Westpac forecasts higher interests rates: Borrowers warned to brace for higher repayments
Monthly repayments could soon cost borrowers a lot more cash if Westpac’s predictions for rate rises do come to fruit...
The Reserve Bank of Australia has announced the outcome of its monthly board meeting.
The official cash rate has been left at a record-low 2.5 per cent, as forecast by most experts.
A finder.com.au survey of leading economists found all 18 respondents believed the official cash rate would remain steady today, with only six predicting rates would start increasing before the end of 2014.
Ahead of the announcement, AMP Capital’s chief economist Shane Oliver said the Reserve Bank is currently in a holding pattern and this was likely to remain the case for some time.
“The Reserve Bank has cut interest rates to record lows in response to the still unfolding mining investment slowdown to boost the rest of the economy, and there’s tentative evidence that it’s working, but it’s still tentative,” he said.
“In the meantime, the most recent Budget has had a negative impact on confidence, and that’s thrown a bit of a spanner in the works, and we’ve got relatively low inflation. So on the one hand the economy hasn’t picked up enough to justify a rate hike, and inflation isn’t a problem either, on the other hand the economy isn’t collapsing – justifying rate cutes – so we’re literally in a holding pattern.”
Mr Oliver said the next move will likely be a rate hike very late this year or early next year.
LJ Hooker chief executive officer, Grant Harrod, said the continued stability of rates would give buyers extra confidence, despite the inevitability of a rate rise at some point.
“We’ve seen property price growth soften as the market heads into winter but, even still, demand is strong as seen in the volume of sales and auction clearance rates around Australia’s various markets,” he said.