rate would be 2.75%
If the base rate fell to 0%, your new mortgage rate would be 2%
The Bank of England base rate can increase, which would mean your mortgage interest rate and the amount you have to repay each month would go up as well.
How long do they last?
Most offer tracker interest rates for a set period lasting up to five years.
After this period ends you will pay the lender's standard variable rate (SVR) instead, which is an interest rate the lender sets and can change at any time. It is usually higher than most tracker rates.
If you want to pay it off before the tracker period ends or switch to a cheaper mortgage, you usually have to pay an early repayment charge, which can cost thousands of pounds.
Some mortgages come with tracker interest rates that last until it is paid off.
Lifetime trackers often come without early repayment charges, unlike deals with a rate guaranteed for a few years. This means you can pay them off or move to a better mortgage without paying this fee whenever you want.
Compare every tracker rate mortgage available, including lifetime trackers, using this comparison.
Other types of interest rate you can get
Variable interest rates can increase or decrease at any time because they are set by the lender
Fixed interest rates will stay the same for a period of up to ten years
Discount interest rates can change at any time but stay a certain percentage less than the lender's SVR
Capped interest rates can be tracker, discount or variable, but they specify a maximum interest rate they will not go above
Tracker rate mortgage FAQs
What happens when my tracker rate ends?
You will be moved to the lender's standard variable rate (SVR). This is likely to be higher, meaning you will pay more each month.
Can I pay off my mortgage before the tracker rate ends?
Yes, but many lenders charge you if you repay or switch them before the tracker rate ends.
What is the longest tracker rate available?
Some tracker mortgages last for the entire mortgage term, meaning they track the base rate until you pay it off.
Will applying for a mortgage affect my credit rating?
Yes, every application for credit you make appears on your credit record, so avoid applying for too many. Here is how your credit history works.