A look at the RBA’s interest rate decisions and its impact on households

December 29, 2023 BY

Daniel Walsh and Leigh Deledio from UFinancial on why it could be time for a financial health check.

WITH Daniel Walsh and Leigh Deledio UFINANCIAL TEAM

Australia’s economic landscape has been undergoing significant changes, with the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) making headline-worthy decisions regarding interest rates.

In the final meeting of 2023, the RBA chose to pause interest rates, providing some relief for mortgagees after a series of increases throughout the year.

Recent rate movements

In November, the RBA surprised Australian households by increasing the cash rate to 4.35 per cent, marking the first rise in four months. This move followed a historic low of 0.1 per cent, a rate Australians enjoyed during the Covid-19 pandemic. Over the following two years, the cash rate soared by a staggering 425 basis points, reaching its highest level since 2011.

Current economic landscape

Despite the recent pause in interest rates, Australians are still grappling with the consequences of the rate hikes. People with a $600,000 mortgage are now paying approximately $1,349 more per month than they were before the RBA began lifting the cash rate in May of the previous year, according to comparison website Finder.

The impact on households

A recent survey by Canstar revealed that 35 per cent of households have tapped into their redraw or offset accounts to cover expenses amid the rising cost of living. The cumulative effect of interest rate increases over the past two years has led to financial strain for many Australians.

Inflation trends

While the inflation rate is a key factor in the RBA’s decisions, it is interesting to note that inflation is currently moderating, standing at 4.9 per cent. This is below the expectations of most economists, especially considering the peak of 8.4 per cent in December of the previous year. The RBA’s consecutive rate hikes have played a role in bringing down the inflation rate, emphasising the delicate balance between economic stability and the cost of living.

Looking ahead

With the next RBA board meeting not scheduled until February, mortgagees have a brief respite to assess their financial strategies. The central bank’s decisions will continue to shape Australia’s economic landscape, influencing everything from housing markets to consumer spending.

If you’ve been affected by rising interest rates, or you think you’re paying too much, you can do a quick home loan health check online at loantools.com.au/health-check/ufinancial?skip&a=

If you would like to speak to a broker about reducing your current loan, book a chat online at loantools.com.au/contact/ufinancial

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