The Bank of England definitely knows how to keep us on our toes.
In a surprising move, the monetary policy committee voted by a majority of 5-4 to maintain the base rate at 5.25%.
This is the first time in two years that a decision has been made to not increase the base rate. We’ve previously seen 14 consecutive increases and many experts were waiting with baited breath for the 15th.
But this staggering run of rate hikes has now ended, and for now - it’s still 5.25%.
This news comes after it was revealed that the UK’s annual inflation rate had slowed to 6.7% last month compared to 6.8% in July.
This was actually 0.4 percentage points below expectations at the time of the last Bank of England committee meeting.
This turn of events must have influenced the final decision by the Bank of England, as their goal has always been to tackle inflation. By increasing the base rate it encourages saving and reduces spending, therefore lowering inflation.
However, the Bank of England is still a long way from its target of 2%, so we aren’t out of the woods yet.
As the base rate has stalled this will be welcomed by homeowners and those hoping to get on the property ladder. Previously, mortgage rates had increased to more than 6% on two and five-year fixed-rates, putting extreme pressure on homeowners.
Hopefully, this news will mean rates start to calm down for borrowing.
But on the flip side - what will it mean for your savings?
So far, the base rate rises have positively impacted interest rates on savings accounts and we’ve seen rates climb on all types of accounts.
Fixed-rate savings accounts have issued some of the best rates with more than 6% if you are prepared to lock your money away for a fixed amount of time.
Easy and instant access accounts have also been rewarding savers with around 5% in return for more flexibility.
But it’s regular savers where the big rates lie, as Nationwide recently revealed its 8% Flex Regular Saver, which allows customers to save up to £200 every month for 12 months.
This shows there are still great deals for savers, but the key is always to compare savings accounts to find the best rate that suits your needs.
An illustration of how savings rates have changed in relation to the Bank of England base rate over the two past years. The average rates have been calculated by taking the rates from the whole of market at the time of the base rate change. Source: Defaqto and Bank of England data.
BSA has found that 34% of UK savers never compare the rate on their savings accounts to others available in the market.
Robin Fieth, chief executive of the BSA, added: “Despite lots of media and government attention on savings rates following the significant increases in the bank rate, it’s perhaps surprising that the level of engagement people have with their personal finances remains fairly low.
“As savings rates have been increasing over recent months, shopping around can now make a sizable difference to the returns available.”
Currently, the monthly average savings rate is 4.6%, so if your money is sitting in an account with lower interest, now could be a good time to compare savings accounts and earn more money.
After all, we might not see these big savings rates for much longer - yes, the Bank of England could increase rates again, but there is also a chance that rates have now peaked.
Let’s see what happens at the next Bank of England meeting on November 2...
As a trained journalist, Lucinda has spent the past 10 years writing and editing content for regional and national titles, including The Mirror, WalesOnline and Manchester Evening News. She is now a personal finance editor and specialises in savings, helping people to make confident financial decisions so they can save for what matters most.