Severe Impact of High Interest Rate

The first few weeks of 2007 have brought a high level of work to Lines Henry. We have seen three double glazing businesses, all from different areas of the country. Each had a similar story, from December the normal level of enquiries just dried up. At this stage it’s hard to say what, if anything, is going on. The rise in interest rates last month and anticipated future rises during 2007 are likely to have a severe impact on “discretionary spending”. We are aware from our IVA business that many people currently have fixed rate mortgages. Upwards of 60% of borrowers have fixed rate deals at the moment, to protect themselves against interest rate fluctuations. These are normally fixed for 5 years or less. There are approximately 50,000 households per month coming off fixed rate deals, who need to secure a new deal. Anyone currently paying 3.99% may well now be faced with an increase of 50%, in interest, when their current deal ends. Following the rise in interest rates last month, a number of lenders suspended fixed rate products and some withdrew their entire range. It will be interesting to see how this affects consumer confidence over the next 12 months. We certainly anticipate an increase in enquiries from the retail sector and those businesses supplying non essential goods and services.