The Reserve Bank of Australia announced a further 0.50 percentage point increase to the cash rate this afternoon. It is the fifth cash rate hike since May, lifting the official interest rate to 2.35, the highest in seven years.
Financial comparison website, RateCity.com.au says the announcement will lift the average borrower’s repayments by $144 a month, based on a $500,000 loan. This will bring the total increase from May, when the latest rate rises began, up to $614 a month. For mortgage holders with loans of $1 million, it represents an extra $1,229 per month over the same period.
Today’s expected rise may not be the end of the increases, with Westpac predicting that the cash rate will rise to 3.35 percent by February 2023.
The increase reflects the RBA’s ongoing efforts to drive down inflation. RBA Governor Philip Lowe said in a statement that the board ‘places a high priority’ on getting inflation down to two or three percent over time, while keeping the economy steady.
“Inflation is expected to peak later this year and then decline back towards the 2–3 per cent range,” Mr Lowe said. “The expected moderation in inflation reflects the ongoing resolution of global supply-side problems, the stabilisation of commodity prices and the impact of rising interest rates.
“Medium-term inflation expectations remain well anchored, and it is important that this remains the case. The Bank’s central forecast is for CPI inflation to be around 7¾ per cent over 2022, a little above 4 per cent over 2023 and around 3 per cent over 2024.”
Following the devastation of recent flooding, experts are urging government intervention to drive the cessation of building in areas at risk.
RMIT expert says a conflation of factors is making the property market hard than ever to predict
A leading property academic has described navigating the current Australian housing market ‘like steering a ship through a thick fog while trying to avoid obstacles’.
Lecturer in RMIT’s School of Property Construction and Project Management Dr Woon-Weng Wong said the combination of consecutive interest rate rises aimed at combating high inflation, higher property prices during the pandemic and cost of living pressures such as the end of the fuel excise that occurred this week made it increasingly difficult for those looking to enter or upgrade to find the right path.
“Property prices grew by approximately 25 percent over the pandemic so it’s unsurprising that much of that growth ultimately proved unsustainable and the market is now correcting itself,” Dr Wong says. “Despite the recent softening, the market is still significantly above its long-term trend and there are substantial headwinds in the coming months. Headline inflation is still red hot, and the central bank won’t back down until it reins in these spiralling prices.”
This should be enough to give anyone considering entering the market pause, he says.
“While falling house prices may seem like an ideal situation for those looking to buy, once the high interest rates, taxes and other expenses are considered, the true costs of owning the property are much higher,” Dr Wong says.
“People also must consider time lags in the rate hikes, which many are yet to feel to brunt of. It can take anywhere from 6 to 24 months before an initial change in interest rates eventually flows on to the rest of the economy, so current mortgage holders and prospective home buyers need to take this into account.”