Property investor interest cooling: Latest home loan news, March 2023

Collage of a young woman looking at home loan news on a live blog on her laptop.

Welcome to Mozo's home loan live blog!

Check in here for our editorial team's daily newsfeed on mortgages, interest rates, the property market, the Reserve Bank of Australia, and more. 


This week in home loans... (27 - 31 March)

Investor interest in the Australian property market cooling despite red-hot rental growth

Collage of a woman looking at scattered graph bars.

CoreLogic reports that investors seem to be “shying away” from the Australian property market, recording a 47% drop in new investment home loans between March 2022 and January 2023. 

Rents, on the other hand, have increased 24.1% between September 2020 and February 2023, while RBA rate hikes have depressed dwelling values nationwide. 

“On the surface it would appear to be the perfect storm for property investors,” writes CoreLogic head of residential research Australia, Eliza Owen.

However, slow capital growth and mortgage rates eclipsing rental income seem to have demotivated investors hoping to make their mark.

“The reduction in new investment purchases exacerbates the issue of low rental supply and rising rents,” warns Owen. “As the proposition of individually-owned investment property in the market becomes less attractive, Australians need a new source of investment in rental accommodation.”

Published 28 March 10.50 am | Evlin DuBose

Capital cities record second busiest auction week of the year

A total of 2,292 capital city homes went under the hammer last week, making it the second busiest auction week of the year so far. Of the 1,795 results collected so far, 71% have been successful — an improvement on the prior week’s 68.4%, which was later revised down to 64.2%.

Melbourne led all capital cities with 1,122 homes going to auction (up 7.2% from the prior week). Its preliminary clearance rate currently sits at 73.5%, the highest the city has seen since mid-April last year.

“We are expecting to see over 2,750 homes taken to auction across the combined capital cities next week in the lead up to Easter, followed by the usual temporary drop in auction volumes over the Easter long weekend,” said CoreLogic senior researcher Caitlin Fono. 

“If all of these auctions go ahead, it will be the busiest week for auctions since late-May last year (3,226).”

Published 27 March 2:30 pm | Niko Iliakis

On a single income in the city? Here are three ways to buy property

Three steps with money leading up to a house.

Between steep (if falling) prices and significant competition, it can be tricky to break into the Australian property market if the odds are stacked against you.

However, it isn't hopeless. In our newest guide, we lay out three strategies to break into property if you're just getting started. 

Published 27 March 9.25 am | Evlin DuBose

20 - 24 March

Loss-making sales at 6.9% over December quarter

Recent analysis has revealed that, despite the rapid increase in interest rates, the number of loss-making property sales remains relatively low. According to property research firm CoreLogic, just 6.9% of sales over the December quarter resulted in a loss.

Of course, the number of homes hitting the market has fallen as vendors wait out the current downturn.

CoreLogic head of research Eliza Owen said that on profit-making sales, houses continue to outperform units, with median gains of $350,000 compared with $145,000.

“Since the start of the current cycle in late 2020 through to December 2022, national house values were 20.9% higher, and unit values only 10.1% higher,” she said.

“After a turbulent cycle, houses ended up with higher value gains, which helps to explain why the rate of loss-making house sales is so much lower than what's occurring across the unit segment.”

Published 23 March 10:33 am | Niko Iliakis

How your home equity could save you hundreds a year

Man riding the rising graph line of his home equity.

Refinancing to a cheaper interest rate has become a priority for many borrowers. After all, rate hikes have created a perfect storm of lost equity and expensive mortgage repayments. Getting a better deal is now essential for many to weather the crisis. 

However, your equity can also be used to your advantage. Using averages from the Mozo database, we’ve crunched the numbers and found that homeowners could save hundreds a year by refinancing to a lower LVR tier than they started out on. 

For more insights into switching lenders, head over to our refinancing hub. 

Published 22 March 11.42 am | Evlin DuBose

Speculation on a “cash rate pause” heats up ahead of April RBA meeting

Reviewing today’s release of the March Reserve Bank meeting minutes, Australia’s big four banks continue to speculate whether a pause in the aggressive tightening cycle may come sooner than thought.

Most big four banks reckon we have another 25 to 50 basis points left to add to the cash rate for this cycle, bringing the final cash rate to 3.85% as early as April or 4.10% as late as May. The current cash rate sits at 3.60%. 

RBA meeting minutes highlight a debate among the board on whether softer than expected wages growth and plummeting consumer sentiment mean a pause is in order. The board agrees the economy is currently in restrictive territory, meaning inflation should start winding down soon. 

“At this stage it looks like a coin toss as to whether the RBA leaves the policy rate on hold in April,” says CBA head of Australian economics, Gareth Aird. 

Published 21 March 4.00 pm | Evlin DuBose

Declines in national unit values flattened out in February to 0.0%, says CoreLogic

CoreLogic’s National Unit Index came up with a puzzling 0.0% change in dwelling values for units in Australia last month. 

Despite plummeting for the past nine months, the dive was offset in February by marginal upticks in Sydney and Adelaide unit values, which slowed the descent. 

A tight supply has helped keep unit values afloat, reports CoreLogic. Fewer sellers hitting the market means more competition among buyers (few as they are at the moment). 

Published 21 March 2.36 pm | Evlin DuBose

Time to save a deposit now shorter as property prices fall further from peaks

Property prices across Australia have been trending downwards since the RBA’s tightening cycle began, shortening the amount of time it takes to save a 20% deposit in all capital cities except Adelaide.

For couples looking to buy an entry-priced house in Sydney and Canberra, the time required to save a deposit has been reduced by as much as 13 months over the last year, according to property marketplace Domain.


Published 21 March 12:10 pm | Niko Iliakis

Home loan interest rates climb 0.10% in two weeks in Mozo database

Collage of a girl staring up at climbing interest rate bars.

According to figures from Mozo’s database, the average variable interest rate for owner-occupied P&I home loans with at least 80% LVR is 5.98% p.a.

That’s a 0.10% jump in the last two weeks. 

Other average interest rates for home loans with similar LVRs have shot well past 6.00%.

  • Owner-occupied, IO: 6.61% p.a.
  • Investor, P&I: 6.37% p.a.
  • Investor, IO: 6.62% p.a.

Published 20 March 3.47 pm | Evlin DuBose

Aussies hankering for solar and green home loans, says Gateway Bank

Revisions to the National Construction Code of Australia mandate that all new homes built from May 2023 onwards must have a NatHERS rating of 7 or higher. Houses rated 7+ qualify as ‘green’ homes because they use up less energy to maintain, which helps the environment. 

This comes as great news for eco-conscious buyers, who’ve been hankering for ways to add solar panels and energy-efficient features for a while, now. 

“This means homes built from May onwards will have thermal efficiency features that help decrease its heating and cooling needs,” says Gateway Bank’s chief executive officer, Lexi Airey, “resulting in big savings on energy bills and a more comfortable place to live.” 

Having these features also makes it easier to qualify for a green home loan

Published 20 March 10.48 am | Evlin DuBose

13 - 19 March

Westpac revises cash rate forecasts, expects 3.85% peak

Westpac has walked back its cash rate forecast from earlier this month, citing “weaker than expected data flow since the February Board meeting and adverse developments in global markets.”

Economists at the major bank now expect the RBA will pause its rate hike campaign at the next meeting. They have also lowered their peak cash rate expectations from 4.1% to 3.85%.

Published 17 March 1:14 am | Niko Iliakis

Bank fees have actually decreased 3% in the last year, says RBA

As a surprising bit of good news, new research from the Reserve Bank of Australia this week announced that between June 2021 and June 2022, the number of fees charged to households by banks decreased by around 3% due to strong competition between banks on home loan during the property boom, despite a sharp rise in overall lending.

Published 15 March 3.21 pm | Evlin DuBose

New RBA data shows home loan interest rates grew more the savings rates in 2022

A new bulletin from the Reserve Bank of Australia shows the difference between how much interest rates increased for home loans and savings accounts across Australia’s banks last year.

Despite the cash rate increasing by 3.00% in 2022, the average variable home loan apparently only increased by around 1.9%. The RBA mentions that a lot of borrowers have managed to duck exorbitant rates by negotiating with their lenders for discounts. 

Mortgages have not seen rates so high since 2013. 

Savings rates, on the other hand, saw a “limited pass-through” of RBA rate hikes, particularly to transaction and at-call savings accounts. Term deposits were the only type of account that saw increases that exceeded the cash rate hikes. 

The RBA claims deposits like savings accounts make up two-thirds of profits for major banks. This may mean the incentive to pass on savings to customers is smaller than it is to pass on hikes to borrowers. 

Published 16 March 5.00 pm | Evlin DuBose

CPI rents rise by 4% in 2022: RBA

Since 2012, rent inflation in capital cities has been quite weak, rising by an average rate of 1% each year. But that picture has changed dramatically in the last year. According to a recent RBA bulletin, CPI rents shot up 4% in 2022 — the steepest increase in 10 years.

Advertised rents, which reflect the increase in rent once a property is leased to new tenants, rose 9.6% in capital cities and 10.3% in regional centres over the last two years.

Interestingly, the RBA notes that the share of renters among the top half of income earners has gone up in recent years, as more Australians postpone buying a home or abandon those plans altogether.

Published 16 March 3:00 pm | Niko Iliakis

Aussies dour on economy, expect rates to continue climbing

According to the latest Westpac Melbourne Institute Consumer Sentiment Index, 74% of Australians expect rates will continue climbing this year. Interestingly, 45% expect a rise of 1.00% or more, well above market expectations.

“This 45% proportion seems excessive given that the Governor has discussed the prospect of a pause. Westpac and markets are not looking for further increases of more than 0.5ppt,” said Westpac chief economist Bill Evans.

The report showed consumer sentiment was unchanged in March, sitting at 78.5 for the second consecutive month.

“Index reads below 80 are rare, back-to-back reads even rarer. Indeed, both the COVID shock and the Global Financial Crisis saw only one month of sentiment at these levels,” Evans said.

“Runs of sub-80 reads have only been seen during the late 1980s/early 1990s recession and in the ‘banana republic’ period of concern in 1986, when the Australian dollar was in free-fall after the Federal government lost its triple-A rating.”

The soaring cost of living, combined with rising interest rates and broader economic conditions, remained a top concern among respondents, with the overwhelming majority (85%) viewing the news around these topics as unfavourable.

Published 16 March 11:30 am | Niko Iliakis

Sun sets on NAB’s Choice Package home loan

From 17 March 2023, new customers will no longer be able to apply for NAB’s Choice Package home loan, which drew many customers with its attractive discounts and comprehensive package inclusions, such as limited fees and a discounted variable interest rate. 

Instead, NAB has added extra LVR tiers for customers interested in applying for the NAB Tailored Home Loan directly, which used to come as the featured loan of the Choice Package. 

However, this non-packaged option still has some eye-catching features on offer, such as an offset account, flexible repayment options, and an $8 monthly service fee. Eligible refinancers who switch to NAB’s Tailored Home loan could also get a $2,000 cashback bonus (though terms and conditions apply). 

Published 16 March 10.13 am | Evlin DuBose

Risky lending on the way down: APRA

APRA’s Quarterly ADI statistics, released this week, show the proportion of new loans with a debt-to-income ratio of six or higher dropped to 11.0% in the December quarter, down from 24.3% a year earlier.

The number of new loans with an LVR equal to or above 90% also fell slightly – from 7.9% to 5.9% over the last 12 months. CoreLogic head of residential research Eliza Owen said:

“The sharp drop-off in lending at high debt-to-income ratios, and loan-to-income ratios coincides with the bulk of the current rate hiking cycle flowing through to prospective borrowers, which has limited borrowing capacity.”

The report also shed some light on other risk indicators, such as the number of non-performing loans (loans where payments are late by 90 days or more). These declined by 0.03% over the quarter to end the year at 0.78%. According to APRA, this indicates that rising interest rates are “yet to have a material impact on asset quality.”

Published 15 March 11:00 am | Niko Iliakis

Home buying intentions rose by 21% in February but still down over the year

CommBank’s latest Household Spending Intentions report is out, and it shows home buying intentions rose by 21% last month, as property plans that were put on hold resumed after the holiday period.

“The rebound in February occurred after the normal holiday induced fall in January and was driven by a lift in home loan applications and Google searches for property inspections & appraisals and real estate listing,” the report said.

But CommBank notes that home buying intentions are still down 20.5% compared to last year. Buyer confidence has been trending lower ever since the RBA kicked off its rate hike campaign, with new lending for housing down 35% over the last 12 months and first home buyers in particular steering clear of the market.

Property prices are now 9.7% lower since peaking in April 2022. Though the downturn slowed down last month, CBA economists expect prices will continue to drop, pencilling in a peak to trough fall of 15%.

Published 14 March 10:50 am | Niko Iliakis

Variable rate borrowers to be tested by 3.60% cash rate

The fixed rate cliff has been weighing on everyone’s mind lately. For those borrowers whose fixed rate terms are set to expire this year, the jump in repayments will be more than enough to warrant a serious revision of household budgets.

But variable rate borrowers, who have endured a hefty but gradual increase in repayments, are facing a cliff of their own. 

In October 2022, the RBA estimated that if the cash rate reached 3.60% — its current level — half of all variable rate borrowers would see their spare cash flows fall by more than 20% over the next couple of years, while the spare cash flows of around 15% of households would become negative.

At the time, the RBA said:

“While a relatively small share of the sample of households appears to be at high risk of falling behind on their loan payments, most borrowers will likely be able to manage for at least two years by reducing their non-essential spending, reducing their saving flows and/or drawing down on their accumulated prepayment buffers.”

Published 13 March 2:35 pm | Niko Iliakis

Australian property experiences largest annual decline on record

According to the CoreLogic Monthly Housing report, dwelling values dropped -7.9% between February 2022 - 2023. This is the largest yearly decline on record, says CoreLogic. 

Meanwhile, rents skyrocketed by +10.1% during the same period, just ten basis points shy of the record high set last year. 

Published 13 March 10.00 am | Evlin DuBose

6 - 10 March

Rate change round-up: which banks and lenders have increased home loans?

To help with your home loan comparison process, Mozo keeps track of the latest interest rates in our database. 

Here’s a summary of lenders who will increase variable home loan rates by 0.25% in March following the RBA’s decision to lift the cash rate by the same amount.

  • AMP: 10 March
  • firstmac: 10 March
  • 10 March
  • ME Bank: 11 March
  • Virgin Money: 14 March
  • Bank of Queensland: 14 March
  • Suncorp: 14 March
    ING: 14 March
  • Greater Bank: 15 March
  • Auswide: 16 March
  • Commonwealth Bank: 17 March
  • ANZ: 17 March
  • NAB: 17 March
  • Bendigo Bank: 17 March 
  • MyState: 20 March
  • Westpac: 21 March
  • St. George: 21 March
  • Macquarie Bank: 22 March
  • Bank Australia: 23 March

Published 10 March 3.24 pm | Evlin DuBose

CBA last big bank to move variable rates, hiking 0.25%

The last of the Big Four Banks has announced changes to its interest rates after the March RBA decision, raising variable home loans 0.25% from 17 March. 

Savings accounts will also see a boost, particularly Commonwealth Bank’s popular NetBank Saver (+0.25%), Youthsaver (+0.25%), and GoalSaver (+0.15%) offers. 

“We know the changing interest rate environment and rising cost of living mean that many Australian households are focused on what they can do to manage budgets, including rethinking some of their spending habits and savings goals,” says CBA group executive, retail banking, Angus Sullivan.

“Starting that conversation early – by messaging us in the CommBank App to connect with one of our specialists – allows us to work together to find solutions.”

Published 10 March 9.43 am | Evlin DuBose

ANZ hikes variable rates by 0.25%

ANZ is the third big bank to adjust mortgage rates in response to the RBA’s decision. Its variable interest rates will increase by 0.25% p.a., effective 17 March 2023. 

The major bank will also bump up rates on the ANZ Plus Save account by 0.25% p.a. to 4.25% p.a. The new savings rates will come into effect 17 March 2023.

Among the major banks, CommBank is the only one that hasn't yet announced its plans.

Published 9 March 2:45 pm | Niko Iliakis

Westpac the second big bank to lift variable rates

Two days out from the Reserve Bank’s decision to hike rates by 25 basis points, Westpac has announced it will be adjusting its variable rates in kind. Westpac is the second big bank to shift rates this month, after NAB moved earlier this afternoon. 

Effective from 21 March 2023, Westpac’s variable home loan rates will go up by 0.25% p.a.

Chris de Bruin, Westpac’s chief executive of consumer and business banking said the bank recognises the challenge of rising rates and higher costs of living are weighing on household budgets.

“For home loan customers we understand after a number of successive interest rate rises some people are starting to cut back their spending to help balance the budget. We also realise there is a degree of uncertainty in the economic outlook and that is causing concern,” he said.

“We stand ready to support customers requesting hardship assistance at this time.”

Published 9 March 1:10 pm | Niko Iliakis

NAB becomes first big four bank to move on March RBA decision

NAB announced today that it will increase its variable home loans 0.25% p.a. following the March RBA decision.

The new rates will be effective from 17 March 2023. 

“We know most of our customers are in good shape but, for some Australians, financial difficulty might be an entirely new experience as rising costs put increased pressure on their finances,” says NAB group executive personal banking, Rachel Slade.

“Our support is designed to get our customers through the tough times, and we know that when our customers reach out to our NAB Assist team early for help, more than 95% of them are back on their feet financially within three months.”

Published 9 March 12.44 pm | Evlin DuBose

Mind the property gender gap, reports CoreLogic

While gap has shrunk a little in the last year (-0.3%), women still lag behind men in property investments, says CoreLogic. 

The Women and Property Report 2023 highlights the enormous wealth disparity between men and women that a property gap can give rise to, since it no only contributes to female late-in-life housing insecurity, but it locks women out of capital gains.

It also takes women longer to save up for the 20% housing deposit. Using average weekly earning data and the median Australian dwelling value (pegged at January 2023), the report also estimates that it would take women a year longer than men to save. 

Published 9 March 11.40 am | Evlin DuBose

Will the RBA lift rates again in April?

The question of how high interest rates will go is highly contested, but there’s a good chance the end of the RBA’s tightening cycle — or at the very least a pause — may be in sight. In a speech at the AFR Summit today, RBA boss Philip Lowe said: 

“We are closer to the point where it will be appropriate to pause interest rate increases to allow more time to assess the state of the economy. At what point it will be appropriate to pause will be determined by the data and our assessment of the outlook,” he said.

The upcoming data sets to watch will be:

  • Labour force data
  • Retail trade data
  • The NAB business survey
  • The monthly CPI Indicator

Published 8 March 12.30 pm | Niko Iliakis

Home loan interest rates inching towards 6% in the Mozo database

According to figures from Mozo’s database, the average variable interest rate for owner-occupied P&I home loans with at least 80% LVR is 5.88% p.a.

Other average interest rates for home loans with similar LVRs have already eclipsed the 6% mark. 

  • Owner-occupied, IO: 6.50% p.a.
  • Investor, P&I: 6.27% p.a.
  • Investor, IO: 6.52% p.a.

Published 8 March 12.11 pm | Evlin DuBose

Introducing Mozo's Fixed Rate Cliff Calculator

According to the RBA, 35% of fixed rate mortgages will expire in 2023. 

Most of these mortgages were taken out during the 2020 - 2021 property boom, when interest rates were at historical lows (the official cash rate had been cut down to a record 0.10% p.a. by November 2020). 

When these fixed rates expire, they will roll onto variable rates that have borne the brunt of ten consecutive RBA rate hikes, making them upwards of 3% higher. This could add hundreds of dollars to monthly mortgage payments. 

If your fixed rate is ending this year, you can see how it’ll affect your repayments with Mozo’s new fixed rate ending calculator.

This handy tool lets you plug in your loan details to estimate how much the ending of your fixed term can impact your finances – and help you make a decision if you plan to refinance

Published 7 March 4.05 pm | Evlin DuBose

Mortgage repayments set to rise again

Mortgage holders hoping for a pause in the RBA’s relentless tightening spree were disappointed this afternoon, as the central bank announced another 25 basis point hike to the cash rate.

While lenders haven’t yet announced how they’ll respond, chances are we’ll see the majority of the market lift their variable rates in kind. This would bring the average variable rate among lenders we track to around 6.10% p.a.

Change in mortgage repayments

Published 7 March 3:15 pm | Niko Iliakis

Reserve Bank of Australia delivers tenth hike to the cash rate, at 0.25%

After its monthly meeting today, the Reserve Bank of Australia announced the board had opted for another 0.25% rise to the cash rate. 

The move is the tenth consecutive hike to the cash rate for this tightening cycle, bringing it up to 3.60% p.a.

In a statement to the press, RBA governor Philip Lowe reiterated that inflation remains a more dangerous financial enemy to Australians than the impacts of rate hikes, which so far have been felt most keenly by mortgage borrowers.

"The Board’s priority is to return inflation to target," said Lowe. "High inflation makes life difficult for people and damages the functioning of the economy. And if high inflation were to become entrenched in people’s expectations, it would be very costly to reduce later, involving even higher interest rates and a larger rise in unemployment."

Published 7 March 2.32 pm | Evlin DuBose

Sydney and Melbourne drive strong auction results

A total of 2,050 capital city homes went to auction last week, with the preliminary clearance rate coming in at 70.3% according to property research firm CoreLogic.

“Auction clearance rates through 2023 to-date have held substantially higher relative to late last year, accompanied by a flattening in the rate of decline in housing values in most cities,” CoreLogic said.

“Whether clearance rates can hold at these levels as interest rates rise further will provide a timely test of the market’s depth of demand.”

Key results:

  • In Melbourne, 918 homes went under the hammer, down from 1,161 the previous week. Of the 753 results collected so far, 71.2% were successful.
  • In Sydney, 787 homes went to auction, down from 859 the previous week. Of the 637 results collected so far, 72.1% were successful.
  • Among the smaller capitals, Adelaide posted the strongest preliminary clearance rate (80.8%), followed by Brisbane (63.0%) and Canberra (51.9%).

Published 6 March 3:50 pm | Niko Iliakis

Commonwealth Bank announces extension for Green Home Offer rate discount

In partnership with the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFD), Commonwealth Bank announced today it has received another $125 million in funding for its Green Home Offer

This will enable the big bank to continue offering an interest rate discount to eligible Wealth Package borrowers who live in NatHERS or GBCA certified energy-efficient homes. 

Interest rates for the offer run from a competitive 4.99% p.a. (5.39% p.a. comparison rate*) for owner-occupied P&I loans with less than 80% LVR

“We know homes that are well built and energy efficient are good for the environment, whilst also significantly reducing living costs and improving the wellbeing of homeowners,” explains CBA executive general manager home buying, Dr. Michael Baumann.

“The Green Home Offer makes those decisions more affordable and compelling.”

Published 6 March 2.52 pm | Evlin DuBose

Ahead of tomorrow’s Reserve Bank decision on the cash rate, big four banks Westpac, Commonwealth Bank, NAB, and ANZ have all predicted another 25 basis point rise. 

If this forecast holds, this would be the tenth rate hike for this tightening cycle, and would bring the cash rate to 3.60% for March. 

The RBA will announce the cash rate decision on 7 March at 2.30 pm. 

You can read our analysis in our March RBA predictions guide.

Big Four banks on a united front for 25 basis point cash rate move from RBA on 7 March

Published 6 March 1.59 pm | Evlin DuBose

First home buyers put off by rate hikes, warns ABS

New lending data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) showcases the impact of Reserve Bank rate hikes on buyer sentiment. 

In January, new owner-occupied home loans from first-home buyers fell -8.1%, with new commitments overall plummeting to their lowest levels since February 2017. 

The data continues the long decline the Australian property market has experienced since its high in January 2021. 

This slippage in new loans has mostly been thanks to the expiry of pandemic-era economic stimulus measures, explains ABS head of finance and wealth statistics, Mish Tan. However, inflation and rate hikes may have pushed more buyers out of the running. 

“Anecdotal feedback from lenders suggested that reduced borrowing capacity due to rising interest rates further dampened overall demand for new housing loans in recent months,” Tan explains. 

Published 6 March 12.16pm | Evlin DuBose

Three quarters of borrowers will struggle if rate hikes continue beyond May

Research by Mozo has found that one-in-five borrowers already can't afford any rate increases this year, and a further 16% will struggle if the RBA hikes rates by 25 basis points at tomorrow’s meeting – an outcome which is pretty much locked in at the moment.

Even more troubling, a staggering 73% of Aussie mortgage holders won't be able to afford multiple interest rate increases if they continue beyond May. Current forecasts from ANZ, NAB, and Westpac predict that the cash rate will increase to 4.10% by May or June. 

A 25 basis points increase this month would add $92 to the monthly repayments on a $600,000 mortgage. This would see a total increase of $14,172 following the RBA’s ten rate increases, totalling 350 basis points.

Published 6 March 11:39 am | Niko Iliakis

Westpac forecasts warn of 4.1% cash rate peak

Ahead of tomorrow’s RBA meeting, economists at Westpac have revised their forecasts for how high the cash rate will go. They now expect the cash rate to peak at 4.1% in May, up from the 3.85% they had pencilled in since October last year.

This follows the RBA’s hawkish turn after the December quarter’s inflation figures came in at 6.9% – higher than the 6.5% the RBA was expecting.

In February’s statement, the Board removed mention of not being on a “pre-set path” – which Westpac notes would have allowed for a reprieve in the tightening cycle – replacing it with an admission that “further increases in interest rates will be needed over the months ahead.”

Published 6 March 10.11 am | Niko Iliakis