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?

Rates last updated November 22nd, 2017
$
Loan purpose
Offset account
Loan 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
3.69%
4.86%
$0
$395 p.a.
90%
A special rate for first home buyers buying residential property and borrowing over $150K. 350K NAB Rewards Points offer available. Terms and conditions apply.
3.65%
3.66%
$0
$0 p.a.
90%
Enjoy a low variable rate with no ongoing fees and borrow up to 90% of the value of the property.
3.64%
3.66%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
A basic home loan with a competitive rate and low fees.
3.49%
4.47%
$0
$375 p.a.
90%
Discount off an already competitive interest rate for loans over $150k. NSW, QLD and ACT residents only.
3.54%
3.56%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Exclusive Offer to finder.com.au

This loan is exclusively available on finder up to and including 22 November (enquiries must be submitted by that date). This loan is for refinancers only. A basic but flexible low-rate loan for refinancers looking to save on repayments.

3.58%
3.59%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
A competitive variable rate product with low fees offered by a 100% online lender.
3.58%
3.58%
$0
$0 p.a.
70%
A low interest rate home loan with no application or ongoing fees.
3.64%
3.66%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
A home loan with a competitive variable rate, limited fees and plenty of flexibility.
4.14%
4.14%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
An investment home loan with competitive rate and 100% offset account.
4.64%
4.01%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Enjoy a fast application process and flexible repayment options with this fixed rate investment loan.
3.44%
3.45%
$440
$0 p.a.
80%
This variable loan has a sharp rate, low fees, flexible repayment options and an offset account. This loan is available for PAYG borrowers only.
3.64%
3.64%
$0
$0 p.a.
70%
A low-rate basic home loan requiring a 30% deposit.
3.64%
3.64%
$0
$0 p.a.
70%
A basic variable home loan that offers a competitive interest rate with no application fees and no ongoing fees.
3.54%
3.56%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
For new home buyers only. No refinance option. A low interest variable home loan with no application fee and free redraws. Offer ends 30th Nov.
3.69%
3.72%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
A low rate home loan with no ongoing fees.
3.69%
4.01%
$0
$299 p.a.
95%
A loan with no application fee and borrow up to 95% LVR.
3.69%
3.69%
$0
$0 p.a.
90%
A special limited time offer for owner occupiers. An IMB Transaction Account must be opened with this loan.
4.19%
4.22%
$0
$0 p.a.
90%
Access a fee-free offset account and a special interest rate for investors.
4.79%
5.44%
$0
$395 p.a.
95%
Package your 4-year fixed rate investment loan and pay no application fees.
3.99%
4.62%
$395
$0 p.a.
80%
Fix your interest rate and pay principal and interest repayments on your investment.
3.62%
3.64%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Exclusive Offer to finder.com.au

This loan is exclusively available on finder up to and including 22 November (enquiries must be submitted by that date). This loan is for refinancers only. Switch from your current loan to this low-rate, flexible and feature-packed refinance special.

3.99%
4.00%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
A low-fee variable rate investor loan with a fast online application process.
3.78%
3.79%
$0
$0 p.a.
95%
A no frills loan with a competitive rate and a maximum LVR of 95%.
3.74%
3.74%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
A basic owner-occupier home loan with a low variable rate that requires a 20% deposit.
3.64%
4.03%
$0
$395 p.a.
80%
Apply for a new owner occupier loan or refinance from another lender and receive this discounted rate.
3.65%
4.84%
$0
$395 p.a.
90%
A 2 years fixed platinum package that has $0 application and a loan redraw facility.
3.74%
3.74%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Combine a low variable interest rate and free redraw with no application or ongoing fees.
3.79%
4.11%
$0
$299 p.a.
80%
A fully featured home loan with an offset account and discounts available.
3.77%
3.81%
$200
$0 p.a.
95%
A basic home loan with a low interest rate and a redraw facility available.
3.68%
3.83%
$0
$10 monthly ($120 p.a.)
80%
A low interest rate home loan that allows borrowers to borrow up to 80% of the property value.
3.72%
3.74%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Take advantage of a 100% offset account along with no annual or application fees.
3.81%
3.81%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
A home loan with a competitive rate and plenty of handy features.
3.64%
3.78%
$0
$10 monthly ($120 p.a.)
80%
A competitive variable rate home loan with flexible features. You can earn 30,000 Velocity Points for every $100k you borrow (for a limited time, subject to eligibility requirements).
3.88%
3.81%
$0
$0 p.a.
95%
A competitive 3-year fixed rate loan with a high max insured LVR.
3.72%
3.75%
$600
$0 p.a.
80%
A maximum 80% LVR home loan with no ongoing service fees and a linked transaction account.
3.94%
4.88%
$0
$0 p.a.
90%
Enjoy a low interest rate and borrow up to 90% (with LMI) of your property's value.
3.79%
4.00%
$0
$10 monthly ($120 p.a.)
90%
Get a competitive interest rate for 3 years and a discounted variable rate when the fixed period ends.
3.69%
4.15%
$395
$0 p.a.
80%
A one year fixed rate offer with no ongoing bank fees.
3.84%
3.84%
$0
$0 p.a.
110%
Requires a family member to act as guarantor. Discounted rate available with family pledge loans. Family pledge loans require no LMI and no deposit. NSW, Qld and ACT only.
3.97%
4.02%
$445
$0 p.a.
90%
Get a competitive rate without features you may not use.
3.99%
4.02%
$600
$0 p.a.
90%
Take advantage of a 0.60% discount on your rate, a 100% offset account and no ongoing fees.
3.74%
3.74%
$0
$0 p.a.
90%
A competitive variable rate with a redraw facility. NSW, QLD and ACT residents only.
4.09%
4.11%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
A low variable rate loan with no application or ongoing fees.
3.69%
4.00%
$0
$350 p.a.
95%
Fix your rate for 3 years and borrow up to 95% LVR.
3.85%
4.18%
$500
$0 p.a.
95%
Apply for Easy Street fixed rate home loans and get a competitive loan with a fixed interest rate.
3.69%
3.75%
$600
$0 p.a.
80%
A low interest rate variable home loan with no ongoing fees.
3.96%
3.98%
$0
$0 p.a.
90%
Take advantage of a redraw facility, competitive variable rate and no application or settlement fees for a limited time.
3.72%
4.19%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Enjoy a variable 3 year introductory rate with the Bankwest Equaliser Home Loan.
3.97%
4.02%
$0
$0 p.a.
90%
A low rate variable home loan offer with no monthly fees or application fee charge.
3.84%
4.83%
$0
$0 p.a.
95%
Get a competitive 2-year fixed rate with no application or ongoing fees.
3.88%
4.89%
$0
$395 p.a.
95%
A fixed rate package with flexible repayment options. 350K NAB Rewards Points offer available. Terms and conditions apply.
4.09%
4.12%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Access the equity in your home with a competitive interest-only rate and no application fee.
3.69%
4.45%
$0
$375 p.a.
90%
Discount off an already competitive 2 year fixed rate for loans over $150k. NSW,QLD and ACT residents only.
3.97%
3.97%
$0
$0 p.a.
90%
A competitive variable rate home loan with no ongoing fees.
3.73%
3.73%
$0
$0 p.a.
70%
A special low variable rate for owner occupiers with 100% offset account and no application or ongoing fees.
$0
$0 p.a.
A basic low-rate home loan that still offers some useful features.
3.74%
3.74%
$0
$0 p.a.
95%
A low rate home loan with no application or ongoing fees. Note that to be eligible for this loan you must be QLD resident.
4.19%
4.19%
$0
$0 p.a.
90%
Access to redraw facility and offset account without the annual fee.
3.69%
3.69%
$0
$0 p.a.
70%
Enjoy a low variable rate with no application and ongoing fees.
3.79%
3.80%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
A competitive rate with no ongoing monthly fees or application fees.
3.99%
4.03%
$0
$0 p.a.
95%
Enjoy a basic home loan with a high LVR and no application or ongoing fees.
3.85%
4.95%
$0
$395 p.a.
95%
A discounted package rate for owner occupiers with the ability to package a Qantas rewards earning Amplify credit card. $1,500 cashback available for refinancers. Conditions apply.
3.99%
4.99%
$0
$395 p.a.
95%
A package home loan with fee free extra repayments available during the fixed term.
4.39%
5.42%
$300
$10 monthly ($120 p.a.)
95%
Lock in a competitive fixed rate for 3 years.
3.69%
4.03%
$0
$299 p.a.
80%
Enjoy a low variable rate with no application fee.
3.75%
4.44%
$0
$0 p.a.
95%
This competitive introductory rate is a limited time offer for new owner-occupiers
3.68%
3.69%
$600
$0 p.a.
90%
Get a low variable rate along with some important basic features.

Compare up to 4 providers

Rates last updated November 22nd, 2017
$
Loan purpose
Offset account
Loan 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
3.49%
4.47%
$0
$375 p.a.
90%
Discount off an already competitive interest rate for loans over $150k. NSW, QLD and ACT residents only.
3.65%
4.84%
$0
$395 p.a.
90%
A 2 years fixed platinum package that has $0 application and a loan redraw facility.
3.69%
4.15%
$395
$0 p.a.
80%
A one year fixed rate offer with no ongoing bank fees.
3.65%
4.19%
$500
$0 p.a.
95%
Get a discounted fixed interest rate for the first 12 months while you settle into your new loan.
3.69%
4.86%
$0
$395 p.a.
90%
A special rate for first home buyers buying residential property and borrowing over $150K. 350K NAB Rewards Points offer available. Terms and conditions apply.
3.69%
4.45%
$0
$375 p.a.
90%
Discount off an already competitive 2 year fixed rate for loans over $150k. NSW,QLD and ACT residents only.
3.69%
4.00%
$0
$350 p.a.
95%
Fix your rate for 3 years and borrow up to 95% LVR.
3.84%
4.83%
$0
$0 p.a.
95%
Get a competitive 2-year fixed rate with no application or ongoing fees.
3.85%
4.18%
$500
$0 p.a.
95%
Apply for Easy Street fixed rate home loans and get a competitive loan with a fixed interest rate.
3.88%
3.81%
$0
$0 p.a.
95%
A competitive 3-year fixed rate loan with a high max insured LVR.
3.89%
4.72%
$445
$6 monthly ($72 p.a.)
90%
3 years fixed interest terms and free access to redraw facility online.
3.99%
4.08%
$395
$0 p.a.
80%
An online home loan offer with a fixed interest offer for 3 years.
3.84%
4.21%
$0
$395 p.a.
95%
Lock in a competitive rate for owner occupiers for two years. Extra repayments up to $30,000 over the life of the fixed period can be made.
3.79%
4.00%
$0
$10 monthly ($120 p.a.)
90%
Get a competitive interest rate for 3 years and a discounted variable rate when the fixed period ends.
3.74%
4.42%
$0
$375 p.a.
90%
Enjoy discounts on banking products and insurance with this package loan. NSW, QLD and ACT residents only.
3.88%
4.89%
$0
$395 p.a.
95%
A fixed rate package with flexible repayment options. 350K NAB Rewards Points offer available. Terms and conditions apply.
3.94%
3.71%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Apply online for this fixed rate, low-fee loan with redraw facilities and an optional offset account.
3.99%
4.77%
$0
$0 p.a.
95%
A competitive 3 year fixed rate with a redraw facility and split loan options, plus no application fee.
4.59%
5.01%
$0
$395 p.a.
95%
A competitive loan with flexible features. 350K NAB Rewards Points offer available. Terms and conditions apply.
4.44%
3.94%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
This is a fixed rate loan for owner occupiers with few fees and a fast online approval process. Offset accounts are an optional extra.
3.99%
3.84%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
A two year fixed rate home loan with no annual or application fees.
3.88%
4.94%
$0
$395 p.a.
95%
This 2 year fixed ANZ Breakfree Package rate comes with package discount and product bundle. Terms and conditions, package fee and fees, charges & eligibility criteria apply.
3.99%
4.99%
$0
$395 p.a.
95%
A package home loan with fee free extra repayments available during the fixed term.
4.03%
5.04%
$600
$10 monthly ($120 p.a.)
95%
Get a 2-year fixed rate with flexible repayment options to help you save.
3.85%
4.95%
$0
$395 p.a.
95%
A discounted package rate for owner occupiers with the ability to package a Qantas rewards earning Amplify credit card. $1,500 cashback available for refinancers. Conditions apply.
3.99%
5.07%
$0
$8 monthly ($96 p.a.)
95%
Enjoy a 2-year fixed rate with interest-only options and a partial offset account.
4.09%
4.98%
$0
$395 p.a.
90%
Lock your rate in for 3 years and enjoy a discount on your loan of $150,000 -$249,000.
3.88%
4.88%
$0
$395 p.a.
95%
Lock in a discounted fixed rate with a low service fee.

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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