RBA leaves cash rate unchanged for sixth straight month

Posted: 3 November 2015 2:30 pm News

RBA cash rate target announcement november 2015

Reserve Bank holds cash rate at 2.0%

Results from the finder.com.au Reserve Bank Survey showed that 80% (24/30) resident rate experts correctly anticipated no cash rate movement for Melbourne Cup day, as evidenced by the outcome of today’s Board meeting.

Experts argued that an immediate cash rate cut to offset Westpac and other lenders’ decision to increase variable mortgages rates was unlikely and thus the Reserve Bank judged that holding the cash rate for November 2015 was the appropriate course of action this month.

Results from the survey found that nearly 30% of leading economists are predicting a cash rate fall by the end of the year. Of these, nearly 20% believed that the cash rate would fall at today’s Board meeting, while 10% believed a cash rate cut would occur in December this year.

However, survey participants were divided about how low the cash rate would fall- 55% of experts don’t believe it will fall below 2.0%, while 28% predict the cash rate will fall to 1.75%, and 17% expect the cash rate to dip to 1.5% this cycle.

Although all of the Big Four have lifted their variable rates for owner occupiers in recent weeks, many of the resident rate experts don’t believe the Reserve Bank will follow suit just yet. That is, more than 50% of experts said the cash rate will not increase until beyond 2016, while nearly 25% believe a rate rise will take place in the final quarter of 2016.

Why hold the cash rate?

Many of the resident rate experts in the finder.com.au Reserve Bank Survey argued that the Reserve Bank is optimistic about labour market conditions, and thus a rate move would be premature at this point in time as the new fiscal outlook is yet to be assessed.

The Melbourne Cup period is traditionally a time where the Reserve Bank makes a move with cash rates, and coupled with the out-of-cycle rate hikes by many of Australia’s major lenders, many believed that the Reserve Bank would cut rates this month to soften the blow of higher rates for owner-occupiers. However, the fact that lenders moved independently could be an indication that they believed rates would be maintained.

As the property market softens and the Australian dollar remains low, many believe that the Reserve Bank is satisfied with the status quo and will not initiate a rate movement until economic data is further reviewed.

Additionally, the Reserve Bank would not want to further fuel house prices through a rate reduction, particularly as the Sydney and Melbourne markets are beginning to cool.

Are more independent rate hikes on the horizon?

71% of resident rate experts predict more out of cycle rate changes to be announced in the months to come. Our money expert, Michelle Hutchison, says that out of cycle rate rises are likely to continue across the Australian banking sector, the impact of which will be felt by borrowers with a variable mortgage.

“Melbourne Cup day is traditionally a popular period to move rates. The cash rate has moved on Melbourne Cup day 10 times since 1991 when the modern adjustment cycle began – down four times, and up six.

“The f inder.com.au Reserve Bank Survey found that 71% of experts predict that the increase of variable home loan interest rates out of cycle – kickstarted by Westpac earlier this month – would continue across the sector. As well as the big four jumping on board this trend, St George and Macquarie Bank also have imminent rate rises, which is six banks in total”, she said.

How could a future rate rise affect my repayments?

When contemplating rate hikes, Michelle Hutchison says that you should pose the question to your lender to see whether the bank is planning to increase its variable home loan rates.

“Some lenders, however, have a tendency to keep their rate rises quiet, which can make it difficult for Australians to keep track of movements in the home loan market. It’s important for borrowers to ask the question when they are speaking to lenders or applying for a new loan to find out if they have recently made any announcements or are planning to. It’s safe to assume that more lenders will follow these banks’ leads by raising their rates too.

“Based on a $300,000 mortgage and the current average variable owner-occupied home loan rate of 5.10 percent, a rate rise of 0.18 percentage points (the average rate rise of the six lenders who’ve announced rate rises thus far) will amount to an extra $33 per month for borrowers, or potentially $396 per year or $11,880 over 30 years.

Find out how a variable rate rise could affect your mortgage repayments by entering your details in the calculator below.

“The big banks set the benchmark for what the market will do – five out of six lenders are moving on the same day as Westpac, with their new increased rates to become effective on 20 November.

“However, some smaller lenders may use this opportunity to win over new borrowers, by not following the big banks’ lead at all, or not raising their rates by as much as the market average. Regardless, it’s a great time to compare rates to see if you can get a better deal – a small change to your interest rate can save you thousands of dollars over the life of your loan”, she said.

Thinking of fixing your rate or refinancing? Compare different home loans in the table below

Rates last updated January 26th, 2020
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Loan purpose
Offset account
Loan type
Repayment type
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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.

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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Well Home Loans Balanced Variable - Special (Owner occupier, P&I)
2.72%
2.75%
$250
$0 p.a.
80%
A very low interest rate for home buyers with 20% deposits saved. Add an offset account for a small fee.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Bankwest Complete Home Loan Package Variable - $200k+ LVR <=80% (Owner Occupier, P&I)
3.05%
3.50%
$0
$395 p.a.
80%
A low variable rate loan with a 100% offset account and package discounts.
Mortgage House Advantage Home Loan - 70 (PAYG Essentials)
2.79%
2.83%
$600
$10 monthly ($120 p.a.)
70%
A very low variable interest rate for home buyers with a 30% deposit. This product has a 100% offset account.
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% (Investor, P&I)
3.08%
3.10%
$0
$0 p.a.
70%
A competitive rate with no application or ongoing fee. This loan is not available for construction.
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.
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.
State Custodians Low Rate LOC - LVR up to 70% (Owner Occupier, IO)
3.08%
3.10%
$0
$0 p.a.
70%
Withdraw up to 70% of your home equity with this competitive line of credit loan. This loan is not available for construction.
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.
Mortgage House Advantage Home Loan - 80 (PAYG Essentials)
2.88%
2.92%
$600
$10 monthly ($120 p.a.)
80%
A competitive variable rate for home buyers with a 20% deposit. This product has a 100% offset account.
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.
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.
State Custodians Low Rate Home Loan with Offset - LVR up to 80% (Investor, P&I)
3.15%
3.17%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
This investment loan keeps fees low, has a sharp interest rate and comes with a 100% offset account. 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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
UBank UHomeLoan - 1 Year Fixed Rate (Investor, IO)
3.04%
3.86%
$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

What about the property market?

Results from the finder.com.au Reserve Bank Survey found that 66% of experts expect property prices to rise, or remain high, despite increasing rates for variable mortgages. Nearly half, or 49% or experts, expect no change to property prices and 17% forecast that the market will remain heated, and property values will continue to soar.

Although 34% of experts predicted a fall in property prices, the majority of experts disagreed as they noted that the market is strong enough to absorb rate increases without obstructing market growth or activity.

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