APRA, The Reserve Bank and Interest Rates

October 29, 2021

The Reserve Bank has cut rates to low levels to encourage borrowing.

This is a good thing.

The strategy has worked.

Housing and construction are the backbone of our economy – because they generate so much employment and activity.

House price has increased – and that in itself is not a bad thing.

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Good News Ahead

May 28, 2019

The current market mood was caused by negative Government intervention to suppress buyer demand and also the election itself.

Sentiment has changed post-election and now positive Government intervention brings good news again for buyers. 

There are 4 key areas that signal this.

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A Buyers Market

January 10, 2019

Most people misunderstand badly the term “buyers’ market” and hence never take advantage of one.

A buyers’ market is one where no-one is buying.

Consequently, it is a terrible time to sell.

In a buyers’ market there are more sellers than buyers, buyers can take their time, negotiate price and/or conditions to suit themselves and if a seller doesn’t “meet” their demands then the buyer moves on to a seller who will.

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Very Big News!

April 26, 2018

The Sydney property market has plateaued – with prices for both houses and units off the boil since June 2017 as the peak (Domain March Quarter House Report – Apr 26th).

APRA played a large part in this Sydney slow down by applying investor restrictions to the entire country (that was unfair, in my opinion).  To APRA’s credit they have now (announced 9:02 am Apr 26th) removed these restrictions.

How this will now play out in the home loan market will become clear in coming days – but here are my predictions and their significance for you:

  • Banks have been “loading” rates to investors and using that loading, offering spectacular deals to owner occupiers. For the last two years “owner occupiers” have been the “only game in town”.
  • Banks will now reduce rates for NEW investment loans – to compete for business … BUT
  • This probably signals the end of the best deals for owner occupiers so, if you are thinking of buying a home you would be foolish to delay.
  • Banks have terrible form in reducing rates for existing customers. I would expect the best way for existing investors to respond is to wait and see – threatening to refinance will probably be the best way to get a better rate.
  • Interest only loadings have been applied by ASIC (not APRA) – I expect those to remain for now.

This is VERY big news – I will have more to say as this unfolds.

 As always you can call or email me anytime.

Backyard Cricket: The Reserve Bank pads up to re-enter the game…and the dollar rises.

July 20, 2017

So it seems the Reserve Bank hasn’t quite pulled up stumps yet. Widely published in yesterday’s media, a comment from The Reserve Bank minutes has been blown out of proportion.

With the current cash rate at 1.5%, The Reserve Bank is quoted as saying that a cash rate of 3.5% is the “new Neutral”. The media’s take on this is that rates are going up… And the crowd goes wild! Hang on, that’s right, it’s just more noise.

Previously the Reserve Bank had considered 5.0% as “Neutral”, so by re-evaluating this ‘middle line’ of the economy at 3.5% instead, the Reserve Bank is simply signalling that the peak of the next rate cycle is now predicted to be around 1.5% lower than the previous cycle.

No comment was made however, as to when any moves towards this new “middle line” will be made. Why? Because there are still other players in the game to consider. APRA and ASIC’s recent round of regulations and the government’s bank levy are still all in play.

The sooner the Reserve Bank comes into bat by adjusting the cash rate, the sooner the loadings imposed by regulators will fade. This is why investors should just sit tight while this plays out.

And finally, in response to all the media noise, the Australian dollar has jumped.  Online shopping just got cheaper again, and that overseas trip might be back on the cards!

In relation to your home loan your response should be to:

·       Calculate and start paying your loan NOW as if the rate was already 6%pa

·       Let your budget adjust and let any surplus go into your loan as possible redraw for a “rainy day”

And as always you can call or email me anytime, it’s what I’m here for…


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Lvl18, Riverside Centre 123 Eagle Street, Brisbane
m :  0411 601 459   t : 07 3106 1444  e : alan.heath@askalanheath.com.au


What’s Next in this Game of Backyard Cricket  

July 17, 2017

I can remember (as many of us will) what good fun a game of backyard cricket could be. The type where the ‘rules’ are less like rules and more to do with whether Mum is looking to see how close you are to the veggie patch… Rules which seem to accumulate, bend, or be conveniently forgotten depending on who’s batting…

·      The wheelie-bin stumps were mandatory – despite the interesting aromas.

·      Over the fence was out – made sense.

·      Break a window out – made sense – there was worse to come after that one!

·      Hit the tomatoes – four

·      Hit the neighbour – Six!


Eventually the rules became silly, with more time spent making amendments or contesting than actually playing… Pardon the analogy – and although light hearted – we could be forgiven for thinking that lending in the Australian property market is now like a game of backyard cricket


The Reserve Bank took their bat and ball and went home early, dropping the cash rate to 1.50% in a plan the keep the Australian Dollar at 70c. That plan didn’t work and now the Reserve Bank makes statements each month that virtually no-one listens to. All it did was create problems in the Sydney and Melbourne housing markets that have required new ‘backyard cricket’ rules from APRA and ASIC.


The cash rate is stalled at 1.50% and not predicted to change for the foreseeable future.


The politics around this became quite toxic through the last election and continues to be so. Older Australians (Gen X and Baby Boomers) used to be encouraged to invest for their retirement. The aged pension of $31k per annum for a couple to live on, is no longer the comfortable retirement one had once planned for.  Statements about “millionaires” buying their 10th house and shutting first home buyers out of the market effectively pits Gen Y and Millennials against Gen X and Baby Boomers. It has come to this – politicians pitting parents against their children. It is a sad state of affairs we have come to in that regard.


One side of politics wishes to remove negative gearing, except for brand new homes.  To me however, this seems illogical, as the minute said brand new property is purchased it then becomes “old” and can’t be on-sold to another investor. Property investing in this scenario would be the only business where one cannot deduct expenses (income) against income (rent).


The other side of politics has decided that there are too many investors and has cheered on the regulators to put price increases into investment loans. Then because of the political heat when that backyard rule wasn’t effective enough to quell the market, more rules arrived around Interest Only Loans –  hence another (very recent) round of price increases.


Typically, the difference between rates for new Owner Occupied Principal and Interest loans (the lowest segment) and Investment Interest Only loans (the highest segment) is now almost 1.25%. This is, in my opinion, completely unjustified and out of hand.


When a bank borrows overseas – no one asks them who they are going to lend to. So, this margin goes straight to bank profit (and don’t they look so sad when they say they are “balancing the needs of shareholders, customers and the regulators”).


This “easy profit” of around $1.5b per annum became the soft target for the Treasurer’s Bank Levy – coincidentally around $1.5b per annum. The banks grizzled about the bank levy and then responded with the latest Interest Only tier of increases –and of course that has nothing whatsoever to do with recouping the bank levy (nudge nudge wink wink).


Under the current rules applied by the regulators, we now have two distinct groups of consumers – owner occupiers and investors – and with current price gaps it would be easy to think in terms of winners and losers.


The consumer however, isn’t silly –  because when a market is ruled by regulation implemented in response to political pressure over “housing affordability”, it’s clear that the only loser is the consumer themselves. It simply throws cost into the system which the very people it is supposed to “protect” pay for. Does one not stop to think that investors will attempt eventually to recoup these costs by putting up rent?


 Regulation isn’t the way for a free market to operate.


So although currently first in the batting order, these rules will eventually be ‘run out’ – in terms of importance and influence to the consumer.   Until then however, we do need to adapt, understand and use them to our advantage.


If you are in the market to buy an owner occupied property, then I can say that in 20 years of mortgage broking I have never seen discounts as large as those available at the moment. You would be foolish not to take advantage of this to purchase now and secure these discounts for the life of your loan. Investors are on the sidelines, there is less competition for the property of your dreams. As the saying goes – fortune favours the brave.


If you are an investor, this is definitely not the time to become distracted by the noise that is coming from APRA and ASIC. In time, rate differences between owner occupier and investor loans will diminish.  Investor rates (even with the attempts to penalise investors) are still at historic lows. I would suggest that you sit still and use this period as an opportunity to focus on your long term future, making sure that your current situation fits within this to your advantage. As the saying goes, it’s not about timing the market, it’s about time in the market.


In summary… APRA and ASIC have certainly created some noise, however, just like when the neighbour decides to mow the lawn half way through a wicket, although loud and annoying, it doesn’t mean you should quit the game, you just might need to change the direction of the pitch.  


Whether your end game is a family home, a long term investor, or even both – I can help you find the advantage that you are looking for, to hit it home for a six and achieve your goals.