Finance advice

RBA announces interest rate decision for March

By Adam Zuchetti
RBA

The official cash rate decision for March has been announced by the Reserve Bank of Australia following its monthly board meeting.

As widely expected, the nation’s official interest rate remains on hold at a historic low of 1.5 per cent. That low rate has held since back in August 2016, when it was cut from 1.75 per cent.

Last month, the bank’s governor Philip Lowe suggested that rates were not about to drift upwards any time soon, amid concerns about poor wage growth and high levels of household debt.

Speaking at the A50 Australian Economic Forum dinner, Mr Lowe said that Australia does not need to “move in lock-step” with other countries like the US and UK, which have already begun raising rates.

“We did not lower our interest rates to the extraordinarily low levels seen elsewhere after the financial crisis,” he said.

“Just as we did not move in lock-step on the way down, we don’t need to do so in the other direction.”

CoreLogic’s head of research, Tim Lawless, said that pressure to raise rates had eased as the Sydney and Melbourne property markets come off the boil.

“The controlled slowdown in housing markets, driven by subtle falls across Sydney and Melbourne, has eased pressure on the RBA to lift rates in order to quell housing market exuberance,” said Mr Lawless.  

“Higher on the RBA Board’s agenda is likely to be inflation and employment. Year ended inflation averaged just 1.9 per cent over 2017, and the unemployment rate was 5.5 per cent in January, up from 5.4 per cent in November last year.”

He added: “Despite the hold decision from the RBA, mortgage rates remain close to historic lows, particularly for owner-occupiers who are paying down both their interest and principal. Investors are facing a mortgage rate premium of around 60 basis points, but relative to long-term averages, their mortgage rates are low. While the RBA has flagged the next move in interest rates will be a rise, it remains likely that any hike to the cash rate is well in the future.”

Meanwhile RateCity.com.au’s money editor Sally Tindall said that ballooning household will put a lid on rate rises for the foreseeable future.

“The International Monetary Fund has predicted mortgage rates will increase to 7.1 per cent by 2022, but the reality is, Australian households are carrying too much debt to withstand a succession of rate hikes,” she said.

“The RBA will have enough trouble finding a reason to hike rates even once this year. 

“That said, the end of record low rates will eventually come. Borrowers need to take advantage of this period in our economic history by getting ahead on their mortgage and creating a buffer for when rates eventually rise.”

Household debt is also a concern for finder.com.au’s panel of 33 experts, who had all tipped another month of rates on hold.

They noted that Australia’s income to debt ratio is nearing the 200 per cent “danger zone”, and suggested that rates will remain on hold for the entirety of 2018.

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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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  ["title"]=>
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  ["introtext"]=>
  string(381) "

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
Airbnb reforms unpacked for property investors
Airbnb leasing: What are a landlord’s rights and responsibilities? 


AREAS MENTIONED:

Melbourne
Sydney
Rushcutters Bay
Maroubra
Potts Point

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From pirouettes to property investment

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