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

Posted: 16 October 2015 10:21 am News

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 balance Current 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?

Rates last updated January 26th, 2020
$
Loan purpose
Offset account
Loan type
Repayment type
Your filter criteria do not match any product
Name Product Interest Rate (p.a.) Comp Rate^ (p.a.) Application Fee Ongoing Fees Max LVR Monthly Payment Short Description
St.George Basic Home Loan - LVR 60% to 80% (Owner Occupier, P&I)
2.99%
3.01%
$500 (waived for loans above $150,000)
$0 p.a.
80%
Online only cashback offer: Refinancers borrowing $250,000 or more can get a $4,000 cashback for their first application (Other terms, conditions and exclusions apply). Buyers and refinancers can get this competitive variable interest rate. Application fee waived for loans above $150,000.

loans.com.au Smart Home Loan - (Owner Occupier, P&I)
2.88%
2.90%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Get one of the lowest variable interest rates on the market and pay 0 application or ongoing fees.
Macquarie Bank Basic Home Loan - LVR up to 70% (Owner Occupier, P&I)
3.09%
3.09%
$0
$0 p.a.
70%
A simple mortgage with no application or ongoing fees that has extra repayments plus split and redraw options. Requires a 30% deposit.
UBank UHomeLoan Variable Rate - Discount offer for Owner Occupiers, P&I Borrowing over $200,000
2.84%
2.84%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Enjoy flexible repayments, a redraw facility and the ability to split your loan. Plus, pay no application or ongoing fees.
Bank of Melbourne Basic Home Loan - LVR above 60% up to 80% (Owner Occupiers, P&I)
2.99%
3.01%
$500 (waived for loans above $150,000)
$0 p.a.
80%
Online cashback offer: Refinancers borrowing $250,000 or more can get a $4,000 cashback for their first application (Other terms, conditions and exclusions apply). A low variable interest rate for home buyers and refinancers. Application fee waived for loans above $150,000.
Suncorp Back to Basics Home Loan - Better Together Special Offer $150k+ LVR<=90% Incl. LMI (Owner Occupier, P&I)
3.03%
3.04%
$0
$0 p.a.
90%
Get one free online redraw per month and pay no ongoing fees. Application fees are waived for loans above $150,000.
Greater Bank Great Rate Home Loan - Discounted 1 Year Fixed LVR ≤90% ($150K+ Owner Occupier)
2.79%
3.82%
$0
$0 p.a.
90%
Get one of the lowest rates on the market with this fixed rate mortgage. Available with just a 10% deposit. Guarantor option available. NSW, QLD and ACT residents only.
Macquarie Bank Basic Home Loan - LVR ≤ 80% (Owner Occupier, P&I)
3.19%
3.19%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Pay no application and ongoing fees and take advantage of split and redraw options.
Easy Street Standard Variable Special Home Loan
2.95%
2.99%
$500
$0 p.a.
95%
This mortgage combines a very sharp interest rate with a 100% offset account and it's available with a 5% deposit.
State Custodians Low Rate Home Loan with Offset - LVR up to 80% (Owner Occupier, P&I)
2.90%
2.92%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
This loan offers a competitive variable rate and a 100% offset account to help save you on interest repayments. This loan is not available for construction.
Macquarie Bank Offset Home Loan Package - LVR ≤ 80% (Owner Occupier, P&I)
3.19%
3.45%
$0
$248 p.a.
80%
Has a 100% offset account which helps you save on the amount of interest you pay on your mortgage.
Well Home Loans Balanced Variable - (Owner occupier, P&I)
2.92%
2.96%
$250
$0 p.a.
90%
A very low variable interest rate for borrowers with a 20% deposit. Add a 100% offset account for $10 a month.
Easy Street Fixed Home Loan - 2 Year (Owner Occupier, P&I)
2.99%
3.74%
$500
$0 p.a.
95%
Enjoy 2 year fixed rate with no ongoing fee and a 100% offset account. Available with a 5% deposit.
Greater Bank Ultimate Home Loan - Discounted 1 Year Fixed LVR ≤90% ($150K+ Owner Occupier)
2.79%
4.04%
$0
$395 p.a.
90%
Get one of the lowest fixed mortgage rates on the market plus a 100% offset account. Available with just a 10% deposit. Guarantor option available. NSW, QLD and ACT residents only.
BankSA Basic Home Loan - Promotional Rate (Owner Occupier, P&I)
2.99%
3.01%
$500 (waived for loans above $150,000)
$0 p.a.
80%
Online only cashback offer: Refinancers borrowing $200,000 or more can get a $4,000 cashback for their first application (Other terms, conditions and exclusions apply). Buyers and refinancers can get this competitive variable interest rate. Application fee waived for loans above $150,000.
State Custodians Low Rate Home Loan with Offset - LVR up to 70% (Owner Occupier, P&I)
2.83%
2.85%
$0
$0 p.a.
70%
A competitive rate with no application or ongoing fee. This loan is not available for construction.
Greater Bank Great Rate Home Loan - Discounted 2 Year Fixed LVR ≤90% ($150K+ Owner Occupier)
2.97%
3.75%
$0
$0 p.a.
90%
A discounted 2 years fixed rate for home buyers. Available with just a 10% deposit. Guarantor option available. NSW, QLD and ACT residents only.
loans.com.au Smart Home Loan - (Investor, P&I)
3.19%
3.21%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
A competitive variable investor rate for borrowers with 20% deposits. Low fees, redraw facilities and repayment flexibility.
Easy Street Fixed Home Loan - 3 Year (Owner Occupier, P&I)
3.09%
3.69%
$500
$0 p.a.
95%
Enjoy 3 year fixed rate with no ongoing fee.
loans.com.au Essentials - Variable (Owner Occupier, P&I)
3.04%
3.06%
$0
$0 p.a.
90%
A simple mortgage with a competitive interest rate and no application or monthly fees. Borrow up to $2000000 from a convenient online lender.
UBank UHomeLoan - 3 Year Fixed Rate (Owner Occupier, P&I)
2.69%
3.19%
$395
$0 p.a.
80%
A competitive fixed interest rate loan with no ongoing fees. Requires a 20% deposit.
Greater Bank Great Rate Home Loan - Discounted 3 Year Fixed LVR ≤90% ($150K+ Owner Occupier)
2.97%
3.68%
$0
$0 p.a.
90%
Discounted 3 years fixed rate with no ongoing fees and a redraw facility. Guarantor option available. NSW, QLD and ACT residents only.
Gateway Bank Low Rate Essentials Variable Rate Home Loan - Special offer LVR up to 80% and over $500k (Owner Occupier, P&I)
3.01%
3.04%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
A competitive, flexible variable rate mortgage for home buyers borrowing above $500,000.
Pepper Money Essential Prime Full Doc Home Loan - LVR >75% up to 80%
3.59%
3.79%
$599
$10 monthly ($120 p.a.)
80%
This is a competitive, flexible variable rate suitable for borrowers with a good credit history. Borrow up to 80%.
Bank of Melbourne Advantage Package Fixed Home Loan - 2 Year Fixed (Owner Occupier, P&I) LVR above 60% up to 80% New customers
2.89%
3.77%
$0
$395 p.a.
80%
A 2 year fixed package home loan with no application fee. Borrow up to 80%. $2,000 cashback on eligible Advantage Package loans when borrowing $250,000 or more.
ING Orange Advantage Loan - $150k to $500k (LVR <=80% Investor, P&I)
3.49%
3.82%
$0
$299 p.a.
80%
Investors can enjoy a 100% offset account, a redraw facility and flexible repayments.
UBank UHomeLoan - 1 Year Fixed Rate (Owner Occupier, P&I)
2.74%
3.38%
$395
$0 p.a.
80%
Fix your mortgage for 1 year with a very competitive rate and no ongoing fees.
Greater Bank Great Rate Discount Variable with Family Pledge Home Loan - Up to 110% LVR
3.33%
3.34%
$0
$0 p.a.
110%
Pay no deposit or LMI and get a discounted rate with this family pledge loan. Requires a family member to act as guarantor. NSW, QLD and ACT only.
State Custodians Low Rate LOC - LVR up to 80% (Owner Occupier, IO)
3.15%
3.16%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
A low-fee line of credit loan from an online lender. Unlock the equity in your home and make interest-only repayments with a competitive rate. This loan is not available for construction.
Gateway Bank Low Rate Essentials Variable Rate Home Loan - Special offer LVR up to 80% and over $500k (Investor, P&I)
3.29%
3.32%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Investors with 20% deposits can get this flexible variable mortgage with low fees and a reasonable rate.
State Custodians Low Rate Home Loan with Offset - LVR 80% to 90% (Owner Occupier, P&I)
3.20%
3.22%
$0
$0 p.a.
90%
Save on interest with a free 100% offset account and buy your property with just a 10% deposit. This loan is not available for construction.
UBank UHomeLoan - 1 Year Fixed Rate (Investor, P&I)
2.89%
3.84%
$395
$0 p.a.
80%
Investors can enjoy flexible repayments and an easy application process with this pioneering online lender.
State Custodians Low Rate Home Loan with Offset - LVR 80% to 90% (Investor, P&I)
3.45%
3.47%
$0
$0 p.a.
90%
Access a fee-free offset account and a special interest rate for investors. This loan is not available for construction.
Adelaide Bank SmartFix Home Loan - 2 Year Fixed Rate (Owner Occupier, IO)
3.59%
3.37%
$375
$15 monthly ($180 p.a.)
80%
Home buyers with a 20% deposit can get this low interest-only rate. It also comes with a 100% offset account.

Compare up to 4 providers

Rates last updated January 26th, 2020
$
Loan purpose
Offset account
Loan type
Repayment type
Your filter criteria do not match any product
Name Product Interest Rate (p.a.) Comp Rate^ (p.a.) Application Fee Ongoing Fees Max LVR Monthly Payment Short Description
Greater Bank Ultimate Home Loan - Discounted 1 Year Fixed LVR ≤90% ($150K+ Owner Occupier)
2.79%
4.04%
$0
$395 p.a.
90%
Get one of the lowest fixed mortgage rates on the market plus a 100% offset account. Available with just a 10% deposit. Guarantor option available. NSW, QLD and ACT residents only.
UBank UHomeLoan - 3 Year Fixed Rate (Owner Occupier, P&I)
2.69%
3.19%
$395
$0 p.a.
80%
An online home loan offer with a fixed interest offer for 3 years.
Greater Bank Great Rate Home Loan - Discounted 2 Year Fixed LVR ≤90% ($150K+ Owner Occupier)
2.97%
3.75%
$0
$0 p.a.
90%
A discounted 2 years fixed rate for home buyers. Available with just a 10% deposit. Guarantor option available. NSW, QLD and ACT residents only.
Well Home Loans Balanced Fixed Home Loan - 2 Year (Owner occupier, P&I)
2.68%
2.75%
$250
$0 p.a.
90%
Low fee fixed mortgage with optional 100% offset account.
Macquarie Bank Basic Fixed Home Loan - 3 Year Fixed Rate LVR ≤ 70% (Owner Occupier, P&I)
2.89%
3.04%
$0
$0 p.a.
70%
Get a low interest rate and a mortgage with flexible, basic features. No application or ongoing fees. Requires a 30% deposit.
Mortgage House Advantage Home Loan (Special) 2 Year Fixed
2.79%
3.04%
$600
$10 monthly ($120 p.a.)
70%
A low fixed rate mortgage for borrowers with a 30% deposit. Comes with a 100% offset account.
Macquarie Bank Basic Fixed Home Loan - 3 Year Fixed Rate LVR ≤ 70% (Investor, P&I)
3.19%
3.34%
$0
$0 p.a.
70%
A principal and interest loan for property investors with a 30% deposit.
Greater Bank Great Rate Home Loan - Discounted 1 Year Fixed LVR ≤90% ($150K+ Owner Occupier)
2.79%
3.82%
$0
$0 p.a.
90%
Get one of the lowest rates on the market with this fixed rate mortgage. Available with just a 10% deposit. Guarantor option available. NSW, QLD and ACT residents only.
Macquarie Bank Basic Fixed Home Loan - 1 Year Fixed Rate LVR ≤ 70% (Investor, P&I)
3.19%
3.37%
$0
$0 p.a.
70%
This fixed investor loan keeps it simple and boasts a low rate. Requires a 30% deposit.
Well Home Loans Balanced Fixed Home Loan - 3 Year (Owner Occupier, P&I)
2.68%
2.74%
$250
$0 p.a.
90%
A low 3 year fixed rate for home buyers. Add a 100% offset account with a $10 monthly fee.
UBank UHomeLoan - 1 Year Fixed Rate (Owner Occupier, P&I)
2.74%
3.38%
$395
$0 p.a.
80%
Fix your mortgage for 1 year with a very competitive rate and no ongoing fees.
Greater Bank Great Rate Home Loan - Discounted 3 Year Fixed LVR ≤90% ($150K+ Owner Occupier)
2.97%
3.68%
$0
$0 p.a.
90%
Discounted 3 years fixed rate with no ongoing fees and a redraw facility. Guarantor option available. NSW, QLD and ACT residents only.
Macquarie Bank Basic Fixed Home Loan - 2 Year Fixed Rate LVR ≤ 70% (Owner Occupier, P&I)
2.89%
3.06%
$0
$0 p.a.
70%
Get a low fixed rate for 2 years to minimise interest costs. Requires a 30% deposit.
BankSA Advantage Package Fixed Home Loan - 5 Year Fixed (Owner Occupier, P&I) LVR above 60% up to 80% New customers
2.89%
3.67%
$0
$395 p.a.
80%
Pay no application fee with this 5 year fixed package loan and borrow up to 80%. $2,000 cashback on eligible Advantage Package loans when borrowing $250,000 or more.
AMP Professional Package Fixed Loan - 2 Year (Owner Occupier, P&I)
2.89%
4.24%
$0
$0 p.a.
90%
A low fixed rate package loan that's available with a 10% deposit.
Suncorp Home Package Plus Fixed - 3 Year Fixed Rate Special Offer $150k+ LVR ≤90% (Owner Occupier, P&I)
2.89%
3.59%
$0
$375 p.a.
90%
Get a very competitive 3 year fixed rate with low fees and only a 10% deposit. Refinance to this loan and receive a $2,000 cashback when borrowing $250,000 or more.
ANZ Breakfree Package Home Loan - 2 Year Fixed (Owner Occupier, P&I)
2.98%
4.45%
$0
$395 p.a.
90%
This 2 year fixed ANZ Breakfree Package rate comes with package discount and product bundle. Refinancers switching to this loan could get a cashback from $1,200 up to $3,500 depending on their loan amount (terms and conditions apply).
St.George Fixed Rate Advantage Package - 3 Year Fixed Rate LVR 60% to 80% (Owner Occupier, P&I)
2.89%
3.72%
$0
$395 p.a.
80%
Get a competitive rate and pay no application fee on this package loan. $2,000 cashback on eligible Advantage Package loans when borrowing $250,000 or more.
Bank of Melbourne Advantage Package Fixed Home Loan - 2 Year Fixed (Owner Occupier, P&I) LVR up to 60% New customers
2.84%
3.72%
$0
$395 p.a.
60%
Easy Street Fixed Home Loan - 3 Year (Owner Occupier, P&I)
3.09%
3.69%
$500
$0 p.a.
95%
Enjoy 3 year fixed rate with no ongoing fee.
UBank UHomeLoan - 1 Year Fixed Rate (Owner Occupier, IO)
2.89%
3.40%
$395
$0 p.a.
80%
A one year fixed rate offer with no ongoing bank fees.
Aussie Select Basic Fixed Rate Home Loan - 2 Year Fixed LVR up to 80% (Owner Occupier, P&I)
2.89%
3.24%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
A two year fixed rate home loan with no annual or application fees.
UBank UHomeLoan - 3 Year Fixed Rate (Investor, P&I)
2.84%
3.59%
$395
$0 p.a.
80%
Pay no ongoing fees on this investment loan fixed for 3 years.
Adelaide Bank SmartFix Home Loan - 2 Year Fixed Rate (Owner Occupier, IO)
3.59%
3.37%
$375
$15 monthly ($180 p.a.)
80%
Home buyers with a 20% deposit can get this low interest-only rate. It also comes with a 100% offset account.
UBank UHomeLoan - 1 Year Fixed Rate (Investor, P&I)
2.89%
3.84%
$395
$0 p.a.
80%
Investors can enjoy flexible repayments and an easy application process with this pioneering online lender.

Compare up to 4 providers

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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