Personal Finance

What is a tracker mortgage?

A tracker mortgage ‘tracks’ the Bank of England base rate, meaning your mortgage stays in line with interest rates and the market in general. The result on your monthly mortgage interest payments is that they go up when the base rate goes up and go down when the base rate goes down.

A tracker mortgage works in a similar way to a standard variable rate mortgage in that it follows the rate imposed by the Bank of England. Whereas the standard variable rate mortgage changes monthly or annually a tracker mortgage usually guarantees to follow changes in the bank base rate within 14 days of it happening. Thereby the borrower benefits from both falls and rises in the interest rates sooner.

A tracker rate is one that has a fixed differential to the Bank of England rate and is contractually bound to change within a certain time of the Bank changing its rate. Thus, the tracker mortgage might follow the base rate up and down as it fluctuates. The mortgage lender will make profit by charging an amount over the base rate.

This kind of mortgage is useful for people who are happy for their outgoings to change, but want their mortgage to reflect the changing costs of borrowing. Tracker mortgages are often suited to borrowers who are looking for cheap initial payments and can take the risk that their payments could increase at a later date.

The main difference from a variable rate mortgage is that a tracker mortgage will be guaranteed to go up and down with changes to the interest rates. A variable rate mortgage will not.

There are three basic types of tracker mortgages: ones that track the base rate for the life of the loan; and those that run at an agreed differential to the base rate for a given amount of time before returning to the standard variable rate; and finally those in that the lender promises that the difference between the base rate and the mortgage rate will not go beyond a certain level.

When people are remortgaging, it’s tempting to be attracted to the best mortgage rate on the market, which often tends to be a discount or a tracker mortgage.

About the author
John Mussi is the founder of Direct Online Loans who help UK homeowners find the best available loans via the website.