How a marginal 0.2% rate rise can cost the average Australian $16,800

Belinda Punshon 16 October 2015

Westpac’s call to lift its variable mortgage rate by 20 basis points will affect over 550,000 Australian households. While it’s unusual for lenders to announce rate hikes outside of the Reserve Bank’s cash rate cycle, speculation suggests that this may be trending.

Westpac-rate-increase-november

On Wednesday 14/10/15 Westpac announced that it would increase its variable mortgage interest rate for owner-occupier and residential investment property loans by 20 basis points effective November 2015, in response to APRA’s tightening capital requirements.

Westpac customers will be adversely (and directly) affected by the bank’s decision to lift variable home loan rates, and it appears that many Australian lenders will follow suit and potentially make unexpected rate changes outside of the Reserve Bank’s cycle.

While a 0.2% rate rise may seem insignificant, it’s estimated that Westpac’s decision to boost its variable rate home loan rates next month will affect over half a million Australian households- an estimated 552,000 in total.

For an average mortgage size of $371,200 with a variable rate of 5.45%, monthly repayments would be $2,102.98. With a 0.2% rate increase, however, monthly repayments would boost to $2,102.98 which means you’d need to budget an extra $46.77 per month. The difference over the average life of a 30-year loan would be a staggering $16,836.06.

Interestingly, according to the May finder.com.au RBA Monthly Survey, some economists predicted that the cash rate would start rising in the fourth quarter of this year- an outcome which seems feasible following Westpac’s decision yesterday.

ALSO READ: Learn more about refinancing your mortgage

ALSO READ: How to refinance your home loan

Read on to find out why Westpac made this decision and how you can prepare for future rate rises, and estimate the impact of rate changes on your mortgage repayments.

Rate changes outside Reserve Bank cycle

Our money expert, Michelle Hutchison, says that since May this year several lenders have initiated out of cycle home loan rate changes and that this could be a result of APRA’s capital requirements for lenders to boost the risk weight for home loans.

"In addition to Westpac’s announcement today that will see the bank lift its variable home loan rates by 0.20 percentage points effective from November 20, we’ve actually seen many out of cycle home loan rate changes after the last cash rate cut in May.

"According to the finder.com.au/home-loans database, 407 variable home loans have changed their rates out of cycle since June this year, 352 of which decreased”, she said.

Why did Westpac increase its variable home loan rate?

According to Michelle Hutchison, Westpac initiated this rate rise as a result of APRA’s intervention with regard to capital requirements for the risk weight on Australian home loans.

"With low funding costs and record high household deposits, it seems unusual for banks to be lifting variable rates out of cycle right now. However, Westpac could be preparing early for APRA's capital requirements of the average risk weight on Australian residential mortgage exposures to increase from 16% to at least 25% by July 2016.

"Total household bank deposits is at a record high of $737.3 billion, according to the latest APRA data analysed by finder.com.au. Westpac's household deposits is also sitting at its highest level, at almost $171 billion, as at August 2015”, she said.

Summary of Westpac changes

As at October 2015, Westpac has announced that the following changes will become effective for Westpac customers next month.

  • Owner occupier mortgage variable rates increased by 20 basis points to 5.68% per annum.
  • Residential investment property variable rates increased by 20 basis points to 5.95% per annum.
  • Westpac variable home loan customers that receive a Premier Advantage Package 0.7% per annum will move to 4.98% per annum for owner-occupiers and 5.25% for the residential investment property home loan.
  • No changes to fixed rate mortgages.

What does this mean for the rest of the industry?

With Westpac’s unexpected rate rise announcement, Michelle Hutchison says that further variable mortgage rate hikes could be on the horizon and that other lenders may imitate this move.

"The biggest concern is that Westpac's rate rise could open the floodgates for the other big banks and the rest of the home loan market to follow. So we're expecting to see more variable home loans rise in the coming months.

"Westpac holds 23% of the owner-occupied home loan market share out of all banks monitored by APRA, while the big four banks hold a combined 82%. They set the benchmark for the entire mortgage industry”, she said.

How will this impact me?

The average mortgage size in Australia is currently $371,200 so monthly repayments at 5.48% would be $2,102.98. With Westpac’s 0.2% variable rate increase, however, these monthly repayments will now be $2,149.74 which represents an additional monthly expense of $46.77 which is an extra $561.20 per annum.

The difference over the average life of a loan- 30 years- is a staggering $16,836.06.

Estimate how much a 0.2% variable rate rise could affect your mortgage repayments by using our monthly repayment calculator. Simply enter your details into the calculator and adjust the interest rate to account for future rate hikes to see how your repayments would change.

Alternatively, you can view the table below to see how a 0.2% rate increase would alter your mortgage repayments.

Extra cost per month for different home loan sizes

Home loan balanceCurrent monthly repayments at 5.10%Monthly repayments at 5.30%Difference
$200,000$1,085.90$1,110.61$24.71
$300,000$1,628.85$1,665.91$37.06
$400,000$2,171.80$2,221.22$49.42
$500,000$2,714.75$2,776.52$61.77
$600,000$3,257.70$3,331.83$74.13
$700,000$3,800.65$3,887.13$86.48
$800,000$4,343.60$4,442.44$98.84
$900,000$4,886.55$4,997.74$111.19
$1,000,000$5,429.50$5,553.05$123.55

Based on current average variable home loan rate of 5.1%

Thinking of refinancing your home loan?

You can compare a range of variable and fixed competitive home loans using the comparison table below.

ALSO READ: How much will it cost me to switch lenders?

Compare home loans

$
Loan purpose
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Loan type
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Interest Rate (p.a.) Comp Rate^ (p.a.) Application Fee Ongoing Fees Max LVR Monthly Payment
NAB Choice Package Fixed Rate Home Loan - 2 Year Fixed (Owner Occupier) First Home Buyer Special
A special rate for first home buyers buying residential property and borrowing over $150K. 350,000 NAB Rewards Points offer also available. Conditions apply.
3.69% 4.92% $0 $395 p.a. 90% Go to site More info
3.69% 3.72% $0 $0 p.a. 80% Go to site More info
Greater Bank Ultimate Home Loan - Discounted 1 Year Fixed LVR ≤85% ($150K+ Owner Occupier)
Discount off an already competitive interest rate for loans over $150k. NSW, QLD and ACT residents only.
3.59% 4.48% $0 $375 p.a. 85% Go to site More info
Newcastle Permanent Building Society Fixed Rate Home Loan - 2 Year Fixed (Owner Occupier Special Rate, P&I)
A limited time 2 year fixed rate for owner occupiers. Conditions apply.
3.64% 4.83% $0 $0 p.a. 95% Go to site More info
SCU Basic Variable Rate Home Loan
A basic home loan with a low interest rate and a redraw facility available. Take out a new SCU loan and enjoy $500 cash back on loans above $150k, terms and conditions apply.
3.77% 3.81% $200 $0 p.a. 95% Go to site More info
HSBC Home Value Loan - Resident Owner Occupier only
Enjoy the low variable rate with $0 ongoing fee and borrow up to 90% LVR.
3.85% 3.90% $0 $0 p.a. 90% Go to site More info
State Custodians Low Rate LOC - LVR up to 80% (Owner Occupier)
No application fee and competitive interest rate to access the equity in your home.
3.69% 3.72% $0 $0 p.a. 80% Go to site More info
3.74% 3.74% $0 $0 p.a. 80% Go to site More info
3.59% 4.03% $500 $0 p.a. 95% Go to site More info
Community First Fixed Home Loan - 3 Years Fixed Owner Occupier special offer (New Loans only)
A limited time fixed rate special with no monthly or annual fees plus a 100% offset account.
3.69% 4.93% $600 $0 p.a. 95% Go to site More info
Australian Unity Kick Starter Home Loan
$0 ongoing service fees, maximum 80% LVR and a linked transaction account.
3.79% 3.82% $600 $0 p.a. 80% Go to site More info
IMB Budget Home Loan - Special LVR <=80% (Owner Occupier and Principal & Interest only)
A special limited time offer for owner occupiers. An IMB Transaction Account must be opened with this loan.
3.84% 3.89% $445 $0 p.a. 80% Go to site More info
Heritage Bank Discount Variable Home Loan - Special Rate Offer (Owner Occupier) New Customers Only
A low rate variable home loan offer with no monthly fees or application fee charge.
3.99% 4.04% $600 $0 p.a. 90% Go to site More info
CUA Fresh Start Basic Variable Home Loan - Owner Occupier
A basic mortgage with flexible repayments options.
3.99% 4.04% $600 $0 p.a. 90% Go to site More info
State Custodians Low Rate LOC - LVR 80% to 90% (Owner Occupier)
Borrow up to 90% property value and pay no application fee.
3.79% 3.82% $0 $0 p.a. 90% Go to site More info
Aussie Optimizer Variable Rate - LVR <= 80% (Owner Occupier + P&I)
No application or ongoing fees and fee free extra repayments.
3.86% 3.87% $0 $0 p.a. 80% Enquire now More info
Beyond Bank Low Rate Special Home Loan
A special low variable rate for owner occupiers with 100% offset account and no application or ongoing fees.
3.83% 3.83% $0 $0 p.a. 70% Go to site More info
IMB Budget Home Loan - LVR <=90% (Owner Occupier)
A competitive budget rate without any unwanted bells and whistles.
3.97% 4.02% $445 $0 p.a. 90% Go to site More info
NAB Choice Package Home Loan - 2 Year Fixed (Owner Occupier)
A fixed rate package loan with flexible repayments options. NAB Rewards Points offer available, terms and conditions apply.
3.88% 4.95% $0 $395 p.a. 95% Go to site More info
Newcastle Permanent Building Society Premium Plus Package Home Loan - New Customer Offer ($150,000+ Owner Occupier, P&I)
Apply for a new owner occupier loan or refinance from another lender and receive this discounted rate.
3.84% 4.22% $0 $395 p.a. 95% Go to site More info
SCU My Life Fixed Rate Home Loan Package - 3 Years
Enjoy the same interest rate for 3 years fixed and borrow up to 95% LVR. Enjoy $500 cash back on new loans above $150k, terms and conditions apply.
3.69% 4.00% $0 $350 p.a. 95% Go to site More info
Greater Bank Great Rate Discount Variable with Family Pledge Home Loan - Up to 110% LVR
Discounted rate available with family pledge loans. Family pledge loans require no LMI and no deposit. NSW, Qld and ACT only.
3.89% 3.89% $0 $0 p.a. 110% Go to site More info
QT Mutual Bank Mortgage Saver Home Loan
A low rate home loan with no application or ongoing fees. Note that to be eligible for this loan you must be QLD resident.
3.95% 3.95% $0 $0 p.a. 95% Go to site More info
Bank Australia Basic Home Loan - Variable (Owner Occupier)
A competitive variable that allows borrowers to borrow a minimum of $100,000 with a $0 ongoing fee.
3.86% 3.90% $595 $0 p.a. 80% Go to site More info
Greater Bank Great Rate Home Loan - Discounted Variable ($150K+ Owner Occupier)
A competitive rate with redraw facility. NSW, QLD and ACT residents only.
3.99% 3.99% $0 $0 p.a. 85% Go to site More info
Bank Australia Premium Home Loan Package - 2 Year Fixed (Owner Occupier) LVR < 80%
A discounted 2 year fixed rate loan with high maximum LVR and no application fee.
3.94% 4.35% $0 $350 p.a. 80% Go to site More info
Bank Of Queensland Economy Home Loan - Variable (Owner Occupier)
A basic home loan with additional repayment options.
3.89% 4.04% $300 $10 monthly ($120 p.a.) 95% Go to site More info
Bank Australia Premium Home Loan Package - LVR<=80% $700k + (Owner Occupier)
Enjoy the discounted interest rate with redraw facility and no ongoing fees.
3.82% 4.17% $0 $350 p.a. 80% Go to site More info
CUA Fixed Rate Home Loan - 2 Year Fixed (Owner Occupier)
A fixed home loan with no ongoing fees and flexible repayments options.
3.84% 4.71% $600 $0 p.a. 95% Go to site More info
Australian Unity Health, Wealth and Happiness Package - (Owner Occupier)
Get a 0.60% discount on your rate, a 100% offset account and no ongoing fees.
3.99% 4.02% $600 $0 p.a. 90% Go to site More info
Newcastle Permanent Building Society Fixed Rate Home Loan - 3 Year Fixed (Owner Occupier Special Rate, P&I)
A limited time fixed rate home loan with extra repayment abilities. Conditions apply.
3.74% 4.74% $0 $0 p.a. 95% Go to site More info
Australian Unity Wealth Builder Investor Package Home Loan - Variable
An investment loan with no ongoing fees and borrow up to 90% LVR.
4.19% 4.22% $600 $0 p.a. 90% Go to site More info
Bank of Queensland Fixed Rate Home Loan - 3 Year Fixed Rate Discount Rate $150k+ <80% LVR (Owner Occupier, P&I)
Special offer for new lending of $150k or more & under 80% LVR, this offer has been extended.
3.79% 4.44% $300 $10 monthly ($120 p.a.) 80% Go to site More info
ME Flexible Home Loan Fixed - 3 Year Fixed Rate (Owner Occupier)
A competitive 3 year fixed rate with a redraw facility and split loan options, plus no application fee.
4.19% 4.82% $0 $0 p.a. 95% Go to site More info
Newcastle Permanent Building Society Fixed Rate Home Loan - 2 Years Fixed (Standard Rate, P&I)
Enjoy a low interest rate and borrow up to 95% (with LMI) of your home value.
4.34% 4.96% $0 $0 p.a. 95% Go to site More info
NAB Base Variable Rate Home Loan - Owner Occupier (P&I)
A competitive no frills home loan with no application fees for a limited time. NAB Rewards Points offer available, terms and conditions apply.
4.17% 4.21% $600 $0 p.a. 95% Go to site More info
NAB Choice Package Variable Rate - $250k to $749,999 P&I (Owner Occupier)
A packaged low rate interest offer from NAB. Includes mortgage offset.
4.47% 4.86% $0 $395 p.a. 95% Go to site More info
Newcastle Permanent Building Society Fixed Rate Home Loan - 1 Year Fixed (Standard Rate, P&I)
Get a short term fixed rate for that investment property with no application or ongoing fees.
4.34% 5.02% $0 $0 p.a. 95% Go to site More info
IMB Essential Home Loan - LVR <=90% (Owner Occupier)
Access to redraw facility and offset account without the annual fee.
4.19% 4.19% $0 $0 p.a. 90% Go to site More info
NAB Choice Package Home Loan - 5 Year Fixed (Owner Occupier)
A competitive loan with flexible features. NAB Rewards Points offer available, terms and conditions apply.
4.59% 5.05% $0 $395 p.a. 95% Go to site More info
ANZ Simplicity PLUS Home Loan - Special Offer (Owner Occupier, P&I)
Enjoy a home loan with no application fee or ongoing fee.
4.03% 4.07% $0 $0 p.a. 95% Enquire now More info
3.88% 3.89% $600 $0 p.a. 90% Enquire now More info
St.George Basic Home Loan - Promotional Rate (Owner Occupier, P&I)
A no frills loan with a competitive rate and a maximum LVR of 95%.
3.88% 3.89% $0 $0 p.a. 95% Enquire now More info
Commonwealth Bank Wealth Package Fixed Home Loan - 2 Year Fixed (Owner Occupier) P&I
A package home loan with fee free extra repayments available during the fixed term.
3.99% 5.01% $0 $395 p.a. 95% Enquire now More info
St.George Fixed Rate Advantage Package -  2 Year Fixed Rate (Owner Occupier, P&I)
A discounted package rate for owner occupiers with the ability to package a Qantas rewards earning Amplify credit card. $1,500 cash back available for refinancers, conditions apply.
3.99% 5.04% $0 $395 p.a. 95% Enquire now More info
Westpac Fixed Options Home Loan Premier Advantage Package - 2 Years, P&I
A low interest rate home loan with a low service fee.
3.88% 4.94% $0 $395 p.a. 95% Enquire now More info
Virgin Reward Me Variable Home Loan - LVR <= 80% ($750k+ Owner Occupier)
A variable rate home loan with competitive interest rate and flexible product features that can earn Velocity points.
3.79% 3.92% $0 $10 monthly ($120 p.a.) 80% Enquire now More info

Compare fixed rate home loans

Rates last updated May 29th, 2017.

View latest updates

Jodie Humphries Jodie
$
Loan purpose
Offset account
Loan type
Your filter criteria do not match any product
Interest Rate (p.a.) Comp Rate^ (p.a.) Application Fee Ongoing Fees Max LVR Monthly Payment
Newcastle Permanent Building Society Fixed Rate Home Loan - 2 Year Fixed (Owner Occupier Special Rate, P&I)
A limited time 2 year fixed rate for owner occupiers. Conditions apply.
3.64% 4.83% $0 $0 p.a. 95% Go to site More info
Greater Bank Ultimate Home Loan - Discounted 1 Year Fixed LVR ≤85% ($150K+ Owner Occupier)
Discount off an already competitive interest rate for loans over $150k. NSW, QLD and ACT residents only.
3.59% 4.48% $0 $375 p.a. 85% Go to site More info
SCU My Life Fixed Rate Home Loan Package - 3 Years
Enjoy the same interest rate for 3 years fixed and borrow up to 95% LVR. Enjoy $500 cash back on new loans above $150k, terms and conditions apply.
3.69% 4.00% $0 $350 p.a. 95% Go to site More info
3.59% 4.03% $500 $0 p.a. 95% Go to site More info
Community First Fixed Home Loan - 3 Years Fixed Owner Occupier special offer (New Loans only)
A limited time fixed rate special with no monthly or annual fees plus a 100% offset account.
3.69% 4.93% $600 $0 p.a. 95% Go to site More info
CUA Fixed Rate Home Loan - 2 Year Fixed (Owner Occupier)
A fixed home loan with no ongoing fees and flexible repayments options.
3.84% 4.71% $600 $0 p.a. 95% Go to site More info
Aussie Select Basic Fixed Rate Home Loan - 2 Year Fixed LVR up to 80% (Owner Occupier)
A two year fixed rate home loan with no annual or application fees.
3.99% 4.00% $0 $0 p.a. 80% Enquire now More info
Bank Australia Premium Home Loan Package - 2 Year Fixed (Owner Occupier) LVR < 80%
A discounted 2 year fixed rate loan with high maximum LVR and no application fee.
3.94% 4.35% $0 $350 p.a. 80% Go to site More info
NAB Choice Package Fixed Rate Home Loan - 2 Year Fixed (Owner Occupier) First Home Buyer Special
A special rate for first home buyers buying residential property and borrowing over $150K. 350,000 NAB Rewards Points offer also available. Conditions apply.
3.69% 4.92% $0 $395 p.a. 90% Go to site More info
Newcastle Permanent Building Society Fixed Rate Home Loan - 3 Year Fixed (Owner Occupier Special Rate, P&I)
A limited time fixed rate home loan with extra repayment abilities. Conditions apply.
3.74% 4.74% $0 $0 p.a. 95% Go to site More info
Greater Bank Ultimate Home Loan - Discounted 3 Year Fixed LVR ≤85% ($150K+ Owner Occupier)
Enjoy discounts on insurance products and other accounts with Greater with this package loan. NSW, QLD and ACT residents only.
3.99% 4.49% $0 $375 p.a. 85% Go to site More info
NAB Choice Package Home Loan - 2 Year Fixed (Owner Occupier)
A fixed rate package loan with flexible repayments options. NAB Rewards Points offer available, terms and conditions apply.
3.88% 4.95% $0 $395 p.a. 95% Go to site More info
IMB Platinum Package Fixed Home Loan - 3 Year Fixed (LVR < 90% Owner Occupier)
3 years fixed platinum package with a low interest rate and $0 application fee.
3.89% 4.80% $0 $395 p.a. 90% Go to site More info
Bank of Queensland Fixed Rate Home Loan - 3 Year Fixed Rate Discount Rate $150k+ <80% LVR (Owner Occupier, P&I)
Special offer for new lending of $150k or more & under 80% LVR, this offer has been extended.
3.79% 4.44% $300 $10 monthly ($120 p.a.) 80% Go to site More info
ME Flexible Home Loan Fixed - 3 Year Fixed Rate (Owner Occupier)
A competitive 3 year fixed rate with a redraw facility and split loan options, plus no application fee.
4.19% 4.82% $0 $0 p.a. 95% Go to site More info
Greater Bank Ultimate Home Loan - Discounted 5 Year Fixed LVR ≤85% ($150K+ Owner Occupier)
Keep your loan below 85% LVR with a loan amount above $150k and this discounted 5 year fixed rate. NSW, QLD and ACT residents only.
4.39% 4.62% $0 $375 p.a. 85% Go to site More info
NAB Choice Package Home Loan - 5 Year Fixed (Owner Occupier)
A competitive loan with flexible features. NAB Rewards Points offer available, terms and conditions apply.
4.59% 5.05% $0 $395 p.a. 95% Go to site More info
Commonwealth Bank Wealth Package Fixed Home Loan - 2 Year Fixed (Owner Occupier) P&I
A package home loan with fee free extra repayments available during the fixed term.
3.99% 5.01% $0 $395 p.a. 95% Enquire now More info
ANZ Fixed Rate Home Loan - 2 Year Fixed (Owner Occupier, P&I)
Lock in your rate for 2 years with an interest only option.
4.03% 5.08% $600 $10 monthly ($120 p.a.) 95% Enquire now More info
St.George Fixed Rate Advantage Package -  2 Year Fixed Rate (Owner Occupier, P&I)
A discounted package rate for owner occupiers with the ability to package a Qantas rewards earning Amplify credit card. $1,500 cash back available for refinancers, conditions apply.
3.99% 5.04% $0 $395 p.a. 95% Enquire now More info
Westpac Fixed Options Home Loan Premier Advantage Package - 2 Years, P&I
A low interest rate home loan and competitive two year fixed rate.
3.88% 4.94% $0 $395 p.a. 95% Enquire now More info

How can I prepare for future variable mortgage rate rises?

As a savvy borrower, you can take the following precautionary steps to ensure that you’re prepared for a potential rate rise:

  • Research: Compare a range of home loan products from lenders and building societies to see what rates and promotions are on offer.
  • Consider refinancing: If you find a home loan that offers more competitive features or a more attractive rate, you may want to consider switching to another lender. Just ensure that you carefully weigh the costs of switching before initiating this kind of move.
  • Buffer of funds: As a contingency measure, it’s a good idea to ensure that you have a buffer of funds stored away, around 2-3% or an extra $400 of monthly repayments, to ensure that you can cope with any rate rise increases.
  • Speak to professionals: Speak to mortgage brokers and financial planners to ensure that you are sourcing the type of finance product that meets your borrowing needs as well as your personal budget. Try to project your cashflow and budget by accounting for potential rate hikes.

If you’re looking for peace of mind or greater certainty for your home loan repayments, you may want to consider fixing part or all of your home loan through a competitive fixed rate home loan, which you can compare in the table above.

To prepare for potential variable rate increases, Michelle Hutchison says that you should practice due diligence and conduct thorough research to ensure that you’re getting the most competitive deal.

“We’re clearly seeing banks respond to APRA’s crackdown, and expect to see further movement in the residential lending space so watch this space. For borrowers, it’s definitely the time to do your research when shopping around for a home loan to ensure you’re getting the best possible deal for your situation as competition looks set to get tighter”, she says.

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