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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Tune in to the latest episode of Property Showcase, the podcast with the inside track on the products and businesses that will help turbocharge your portfolio, maximise returns and make your overall investment experience seamless and stress-free!

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To hear more about these services, make sure to tune into this episode of Property Showcase!

 Make sure you never miss an episode by subscribing to us now on iTunes!

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Many investors who would have been successfully approved for finance last year are struggling now to either begin or continue their property investment journey because of the current financial climate.

In this episode of the Smart Property Investment Show, broker John Manciamelli and Momentum Media director Alex Whitlock joins host Tim Neary to discuss how APRA changes and the royal commission have resulted in a tighter lending economy and what that means for Australian investors.

They discuss what traps investors should avoid if they are trying to obtain finance, the four key growth drivers in a property market and unpacking trust structures while revealing one type of trust that you should miss.

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!

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In this episode of the Smart Property Investment Show, Katarina joins host Tim Neary to unpack her entry into the property market and experiences of rentvesting, and how the Smart Property Investment Show was vital  in a number of decisions which she made along the way.

Katarina discusses about the team that she had help her along the way, why she thinks that you should never skimp on a good solicitor and accountant, and the red flags which tell her why buying a new property doesn’t necessarily mean buying a better property.

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.

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More than just bricks and mortar, experts often regard property investment as a ‘game of finance’. As such, a good finance strategy can lead any investor to success.

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Why buying new property doesn’t mean buying better property

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