Are Aussies growing complacent around interest rates?

By Grace Ormsby 17 November 2021 | 1 minute read

A majority of Australian borrowers and renters could not meet a mortgage or rent increase equivalent to a rate rise of just 1 per cent, according to a new survey.

Are Aussies growing complacent around interest rates

The “Australian mortgage and rental affordability survey”, commissioned by the Finance Brokers Association of Australia (FBAA), has revealed that 66 per cent of borrowers and renters would be under some amount of financial pressure – strongly, somewhat, or slightly if interest rates were to rise.

FBAA managing director Peter White has revealed shock at the survey’s findings – highlighting his dismay that 57 per cent of people said they would not be able to meet a monthly increase in their rent or mortgage of $300.

Voicing concern that Australians have grown complacent after over a decade without a rate rise, he said a $300 mortgage or rental increase is “equivalent to only 1 per cent based on the average home loan”.

“One per cent is not a large increase. It will happen, and with the RBA recently deciding not to intervene to stop increasing yields on three-year government bonds, it will likely happen soon.


“Many Australians are clearly on the brink and are sleepwalking into disaster, living in the false hope that rates will stay this low,” Mr White continued.

“My message to Australians is that we must be better prepared.”

While borrowers have rightfully taken full advantage of historically low rates and low deposit schemes for home ownership, the managing director has warned that it could lead to “a lot of people in real trouble”.

“The housing market has soared, and there is a reasonable chance will undergo a correction, meaning that those with low deposits who have stretched themselves to make large repayments could see themselves with negative equity, owing more than the value of the property,” he cautioned.

Mr White said that based on the history of interest rates, the only way is now up.

From his perspective, “the housing market is over-heating and the banks, regulators and government are already talking about lifting the floor rate (a higher rate used to calculate repayments) to slow borrowing”.

Alongside recent fixed rates rises, the director said all the signs point to rising interest rates.

And then this happens; it won’t just be the low-income earners who feel the effects, Mr White pointed out.

Almost one in two (46 per cent) of those surveyed who said they couldn’t meet a $300 per month repayment had reported a combined gross weekly income between $2,000 and $3,000.

So how should Australians be preparing for the inevitable rate hike?

While there’s no need to over-react, Mr White said, “we do need to take an honest, balanced and informed approach”.

His advice to borrowers? “Don’t over-commit yourself, and don’t go deep into payday loans, personal loans or credit cards because rates will rise. Borrowers and renters need to have surplus funds to pay an increased amount.”



Mortgages are loans that are used to buy homes and other real estate where the property itself serves as collateral for the loan.


Mortgages are loans that are used to buy homes and other real estates where the property itself serves as collateral for the loan.

About the author

Grace Ormsby

Grace Ormsby

Grace is a journalist across Momentum property and investment brands. Grace joined Momentum Media in 2018, bringing with her a Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Communication (Journalism) from the University of Newcastle. She’s passionate about delivering easy to digest information and content relevant to her key audiences and... Read more

Are Aussies growing complacent around interest rates?
Are Aussies growing complacent around interest rates
spi logo

Get the latest news & updates

Join a community of over 100,000 property investors.

Check this box to receive podcast updates

Website Notifications

Get notifications in real-time for staying up to date with content that matters to you.