New Reserve Bank review could change how it makes rate hikes – so how could this affect your home loan?

Collage of a woman painting yellow over a blue background, like the RBA Review recommending changes.

The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) received a spectacular dressing down this week with the release of a comprehensive review made by the Australian Treasury. 

While the RBA review had plenty of praise for the central bank, it also levied strong criticism at its economic management over the last thirty years and made over fifty recommendations for improvement.

Key themes include diversifying viewpoints within the central bank, creating new internal processes, and better aligning monetary and fiscal policy

While these changes aren’t yet official, Australian treasurer Jim Chalmers says they’re all backed by the Australian government “in principle”. Indeed, RBA governor Philip Lowe declared the bank will work closely with the government to implement the changes over the next year. 

So what’s actually happening? And what could this all mean for home buyers?

Let’s dive in.

RBA review recommends creation of new interest rate setting board

Collage of a woman hiking up interest rate bar graphs.

Out of the 51 recommendations made in the report, the most significant changes include shake ups to how the RBA sets official interest rates

Chiefly, the review suggests creating a separate interest rate setting board staffed with monetary policy experts that only meets eight times a year, as opposed to eleven. This could potentially slow down the pace of future cash rate movements while revamping the RBA’s approach to managing inflation in the economy, aligning it with international counterparts like the Bank of England.

While the review praised the RBA for its efforts in the last thirty years, the pandemic has severely tested the central bank and exposed its strengths and weaknesses. 

Most importantly, the review suggests the RBA has frequently misjudged the impacts and causes of inflation, focusing too much on wage growth rather than supply-side pressures.

Much of this criticism hinges on how and when the board made changes to the cash rate. Pre-pandemic, many pundits thought  the cash rate was too high, smothering growth. During the pandemic, however, the cash rate may have been brought too low, hitting a historic nadir of 0.10% in November 2020. 

Then when inflation took off in 2021 - 2022, the central bank proved slow to react – though it was far from the only government body caught off guard.

“The Reserve Bank board’s current processes do not provide members with enough information, time or support to sufficiently explore policy options and strategies or to challenge RBA views,” the review explains.

“The RBA and Monetary Policy Board should make changes to deepen the Board’s deliberation on monetary policy and ensure it is open to a wide range of inputs.”

But with so much emphasis falling on the handling of rate hikes, what could these shake-ups mean to those affected by hikes the most: home loan borrowers?

RBA review might not mean much for home loan holders

Collage of a woman surrounded by hands with coins, cards, phones, and calculators.

In theory, if the review’s proposals had been in place before the pandemic, interest rates may not have gone so low and would have bounced up much quicker in response to inflation. The pace of rate hikes may also have slowed, thinned out over eight decisions instead of ten. 

This may somewhat have smoothed over the 2020 - 2021 property boom by reducing demand while tightening the interest offered on variable home loans, making the windows to save smaller and refinance larger. 

But this can be difficult to judge. Property prices have grown in the last thirty years regardless of economic conditions, and there’s always a give and take between what benefits borrowers and what benefits savers. Good for borrowers means bad for savers, and vice versa.

Indeed, while the review may change what the RBA considers when making monetary decisions, very little may change on the ground for borrowers. Inflation will still mean rate hikes – recessions, rate cuts. Rates just may not lean so hard in either direction.

If anything, the review reaffirms the importance of checking in with the economy. After all, inflation and the high cost of living affect everyone, especially vulnerable Australians.

“[By] working to keep inflation low and stable, central banks contribute to more stable growth in incomes and employment, reducing the risk of the kind of economic instability that is most harmful to those that can least afford it,” reminds the review. 

For now, it remains the RBA’s job to look after the economy, just as it remains our job to look after our own finances. For those paying off a mortgage, this could mean comparing home loans and ensuring you’re on a good rate.

Otherwise, it may be time to make some changes of your own.

Jumping ship from your lender? Compare refinancing rates on home loans below.

Home loan comparisons on Mozo

Mozo may receive payment if you click the products below. We don’t compare the entire market, but you can search our database of 472 home loans.
Last updated 26 June 2024 Important disclosures and comparison rate warning*
  • Basic Home Loan

    • Owner Occupier
    • LVR<60%
    • Principal & Interest
    Interest rate
    6.14 % p.a.
    Variable
    Comparison rate
    6.16 % p.a.
    Initial monthly repayment
    $3,043
    Go to site

    Enjoy a low rate home loan with $0 application fee and $0 ongoing fees. Flexibility to split your loan and set different repayment types. Fee free redraw from your loan using online banking. Flexible ways to repay. 40% Deposit required.

  • Unloan Variable

    • Owner Occupier
    • LVR <80%
    Interest rate
    5.99 % p.a.
    Variable
    Comparison rate
    5.90 % p.a.
    Initial monthly repayment
    $2,995
    Go to site

    Built by CommBank, the Unloan is the first home loan with an increasing discount (conditions apply) for borrowers. No application or banking fees. No monthly account keeping or early exit fees. Apply online in minutes.

  • Offset Home Loan

    • Owner Occupier
    • LVR<60%
    • Principal & Interest
    Interest rate
    6.14 % p.a.
    Variable
    Comparison rate
    6.39 % p.a.
    Initial monthly repayment
    $3,043
    Go to site

    Ability to open up to 10 offset accounts per loan account. Fast online application. Linked Debit Mastercard® with fee-free access at ATMs across Australia. Package a credit card with your home loan and the annual card fee will be waived (T&Cs apply). 40% deposit required.

  • Unloan Variable

    • Owner Occupier
    • LVR <80%
    Interest rate
    5.99 % p.a.
    Variable
    Comparison rate
    5.90 % p.a.
    Initial monthly repayment
    $2,995
    Go to site

    Built by CommBank, the Unloan is the first home loan with an increasing discount (conditions apply) for borrowers. No application or banking fees. No monthly account keeping or early exit fees. Apply online in minutes.

  • Discount Variable Home Loan

    • Owner Occupier
    • LVR<70%
    Interest rate
    5.99 % p.a.
    Variable
    Comparison rate
    6.01 % p.a.
    Initial monthly repayment
    $2,995
    Go to site

    A low rate home loan for owner-occupiers packed with great features including unlimited extra repayments, free online redraw, no application or monthly admin fees. Rate will vary depending on LVR. Winner of a Mozo Experts Choice 2024 Low Cost Home Loan Award^

  • Variable Home Loan 90

    • Principal and Interest
    • LVR <90%
    Interest rate
    6.04 % p.a.
    Variable
    Comparison rate
    6.06 % p.a.
    Initial monthly repayment
    $3,011
    Go to site

    Affordable home loan rate for buyers or refinancers. No monthly or ongoing fees. Option to add an offset for 0.10%. Access to savings with unlimited redraws available. Minimum 10% deposit required.

  • Fixed Rate Loan

    • Owner Occupier
    • Principal & Interest
    • LVR <80%
    Interest rate
    6.09 % p.a.
    Fixed 3 years
    Comparison rate
    6.15 % p.a.
    Initial monthly repayment
    $3,027

    Additional repayments of up to $10K per fixed year. Interest rate discounts available. Waiver of $499 application fee when combined with an Orange Advantage Home Loan.

  • The Better Home Loan Special Offer

    • Owner Occupier
    • Principal & Interest
    • LVR<80%
    Interest rate
    6.14 % p.a.
    Variable
    Comparison rate
    6.14 % p.a.
    Initial monthly repayment
    $3,043
    Go to site

    Enjoy a variable rate home loan with a bunch of features from Police Credit Union. Make extra repayments at any time without penalty. No monthly, annual or upfront fees. Free online redraw. Minimum 20% deposit. Qualifying criteria applies. Minimum loan amount is 200K. For new customers only. Mozo Experts Choice Home Lender Credit Union of the Year 2023.

  • Basic Home Loan

    • Owner Occupier
    • LVR<60%
    • Principal & Interest
    Interest rate
    6.14 % p.a.
    Variable
    Comparison rate
    6.16 % p.a.
    Initial monthly repayment
    $3,043
    Go to site

    Enjoy a low rate home loan with $0 application fee and $0 ongoing fees. Flexibility to split your loan and set different repayment types. Fee free redraw from your loan using online banking. Flexible ways to repay. 40% Deposit required.

  • Mortgage Simplifier

    • LVR<80%
    • Owner Occupier
    • Principal & Interest
    Interest rate
    6.14 % p.a.
    Variable
    Comparison rate
    6.17 % p.a.
    Initial monthly repayment
    $3,043

    Get a competitive variable rate with ING’s Mortgage Simplifier. Free extra repayments, no monthly or annual fees. Freedom to make free extra repayments or redraws.

  • Offset Home Loan

    • Owner Occupier
    • LVR<60%
    • Principal & Interest
    Interest rate
    6.14 % p.a.
    Variable
    Comparison rate
    6.39 % p.a.
    Initial monthly repayment
    $3,043
    Go to site

    Ability to open up to 10 offset accounts per loan account. Fast online application. Linked Debit Mastercard® with fee-free access at ATMs across Australia. Package a credit card with your home loan and the annual card fee will be waived (T&Cs apply). 40% deposit required.

  • Discount Great Rate Home Loan

    • Owner Occupier
    • Principal & Interest
    • LVR<80%
    • over $150k
    Interest rate
    6.19 % p.a.
    Variable
    Comparison rate
    6.21 % p.a.
    Initial monthly repayment
    $3,059
    Go to site

    An easy to use Home Loan with no establishment fee and no monthly or annual fees. Minimum deposit of 20% is required. Mozo Experts Choice Awards - Investor Home Loan Award 2024^.

  • Basic Home Loan

    • Fixed
    • Owner Occupier
    • Principal & Interest
    • LVR<70%
    Interest rate
    6.25 % p.a.
    Fixed 3 years
    Comparison rate
    6.20 % p.a.
    Initial monthly repayment
    $3,079
    Go to site

    No upfront or ongoing fees. Free extra repayments and redraw facility. Option to earn Qantas points. Min 30% deposit required. Borrow up to $750,000.

  • Offset Home Loan

    • Fixed
    • Owner Occupier
    • Principal & Interest
    • LVR <70%
    Interest rate
    6.25 % p.a.
    Fixed 3 years
    Comparison rate
    6.42 % p.a.
    Initial monthly repayment
    $3,079
    Go to site

  • Fixed Rate

    • Owner Occupier
    • Principal & Interest
    • <80% LVR
    Interest rate
    6.59 % p.a.
    Fixed 3 years
    Comparison rate
    7.06 % p.a.
    Initial monthly repayment
    $3,190

    Enjoy up to $3000 cashback for eligible first home buyers and $2000 cashback for refinancers on eligible home loans with the ANZ Fixed Rate Home Loan. Get the security of repayment certainty with a competitive locked in rate. No ongoing fees to pay. Offset account on 1-year fixed loans ($10/month fee applies). Interest-only payments allowed.

image of houses

Need help with refinancing?

You might have questions that need personal answers. We’ve teamed up with the mortgage brokers at Lendi to get you the answers you need, and a home loan deal you deserve.

Learn more

* WARNING: This comparison rate applies only to the example or examples given. Different amounts and terms will result in different comparison rates. Costs such as redraw fees or early repayment fees, and cost savings such as fee waivers, are not included in the comparison rate but may influence the cost of the loan. The comparison rate displayed is for a secured loan with monthly principal and interest repayments for $150,000 over 25 years.

** Initial monthly repayment figures are estimates only, based on the advertised rate. You can change the loan amount and term in the input boxes at the top of this table. Rates, fees and charges and therefore the total cost of the loan may vary depending on your loan amount, loan term, and credit history. Actual repayments will depend on your individual circumstances and interest rate changes.

^See information about the Mozo Experts Choice Home Loan Awards

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