Christmas cheer as RBA keeps cash rate on hold at 2.50%

Mary Ward

Tuesday 02 December 2014

The Reserve Bank of Australia has left the official cash rate at a steady 2.50% for the 16th consecutive month at the December board meeting today, just in time for Christmas.

Governor Glenn Stevens said: "Monetary policy remains accommodative. Interest rates are very low and have continued to edge lower over the past year or so as competition to lend has increased. Investors continue to look for higher returns in response to low rates on safe instruments. Credit growth is moderate overall, but with a further pick-up in recent months in lending to investors in housing assets. Dwelling prices have continued to rise. 

"Looking ahead, continued accommodative monetary policy should provide support to demand and help growth to strengthen over time. Inflation is expected to be consistent with the 2–3 per cent target over the next two years."

While rates have been on hold since August 2013, economists predict a 2015 rate change with the decision dependent on the performance of the mining and retail industries, as well as the value of the Australian dollar.

Home loan happiness in time for Xmas

Kick off the new year with a great home loan rate by checking out the new lowest rates available for both one-year fixed and variable rate home loans.

Community First’s online brand Easy Street cut its one-year fixed introductory rate from 4.74% to 3.75%, now the lowest one-year fixed rate available.

However, the bulk of activity has been in the variable rate market, where competitors are increasingly trying to one-up each other, to give consumers the best deal.

This month, Heritage Bank introduced the country’s lowest variable home loan rate, cutting a further 30 basis points off its Discount Variable loan, to a rate of 4.39%. The loan is available for amounts greater than $150,000 with a loan-to-value ratio of up to 80%.

Other lenders have also slashed rates, with former rate leader taking six basis points off its Dream Home Loan variable rate to 4.48% and UBank cutting its variable rate by eight basis points to 4.54%.

Visit Mozo's home loan comparison tables to see the other low rate home loans on offer.

Interest-free credit cards for Santa’s big shop

Playing Santa this Christmas will be easy with a range of providers offering interest-free credit cards. Introductory purchase rates of 0% are in fashion this summer, and - if you think you might need some extra cash to make it through to the end of your Advent Calendar - there are plenty to choose from.

The longest 0% introductory purchase rate period is 15 months, available on NAB’s Low Rate Card which has an ongoing purchase rate of 13.99% and $59 annual fee. Citibank Platinum has the same 15-month introductory rate offer but reverts to a 20.99% ongoing purchase rate and $199 annual fee.

To compare more low-rate credit cards, visit Mozo’s credit card comparison tables.

Savings account cuts: the grinch of Christmas

December is the time to start thinking about you finances for 2015. And, if ‘save more’ will make an appearance on your New Years Resolution list, you should pay close attention to your interest rate, because there have been widespread cuts throughout November.

Financial institutions who cut savings account rates last month include: ANZ, Westpac, St. George, BankSA, Bank of Melbourne, CUA, and RAMS.

UBank’s USaver is still the best ongoing bonus rate in the market at 4.02%. The second-best rate of 4.00% comes with the ING Direct Savings Maximiser (if you hold an Orange Everyday account), the Bankwest Hero and the Rabodirect 90 Day Notice Saver.

Newcastle Permanent Online Savings account is still be best unconditional rate, despite the rate being cut by ten basis points to 3.30%.

Has your savings account been ravaged by rate cuts? Compare savings accounts on Mozo to find a better deal.

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