The outgoing Bank of England (BoE) deputy governor Sir Charlie Bean has said it is "reasonable" to expect interest rates to return to 5% within a decade.
Market expectations of rates rising to 2.5% over the next three years appeared a "broadly sensible judgment", he said, adding it was rational to expect further increases from there.
Bean (pictured), who will step down from his BoE role on 30 June, said it "may well be so" that rates could return to 5% within ten years.
"I wouldn't want to say it will be back there in ten years," he said in an interview with Sky News, [but] it might be reasonable to think that, in that very long term, you would go back to 5%, but it's probably quite a long way down the road."
Homeowners have benefited from a historically low base rate of 0.5% for five years, but that has meant paltry returns for savers and cautious investors.
But rumours of a rate rise have been on the increase in recent months as the economy has recovered. Last week, the Bank's governor, Mark Carney, suggested the base rate would rise to a "new normal" of 2.5% by 2017.
Carney (right), who had been accused of behaving like an "unreliable boyfriend" by hinting at a rate rise in 2014, has urged savers to focus on the "big picture" rather than obsess about interest rates.
Meanwhile, market expectations on interest rates have begun to impact homeowners' decisions, according to figures from the BoE.
While more than a third (36%) of all mortgage debt is on fixed-rate deals, this rises to 86% for loans signed in the first three months of 2014, according to data cited by The Sunday Times.