Interest rates remain frozen at 1.50% following June RBA meeting
Article by Tom Watson
The weather may have well and truly started to turn with the onset of winter, but unlike the changing seasons, the RBA board has remained consistent as ever when it comes to the official cash rate following today’s meeting in Sydney.
Deciding to keep interest rates at an historic low of 1.50%, today’s decision from the RBA marked a 20th consecutive meeting without change, with RBA Governor Philip Lowe highlighting continued high levels of household debt and low inflation in his statement.
"APRA's supervisory measures and tighter credit standards have been helpful in containing the build-up of risk in household balance sheets, although the level of household debt remains high," he said.
"While there may be some further tightening of lending standards, the average mortgage interest rate on outstanding loans is continuing to decline."
Today’s decision comes in the wake of a number of experts walking back predictions of a 2018 rate change in the last month, with NAB’s Group Chief Economist, Alan Oster, the most prominent among them. Oster confirmed that the bank wasn’t predicting a rate hike until at least mid-2019, which puts it more in line with the consensus from Australia’s other big four banks.
This sentiment is shared by Mozo Product Data Manager, Peter Marshall, who maintained that the RBA is still lacking the scope to change the official cash rate any time in the near future.
“The RBA board is going to keep sitting on their hands for a while yet and I don’t think the cash rate will go back up to 3.00% any time soon - it’s many years away,” he said.
Variable home loan rates trending higher
While the official cash rate may be charting a steady course, the same can’t be said for variable home loan rates. According to figures from the Mozo database, variable home loan rate increases actually outweighed decreases in the month of May - the first time since July 2017.
In fact, Citibank today announced that it will be increasing interest rates on its suite of variable rate home loan offers by 0.10%, effective as of Friday.
“We’ve seen a lot of evidence of variable rates increasing and analysts are saying that there will be a lot more of them to come as banks seek to claw back increased funding costs, so people should be aware of that and consider their options when looking at fixed versus variable home loan offers,” said Marshall.
Speaking of which, here are some of the best home loans offers currently* in the Mozo database:
Best variable rate home loan offers
- Reduce Home Loans Rate Lovers Variable Home Loan - 3.39% (comparison rate: 3.46%)
- BIDeloan SMARTeloan - 3.39% (comparison rate: 3.84%)
- Easy Street Standard Variable - 3.49% (comparison rate: 3.52%)
- Freedomlend Variable Home Loan - 3.49% (comparison rate: 3.55%)
- Tic:Toc Variable Home Loan - 3.52% (comparison rate: 3.53%)
- iMortgage Fusion 80 - 3.52% (comparison rate: 3.67%)
Best fixed rate home loan offers (3 year term)
- Easy Street Special 3 Year Fixed - 3.69% (comparison rate: 4.11%)
- UBank UHomeloan Fixed - 3.74% (comparison rate: 4.01%)
- Greater Bank Discount Ultimate Fixed - 3.74% (comparison rate: 4.45%)
- Newcastle Permanent Fixed Rate Home Loan - 3.74% (comparison rate: 4.59%)
Deposit account divergence
Though rising variable home loan rates won’t be a welcome sight for home owners, the continuing upward trend among term deposits may be cause for celebration among Aussie savers.
An analysis by Mozo of term deposit rates over the month of May revealed that increases once again exceeded decreases. This is the third straight month in which they’ve done so, though the leading rates in the Mozo database remain unchanged.
Marshall explained that the upward rate trajectory among term deposits was in response to the continued overseas funding squeeze being felt by Australian lenders, with banks and other institutions forced to look closer to home in order to secure funding.
“Banks are trying to stimulate demand and stimulate deposit growth so that they’ve got money to lend out to mortgages,” he said.
“We’re particularly seeing a lot of these second tier and regional banks lifting deposit rates because they have less leverage in getting funds from overseas, or from local banks under wholesale arrangements.”
Unfortunately for savers looking for a more flexible home for their savings stash, the same trend isn’t being observed for savings accounts, with little movement among saving account rates over the past month.
Check out some of the best offers for term deposits and savings accounts currently* in the Mozo database:
Best term deposit offers (based on a balance of $25,000)
- 1 Year: 2.90% - Greater Bank, Maitland Mutual
- 2 Year: 3.00% - Greater Bank, Maitland Mutual
- 3 Year: 3.05% - Greater Bank, Maitland Mutual
- 4 Year: 3.30% - RaboDirect
- 5 Year: 3.50% - RaboDirect
Best ongoing savings account offers
- RAMS Saver Account - 3.00% (when you deposit a minimum of $200 and make no withdrawals every month)
- UBank USaver with Ultra Transaction Account - 2.87% (when you deposit at least $200 into the account or a linked Ultra Transaction Account every month)
- ME Online Savings Account - 2.85% (when you make a weekly tap and go purchase with a ME Everyday Transaction Account Debit MasterCard)
- Australian Unity Active Saver - 2.80% (when you make a minimum deposit of at least $250 and no withdrawals each month)
- Coastline Credit Union Bonus Reward Saver - 2.80% (when you make a minimum deposit of $20 and make no withdrawals within the month)
- ING Savings Maximiser - 2.80% (when you deposit $1,000 or more each month from a linked Orange Everyday account as well as make at least five purchases on your credit or debit card)
RELATED: 5 killer EOFY home loan deals
*Rates accurate as of June 5, 2018.
Read our last month Reserve Bank interest rates update
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