Finance advice
Philippe Brach

What mortgage holders need to know about Westpac’s rate hike

By Philippe Brach

An interest rate increase of 0.20 per cent has been announced by Westpac this week, with the rate hike applying to all mortgages – whether owner-occupied or for investment purposes.

Blogger: Philippe Brach, CEO, Multifocus Properties and Finance

It’s not the best news property owners have heard of late, but there’s no need to despair just yet.

In the last month or two, a number of banks and lenders announced an interest rate increase of up to 0.47 per cent on investment property mortgages. This was in response to action taken by the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA), which is enforcing new regulations that ultimately have the effect of increasing the cost of providing mortgages.

APRA isn’t doing this just for kicks – they’re worried about certain over-heated parts of Australia’s property market, and they want to ensure our banks remain among the safest in the world.

But here’s the corporate reality: banks are in the business of turning profits. Big, billion-dollar profits.

When APRA came along and enforced regulatory change that affected their bottom line, then the banks were forced to look for other avenues to increase their income.

Westpac has become the first of the big four banks to raise rates out of cycle in response, but I don’t believe they will be the last.

Interestingly, I was chatting to a contact at RAMS (which is owned by Westpac), and he confirmed that RAMS will not be following suit and raising their mortgage interest rates. The increase only applies to Westpac-branded loans at this stage, not St George, Bank of Melbourne or BankSA.

But in my view, it’s only a matter of time before other major lenders begin following Westpac’s lead.

Where does this leave mortgage-holders?

Obviously, a rate increase is never good news, but property owners shouldn't be panicking just yet.

It’s quite likely that the Reserve Bank will reduce the official cash rate in the near future, perhaps as early as Melbourne Cup Day – although, I don’t think it will be because of Westpac’s latest move.

One of the primary goals of the RBA is to stimulate business investment and at present, our economy is not in good shape.

In announcing its October 2015 decision to leave rates on hold at two per cent, Glenn Stevens confirmed that “[economic] growth has been somewhat below longer-term averages for some time”, adding that “monetary policy needs to be accommodative”.

The retail sector is about to experience its busiest and most profitable time of the year, and if Christmas shopping spending isn'’t robust and localised – meaning consumers opt to spend their retail dollars within Australia, rather than purchasing from overseas – then that will put further pressure on the economy.

As a consequence of this and other influences, a move by the RBA to reduce the official cash rate seems imminent.

That said, I'm not certain that any rate relief from the central bank will be passed on in full by lenders. We may also see further bank-initiated increases interest rates across the board, due to the pressure to comply with APRA’s requirements by mid-2016.

With any luck, from a mortgage perspective, the two will ultimately balance each other out and you won’t see your home loan interest rate break the five per cent barrier any time soon. 

 

 

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About the Blogger

Philippe Brach

Philippe Brach

Multifocus Properties & Finance was established in 2005 with the aim of mentoring investors to create wealth and invest in their future by building an investment property portfolio.

The company is led by Philippe Brach who has over 25 years experience in the international corporate world specializing in finance, accounting and investment. He is a fully qualified and extremely experienced real estate agent, concentrating his attention solely on investment opportunities around Australia. In addition he is a highly regarded mortgage broker, being accredited with around 35 different lenders.

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podcast

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Will Magee has had ambitions to enter into the Australian property market for quite some time, but it has been more than just finances holding him back.  Having been granted permanent residency just two weeks ago, Will is wasting no time and is now in the process of signing papers and finding his first investment property.

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In this episode of the Smart Property Investment Show, Will joins host Phil Tarrant to share why he is purchasing his first property in partnership with his brother, discuss the complications that can arise from such a strategy, and unpack the ongoing plan for building a joint property portfolio with his brother.

Will will also share how they approached saving for their first property, why he is taking out the mortgage in his name exclusively, and share their savings plan for the year ahead.

If you like this episode, show your support by rating us or leaving a review on iTunes (The Smart Property Investment Show) and by following Smart Property Investment on social media: FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.

If you have any questions about what you heard today, any topics of interest you have in mind, or if you’d like to lend your voice to the show, email [email protected] for more insights!

RELATED AREAS OF INTEREST:

From property in Australia to a ski lodge in Japan
Mortgage Trusts, an alternative first step for property investors
Should a real estate title be in one person’s name only?

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A property investment plan years in the making
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Median house prices in regional Victoria outperformed that of Melbourne in the June quarter, the latest REIV figures reveal. 

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Median house prices in the regions rose 4.0 per cent to $419,500 but in Melbourne they dipped by 0.6 of a percentage point to $840,000.

The result in Melbourne was due to a 0.8 of a percentage point fall in prices achieved at auction; this was despite a lift of 2.3 per cent in private sales.

Inner Melbourne suffered due to auction prices, where median prices fell by 4.9 per cent to $1,459,000 but it was middle Melbourne that was hardest hit, with a 5.4 per cent drop to $974,500.

Outer Melbourne had a good quarter with the median rising by 0.5 of a percentage point to $681,000.

Apartment prices in regional Victoria grew by 3.7 per cent to $304,500 while the metro media was up by 0.5 of a percentage point to $604,000.

REIV President Richard Simpson said that despite fewer sales, many sectors of the market were performing well.

“2017 was a bumper year and while the trendline has flattened, despite the fall in median house prices in the June quarter, median prices are still up this calendar year for both houses and units, in Melbourne and in the regions,” Mr Simpson said. 

In particular there was been strong growth in regional centres which is probably due to the first-home buyers’ concessions said Mr Simpsons.

“The first-home buyers’ concession has been a boon for regional areas. A new entrant to the property market buying a house at the regional median will pay no stamp duty, while a first home buyer of an apartment in Melbourne at the median price would pay stamp duty of nearly $25,000,” he said.

Mr Simpson said that more prospective buyers are looking towards regional Victoria which is also having an effect in Melbourne.

“Melbourne’s outer perimeter continues to grow. Small increases in the June quarter mean that the median prices for both houses and units have risen over 10.5 per cent from a year ago.

Mr Simpson said moving forward that vendors need more realistic expectations as the highs of 2017 are now over.

“Negative chatter about the future of the sector coupled with stronger lending controls by financial institutions has created some uncertainty and vendors need to be realistic with their price expectations,” Mr Simpson said.

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Regional Victoria showing up Melbourne in price performance, new data finds
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If Mark Hodge’s face looks familiar to you it could be because of his time working as a professional entertainer which saw him working with the Australian ballet, appearing on multiple seasons of Dancing with the Stars and touring in musical theatre for 17 years. What you may not know is that Mark is also heavily involved in the short-term property rental marketspace.

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Mark joins host Phil Tarrant to discuss his transition from entertainer to investor, a journey pushed forward by dance related injuries and even a hit and run which saw him needing to find alternate methods to bring in an income. Mark shares how bad long-term tenants and a gang member guided him to the short-term rental market, and how this pushed him into helping others to realise the same benefits.

Mark will also address the common concerns, discuss what his company Maisonnets specialise in and unpack how they are making the process of filling short term rentals easier for investors.

If you like this episode, show your support by rating us or leaving a review on iTunes (The Smart Property Investment Show) and by following Smart Property Investment on social media: FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.

If you have any questions about what you heard today, any topics of interest you have in mind, or if you’d like to lend your voice to the show, email [email protected] for more insights!

RELATED AREAS OF INTEREST:

The hard-to-swallow truth: The prickly points of the Airbnb reforms
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AREAS MENTIONED:

Melbourne
Sydney
Rushcutters Bay
Maroubra
Potts Point

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From pirouettes to property investment

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