Media Release

Good news for borrowers: Cash rate likely to drop soon after it peaks

  • All 33 experts in Monthly Reserve Bank Survey are betting no cash rate change Melbourne Cup Day
  • One expert is forecasting a rate drop in Q1 2015
  • One believes the cash rate will hold for the next two years
  • Good news for borrowers: rates will rise but not expected to stay high for long!

NOVEMBER 1, 2014, SYDNEY – While Australia's biggest Reserve Bank Survey shows no change expected to the cash rate on Tuesday, borrowers can expect rates to rise next year followed by a downward cycle as soon as 2017, according to one of Australia's biggest comparison websites

All 33 leading experts and economists in the Reserve Bank Survey – including from the major four banks – are betting the Reserve Bank will keep the cash rate at 2.50 percent on Melbourne Cup day (Tuesday November 4, 214).

The most common reasons for a hold on Tuesday were regarding the economy not strong enough to warrant a rise, high unemployment and the Australian Dollar, global uncertainties particularly in the Middle East and Europe, inflation is on target and pressure on house prices.

For the past 20 years, the Reserve Bank has moved the cash rate nine times on Melbourne Cup day, six of which were in the past decade.

The vast majority of experts (91 percent or 30 out of 33) is expecting the cash rate to start rising next year, with two experts forecasting rates to rise in 2016.

Just one of the 33 experts – Andrew Wilson, Senior Economist at Domain Group – predicts the next cash rate move will be a drop in the first quarter of 2015, citing “...bias now turning to downside … house prices now falling, inflation low, unemployment and dollar still too high, sharemarket weaker and rising concerns over global economic outlook.” (Please see below for full comments by all panelists.)

Out of the 32 who expect the cash rate to rise, they predicted it's likely to be in August 2015 – the average of these predictions.

Michelle Hutchison, Money Expert at, said interest rates won't rise for long before dropping again.
"Our economy is under pressure to perform better, and all 33 experts in the Reserve Bank Survey believe that the cash rate won’t rise for very long before it will start to fall again.

“The survey found that the cash rate is likely to peak at 4 percent in 2017 according to the average forecast.

“There were varied expectations of when the peak could occur and how high the cash rate will rise, with majority (60 percent or 18 respondents) expecting the cash rate to hit its peak in 2017, while eight respondents (27 percent) are expecting the peak will be reached in 2016 and four (13 percent) expect the peak to hit in 2018.

“One expert – David de Ferranti, Market Analyst at Forex Capital Markets – is forecasting the highest peak, with the cash rate to hit 5.5 percent. One in three (33 percent) are expecting the cash rate to hit 4.5-5 percent, a further one in three (33 percent) expect the peak to hit 4-4.25 percent while the remaining 30 percent are expecting a peak of between 2.75 percent and 3.75 percent.

“It’s also clear that most experts believe the cash rate won’t hit the high levels we’ve seen in the past. And regardless of when the peak will be reached, it’s likely to start falling soon after.”

Almost half of the respondents (13) are expecting the cash rate to start falling again in 2018, while three experts are forecasting a drop as soon as 2017. Four expect to see it to drop in 2019 and 10 are expecting it to reduce beyond 2019.

“This is great news for borrowers or those planning to enter the property market this mortgage season, as they can prepare for around two years of rising interest rates before they will likely come down again.

"Borrowers need a buffer of at least $300 per month for an average $300,000 loan if the cash rate hits 4 percent.

"For first home buyers, using a borrowing power calculator with a projected variable interest rate of 7 percent to work out how much you can afford.”

Insights from the latest monthly Reserve Bank Survey:

Expert/Economist, OrganisationWhat will the cash rate peak at and when will this occur?When will it start falling thereafter?

Garry Shilson-Josling,AAP4%, 20172018
Shane Oliver,AMP4%, 20172018
Warren Hogan,AMP4%, 2017Beyond 2019
Melissa Browne,A+TA4.5%, 2018Beyond 2019
Peter Munckton,Bank of Queensland4%, 2017Beyond 2019
Steven Pambris,Bank of Sydney2.75%, 20172018
David Bassanese,BetaShares5%, 20172018
Michael Blythe,CBA3.5%, 20162018
Savanth Sebastian,Commsec4.5%, 20172018
Noel Whittaker,Queensland University of Technology3.75, 2017Beyond 2019
Andrew Wilson,Domain Group3.5%, 20182019
David De Ferranti,FXCM5.5%, 2017Beyond 2019
Scott Morgan,Greater Building Society4.5, 2017Beyond 2019
Paul Williams,Heritage Bank5%, 20172017
Paul Bloxham,HSBC4%, 2017Beyond 2019
Michael Witts,ING Direct3.25%, 20162018
Paul Clitheroe,IPAC securities3.5%, 2016Beyond 2019
Grant Harrod,LJ HookerN/AN/A
John CaelliME Bank4%, 20162018
Glenn Levine,Moody's Analytics4.5%, 20162018
Lisa Montgomery,Mortgage and Consumer Finance Expert4%, 20162017
Huw Bough,My State Bank4.5%, 20172018
Alan Oster,NAB4.5%, 2017Beyond 2019
Jonathan Chancellor,Property Observer3.5%, 20162017
Angus Raine,Raine and Horne4%, 2017Beyond 2019
Nathan McMullen,RAMS3.5%, 20162019
Angelo Malizis,Resi4%, 20172018
David Scutt,Scutt Partners3.75%, 20172018
Janu Chan,St. George Bank4.25%, 20182019
Gavin SmithState CustodiansN/AN/A
Scott Haslem,UBS5%, 20182019
Nicki Hutley,Urbis5%, 20172018
Bill Evans,WestpacN/AN/A

Source:, ordered alphabetically by organisation

What our experts had to say in the Monthly Reserve Bank Survey:

  • Garry Shilson-Josling, AAP:“The housing market's too strong to allow a cut but the rest of the economy is too soft to cope with an increase. If macroprudential policies to cool the investor segment of the housing market work – and there's no good reason to suppose they won't – the RBA should be under no real pressure to jack rates up in a hurry.”
  • Shane Oliver, AMP: “Nothing much has changed since the last meeting. Growth is ok, but still sub-par, global uncertainties remain, the $A is still too high, inflation is still benign and the RBA is yet to drop its reference to a "period of stability" in rates being prudent.”
  • Warren Hogan, ANZ: “Inflation is low, while growth is soft.”
  • Melissa Browne, A+TA: “While the housing market has taken off, there are areas of the economy that still need stimulating. I believe the housing bubble, especially in Sydney, is not enough for the RBA to increase rates but the danger is that, with historically low interest rates and historically high prices, it won't take much of an increase in interest rates for the effect to be felt by housing owners and the economy to slow.
  • Peter Munckton, Bank of Queensland: “The RBA has the level of the cash rate where it wants it. “
    Steven Pambris, Bank of Sydney: “Economic factors remain weak however with current pressures on residential prices especially in Sydney, reduction will not be considered due to fear of fueling the residential bubble further. Rates will remain steady for some time.”
  • Steven Pambris, Bank of Sydney: “Economic factors remain weak however with current pressures on residential prices especially in Sydney, reduction will not be considered due to fear of fueling the residential bubble further. Rates will remain steady for some time.”
  • David Bassanese, BetaShares: “Continued low inflation and only modest economic growth.”
  • Michael Blythe, Commonwealth Bank: “Low inflation allows the RBA's period of rates stability to continue.”
  • Savanth Sebastian, Commsec: “The Reserve Bank continues to preach stability in interest rates. There is nothing in the latest minutes to suggest that Board members have become more optimistic, nor more pessimistic. The Board believes that the cash rate is at the right level to support the economy and keep inflationary pressures in check.”
  • Noel Whittaker, Queensland University of Technology: “The cash rate will not go up. Glenn Stevens has said any further cuts won't work - Kerry Stokes says toughest conditions in 25 years.”
  • Andrew Wilson, Domain Group: “Mixed signals remain although bias now turning to the downside. Reserve Bank waiting for crystallization of general economic climate - but house prices now falling, inflation low, unemployment and dollar still too high,sharemarket weaker and rising concerns over global economic outlook.”
  • David De Ferranti, FXCM: “The soft local labour market and subdued inflation expectations suggest the RBA will remain accommodative over the near-term. Further the need to rebalance the local economy is likely to offset a desire to quell speculative lending and cool the housing market.”
  • Scott Morgan, Greater Building Society: “The RBA has indicated a period of stability in rates and I do not see that changing in the immediate term. Weaker inflation has made a cut in rates even less likely than in previous months. The RBA is cognisant to a potential build-up in asset prices and the flow on risks that causes. Therefore, there is scope for rate increases inside the next nine months supported by these risks, a possible upward move in US rates (which will continue to cause a reduction in the Australian dollar) and improving economic indicators in the Australian Economy around GDP, unemployment and retail sales.”
  • Paul Williams, Heritage Bank: “The RBA appears happy to remain on hold while the domestic economy tries to build some momentum. The RBA will be keeping an eye on the trends in unemployment, inflation levels, developments in key offshore economies and geo-political tensions in middle east and europe.”
  • Paul Bloxham, HSBC: “Growth is still below trend, the labour market is still loose and inflation is still well contained – so they don't have any reason to think about hiking but at the same time I can't see them cutting rates while the housing market is still booming.”
  • Michael Witts, ING Direct: “Again this month, the fundamentals in the economy have not changed significantly, the economy remains in transition with the housing sector in Sydney in particular very strong. A monetary policy response is not the appropriate policy instrument to deal with a stronger level of activity in one sector of the economy.”
  • Paul Clitheroe, IPAC Securities: “Economy in surprisingly nice balance. Dollar down, housing boom slowing a little, inflation fine, unemployment acceptable. Sit and watch… I suspect the unexpected may surprise on the upside.”
  • Grant Harrod, LJ Hooker: “There have been no surprises over the past month for the RBA to shift away from its neutral policy position. Positively for the RBA, the rate of growth of both house prices and housing finance commitments slowed over the past month. These two indicators have been the chief concern for the RBA over recent months and this deceleration will provide some breathing space for the board. Our view is that the even balance of the economy is set to see interest rates remain on hold until at least mid-2015. Record low interest rates and demand continuing to exceed supply in many markets, has helped house price growth across the country and, as noted by the latest LJ Hooker buyer/seller index, pushed the property market strongly in favour of sellers. This strength and price growth has been the main focus of commentary and concern from the RBA over recent months. However, while buyer demand still remains strongly in place, the current spring selling season has seen listings begin to rise to accommodate this demand. This has in turn seen price growth begin to moderate and with it any likelihood of a change of interest rates in the near term.”
  • John Caelli, ME Bank: “With inflation still well behaved and the dollar still higher than the RBA would like, the Bank can afford to wait until there is more clarity on global movements and developments in China.”
  • Glenn Levine, Moody’s Analytics: “Inflation is at the middle of the RBA's target band. The housing market remains buoyant, but the rest of the economy is still soft and the A$ remains slightly elevated, precluding an interest rate increase. The ABS's problems with its employment data make it more difficult to get a timely read on the economy, complicating the RBA's job and cementing the case for leaving rates on hold for several more months.”
  • Lisa Montgomery, Mortgage & Consumer Finance Expert: “The RBA will continue to maintain its hold status with regard to the official cash rate. The housing market and Australian Dollar remain high on the watch list and even though the Dollar has fallen in recent times, it’s still high by historical standards. Inflation continues to remain within target, which means that unlike other Melbourne Cup day announcements borrowers are unlikely to see a change at the November meeting.”
  • Huw Bough, My State Bank: “Resources sector spending starting to decline, most of the data across the economy points to moderate growth”
  • Alan Oster, NAB: “RBA waiting to see how non mining responds to cuts already made.”
  • Jonathan Chancellor, Property Observer: “The Australian and international economy is simply not strong enough to warrant any rate hike. And while the continued RBA jawboning on property is beginning to take effect, the east coast property market remains too strong to warrant that occasionally mooted one last cut. The other factors unemployment and wages are still dampening inflation. I think the pointer for any rise in official rates might not be until the US Federal Reserve does so.”
  • Angus Raine, Raine & Horne: “The RBA’s jawboning of rapid real estate price growth seems to be kicking in, except in Sydney, while the latest drop in inflation will help keep rates on hold for some time yet. That said, longer-term inflation expectations, reported late last week, will also give the central bank some food for thought.”
  • Nathan McMullen, RAMS: “Monetary policy settings remain mildly expansionary relative to long run averages and are appropriate given the current outlook for inflation, unemployment, housing credit growth, property prices and exchange rates settings.”
  • Angelo Malizis, RESI: “Soft economic environment”
  • David Scutt, Scutt Partners: “Very little has changed on the domestic economic front since the Board last met on October 7. I believe the statement will largely be a cut-and-paste job from what was seen then, including the all important final paragraph.”
  • Janu Chan, St. George Bank: “The ongoing message of "stability in interest rates". While the RBA remains concerned about the elevated level of the Australian dollar.”
  • Gavin Smith, State Custodians: “With the latest inflation figures well within the acceptable range, the RBA will most likely leave cash rates on hold again this month.”
  • Scott Haslem, UBS: “While domestic activity is improving modestly - enough to argue against further rate cuts - it is not sufficiently strong to justify lifting rates.”
  • Nicki Hutley, Urbis: “Commentary from the RBA has been clear that the current steady as she goes policy will continue for some time. Employment and inflation indicators support this stance at present.”
  • Bill Evans, Westpac: “Since mid-March Westpac has expected that the next move in policy will not be until August next year. Market pricing is pointing to steady rates (around 50% probability of a cut next year) through both 2015 and 2016. We remain comfortable with our view that the policy tightening will begin around August next year while recognising that to date the pick-up in momentum in the Australian economy has really only been apparent in the housing market.”

Please note: The above respondents are ordered alphabetically by name of organisation

Disclaimer: the comments, forecasts, projections and other predictive statements by the panel of experts are assumptions based on currently available information. These forecasts are based on industry trends and economic factors that involve risks, variables and uncertainties. No guarantee is presented or implied as to the accuracy of these forecasts and consumers are advised to read product disclosure statements and understand if financial products are right for them before signing up.


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