The RBA has today left interest rates on hold at 1.5% at their first meeting of 2017. The outlook remains clouded and many top economists are tipping they may stay on hold for the first half of the year, before lower inflation opens the door for possible further cuts in the second half.
In the immediate future Australian mortgage rates are far more likely to be affected this year by two external factors.
- The U.S Federal Reserve has recently raised rates and is on guard for further possible hikes in the first half of the year. This has raised offshore borrowing costs for lenders here and poses further risks of those higher costs being passed through to borrowers. Particularly at risk are the still very low fixed rates available in Australia.
- Prudential regulations put in place over the last few years are really starting to take effect. In the last quarter we have seen a distinct change in appetite for investment lending from the second tier lenders. To the point where some have put up the house full sign to new investment property applications. This comes on top of lenders raising investment rates by an average 10 basis points late last year. We expect the differential between the owner occupied and investment rates to continue to widen.
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