With Reserve Bank Governor Glenn Stevens indicating that the central bank has an “open mind” about further shifts on monetary policy, a further fall in interest rates could be forthcoming.
Fronting a parliamentary committee in Canberra this morning Mr Stevens said the economic year had not been as good as the RBA had hoped, but not as bad as it could possibly have been.
He said it was not out of the question that the official cash rate could come down further from the current 2.5 per cent.
“The board has an open mind about whether need to lower interest rates further,” Mr Stevens said.
Consumers have enjoyed record low interest rates post the global financial crisis, resulting in more first-time homeowners getting into the market.
However Mr Stevens said that a further lowering of interest rates may not be enough to encourage spending and investment in other areas.
“Monetary policy can’t force spending to occur,” he said.
“In the end, though, firms and individuals have to have the confidence to take advantage of that situation.”
Mr Stevens said that mining investment had “reached its peak” but that there was a concern that non-mining investment was still at a “low ebb”.
He said in the short term below trend growth in GDP “will probably continue for a little bit longer”.
But Mr Stevens hoped in the medium term future growth would pick up and the economy could return to full strength.
His comments today come after Treasurer Joe Hockey yesterday released the Midyear Economic and Fiscal Outlook.
The budget update showed conditions had worsened for the Australian economy, with the deficit this year blowing out from $30 billion to $47 billion.
Without changes to government policy, taxpayers would be staring down the barrel of a $667 billion debt bomb within the next ten years, the document stated.
Original article published at www.news.com.au by Lanai Scarr, National Political Reporter, News Limited Network
Interest Rate Hits An All-Time Low: What Does It Mean For The Gold Coast Market?
GLITTER Strip borrowers could have more than $20,000 back in their pockets after the Reserve Bank of Australia cut interest rates to an all-time low of 1.25 per cent.
The cut from 1.5 per cent to the official cash rate was welcomed by Gold Coast heavyweights.
Ray White Surfers Paradise chief executive officer Andrew Bell said the cut alongside the Coalition’s federal election win would create stability in the real estate market.
“It gives people a sense of where the market is going,” he said.
“They now know the government policies for the next three years and they get a sense that interest rates will remain low for some time and these are good signals for the marketplace.
“This is the perfect climate to enact your buying needs.”
The average home loan size is $384,700, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).
Finder.com found the cut could lead to savings of almost $700 per year, or almost $21,000 across a 30 year loan.
CoreLogic head of research Tim Lawless echoed Mr Bell’s sentiments and said it would further boost the property market.
“The move by the RBA to cut rates was widely expected and no doubt the focus will now turn to mortgage rates — how low will they go?,” he said.
“Mortgage rates for owner occupiers are already around the lowest level since the 1960s and lenders are generally expected to pass on most, if not all of the cash rate cut to mortgage interest rates.
“Lower mortgage rates, together with the likelihood of lower borrower serviceability assessments if Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) delivers on a relaxation to the base serviceability rate later this month, as well as renewed confidence following the federal election, are likely to see an improvement in housing market activity.”
Gold Coast Central Chamber of Commerce president Martin Hall said the cut would allow locals to further enjoy the live, play, work approach of the city.
“Anything that makes the art of doing business easier for small and medium businesses, or any business on the Coast, is welcomed,” he said.
“In the lead up to what will be an interesting state election, focus on business is as important as ever. Now is the time for small businesses to have a big voice.”
The Commonwealth Bank (CBA) and the ANZ were the first of the big four banks to announce reductions to its rates after yesterday’s announcement by the Reserve Bank.
The CBA said it would pass the cut on in full, and the ANZ said it would reduce its variable rates for owner-occupier and investor loans by 0.18 percentage points from June 14.
Homeowners with a $500,0000 mortgage will save an extra $73 a month if their bank passes on the full cut.
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the interest rate cut and lower income tax could benefit two-income families to the tune of $3000 a year.
RateCity predict June and then August rate cut
Home loan comparison website RateCity.com.au expects the Reserve Bank to cut rates at the June meeting, and then again as early as August.
RateCity’s research director Sally Tindall said cutting rates was no longer an “if’, but “when” scenario for the RBA.
“Governor Lowe has been extremely hesitant to cut the cash rate, but he’s working against a backdrop of rising unemployment, falling inflation and less than impressive wages growth,” she said.
“If he doesn’t cut tomorrow, he’ll catch much of the nation by surprise.
“The decision seems close to a foregone conclusion. The one thing that could hold him back is the fact that he only has a few trump cards left in his hand before he bottoms out, but he’s made it very clear he’s prepared to play.”
RateCity’s forecast for two cuts would take the official interest rate down to 1 percent.
If the cash rate is cut to 1 percent, owner occupier variable home loan interest rates are set to drop below 3 per cent, while investor rates could fall as low as 3.24 per cent.
“If a rate cut does happen, there will be pressure on the banks to pass it on in full.
“Banks have been hiking rates since 2017 due to the high cost of funding, but this pressure has dissipated, so the next RBA cut should, in theory, be passed on in full.
“That said, it’s been a tough year for the banks in a slowing home loan market, so some lenders may choose to hold part of the cut back,” she said.
APRA Moves to Scrap 7pc Loan Buffer
In a move that is most likely to benefit owner-occupiers and the wider property market, the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority is proposing the 7 per cent serviceability buffer on home loans be removed.
With housing prices continuing to fall sharply in Sydney and Melbourne, APRA’s unwinding of its restrictions is part of a coordinated action by the prudential regulator, central bank and government.
The decision, in the wake of the weekend’s federal election, will provide banks with credit growth and reduce pressure on margins by lessening the need for rate cuts.
This may be more good news for the banks, following their big rise in the markets on Monday, but the news could also have negative implications on Australian household debt levels.
The banking regulator said it was putting its 7 per cent minimum interest rate “floor” under review, because the policy may have reached its use-by date after reviewing its “appropriateness”.
APRA first introduced the serviceability guidance in December 2014 as part of its efforts to reinforce sound residential lending standards in an attempt to temper ballooning house prices and surging housing investor loan growth.
They required the banks to assess all home loans against a floor of 7 per cent or 2 per cent above the rate paid by the borrower, whichever was higher.
Banks have typically added a further 25 basis points to the 7 per cent threshold taking it to 7.25 per cent and a buffer of 2.25 per cent.
If the changes were to go ahead, authorised deposit-taking institutions (ADIs) would “be permitted to review and set their own minimum interest rate floor for use in serviceability assessments”.
“APRA introduced this guidance as part of a suite of measures designed to reinforce sound residential lending standards at a time of heightened risk,” APRA chairman Wayne Byres said.
“Although many of those risk factors remain – high house prices, low interest rates, high household debt, and subdued income growth – two more recent developments have led us to review the appropriateness of the interest rate floor.
“With interest rates at record lows, and likely to remain at historically low levels for some time, the gap between the 7 per cent floor and actual rates paid has become quite wide in some cases – possibly unnecessarily so.
“The changes, while likely to increase the maximum borrowing capacity for a given borrower, are not intended to signify any lessening in the importance that APRA places on the maintenance of sound lending standards.
“Rather, it is simply recognition that the current interest rate environment does not warrant a uniform mandated interest rate floor of 7 per cent across all products.”
The proposed revision comes as financial markets are anticipating the Reserve Bank will lower official interest rates to 1.25 per cent in the coming months.
In an attempt to rebound lending growth, APRA has been quick to support the banking sector, removing its 10 per cent growth cap on investor lending and 30 per cent limit on interest-only lending.
Lowering the floor could also provide some welcome support for the stricken housing market, following a 10 per cent slide in national house prices.
APRA has set a four-week consultation period on the proposals, closing on 18 June, but they are expected to be confirmed.
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