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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  ["title"]=>
  string(51) "Boost for investors as app sets up off-site bidding"
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  string(55) "boost-for-investors-as-new-app-sets-up-off-site-bidding"
  ["introtext"]=>
  string(144) "

Property investors are now able to identify and bid on auctions remotely using a new live-streaming functionality launched by Gavl.

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Called “Request an Auction”, the new functionality enables users to watch and bid on any Sydney or Melbourne auction remotely.

Through Gavl, prospective buyers are now able to register to bid on their preferred auction. The platform will obtain permission from the listing agent and confirm within 48 hours.

Vendors can also request to have their auctions broadcast to a larger buyer audience.

Co-founder Joel Smith said that auctions streamed on Gavl attract 47 per cent more viewers than traditional ones.

He said that Request an Auction will be valuable for remote buyers.

“Buyers are able to have Gavl attend any auction they nominate, so they will never have to miss out on an opportunity due to logistical complications in physically attending the auction.

“Vendors, too, have the opportunity to directly book an auction with us, so they can open up their event to buyers all around the world. With more potential buyers, they’re giving their property the chance to receive more bids and maximise their sales result.”

Mr Smith said that prior to the Request an Auction app, buyers were limited to what they could achieve through the Gavl technology.

Gavl is a live-streaming and bidding platform for real estate auctions.

Mr Smith said that it has streamed more than 6,000 auctions, which have achieved 3.5 million views from 50 countries.

Gavl’s Request an Auction function is currently being offered in Melbourne and Sydney only.

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Boost for investors as app sets up off-site bidding
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Having to split her time between Hong Kong and her original base of Sydney has not slowed Julia Tita’s goal of building a high-performance Australian property portfolio. Instead the resulting alterations to her strategy have positively impacted her investing success.

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Having recently purchased her 6th property, Julia joins host Tim Neary to discuss her journey, share her ups and downs over the years, and reveal her thoughts on why some properties are better than others.

Julia also explains why she no longer makes a move without the help of a buyer’s agent, why working with a strong team of specialists is extremely important and discloses her long-term property ambitions.

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:

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AREAS MENTIONED:

Eagleby
Charters Towers
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Sydney
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Bondi

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["secure"]=> int(0) ["page_description"]=> string(11) "sample desc" ["page_rights"]=> NULL ["robots"]=> NULL ["access-view"]=> bool(true) } ["initialized":protected]=> bool(true) ["separator"]=> string(1) "." } ["displayDate"]=> string(19) "2018-06-18 03:15:56" ["slug"]=> string(72) "18171:how-a-move-to-hong-kong-impacted-julia-s-australian-property-goals" ["catslug"]=> string(28) "45:smart-property-investment" ["link"]=> string(92) "/investor-stories-1/18171-how-a-move-to-hong-kong-impacted-julia-s-australian-property-goals" }
How a move to Hong Kong impacted Julia’s Australian property goals
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  ["id"]=>
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  ["title"]=>
  string(88) "‘Common’ referrer practice of being paid on both sides of the fence coming to an end"
  ["alias"]=>
  string(82) "common-referrer-practice-of-being-paid-on-both-sides-of-the-fence-coming-to-an-end"
  ["introtext"]=>
  string(246) "

The practice of property investment firms sharing undisclosed kickbacks among the supply chain involved in development sales will be outlawed in NSW on 1 July this year under the Real Estate Reform being handed down by regulators in NSW.

" ["fulltext"]=> string(2238) "

Property commentator and valuer, Suburbanite’s Anna Porter, said the reform will address conflicts of interest.

She said they arise when a mortgage broker, accountant or financial planner receives part of the commission from the property firm, who receive their fees from the developer or seller.

“This puts the broker into a position by which they are being paid on both sides of the fence,” she said.

“Until now this has been a grey area and there was nothing stopping this practice.” 

Ms Porter said this has been a common practice in the industry.

"Some well-known mortgage broking firms openly admit to receiving $5,000–$10,000 per referral in their pocket.”

She also said this process has been going on for decades.

"Property investment firms commonly pass some of their commission on to the mortgage broker, accountant or financial planner as a reward to them for passing on the referral. This means that many brokers or financial service providers are making significant amounts of money just to refer on to a property firm, often totalling hundreds of thousands of dollars a year," Anna Porter said.

Ms Porter said the Property, Stock and Business Agents Amendment (Property Industry Reform) Bill 2017 will be in force from July this year, and will prohibit this practice unless the broker or referring partner also holds a real estate industry license.

"Under the new laws, if the broker takes a referral fee from the property firm, they will have to be a licensed real estate agent and also hold a corporation’s license,” she said. 

“Subsequently, every transaction that they receive a referral fee from, they will be putting their license up against the transaction and taking full liability for the conduct, practices and outcome of that transaction, even if they have little to do with the transaction; they are a party to it financially and therefore take as much risk as everyone else in the transaction.”

Mr Porter said where a referrer holds a real estate license, and receives a part of the sale commission, they may find themselves in breach of the ethical requirements under the act.

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‘Common’ referrer practice of being paid on both sides of the fence coming to an end

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