Start planning for a rate rise: Finder.com.au

Start planning for a rate rise: Finder.com.au
Start planning for a rate rise: Finder.com.au

Borrowers should begin planning ahead for a rate rise, according to comparison website Finder.com.au.

Experts surveyed by finder.com.au, including senior economists from the big four banks, all agreed that the cash rate will most likely remain on hold at 2.5% this month.

The majority of the 20 respondents to Finder.com.au's survey expect the cash rate to increase next year, with two experts predicting that rates will rise before the end of 2014.

Seven of the 17 experts who predicted a rate rise for 2015 believe it will happen in the first half of the year, while six think it won't come until after June 2015. Three were undecided, while one did not comment.

A senior economist from Commonwealth Bank and an expert from Urbis both expect rates will rise before 2015.

According to Michelle Hutchison, money expert at Finder.com.au, interest rates will likely increase by 1.5 percentage points from next year.

“While lenders are competing harder to lock in borrowers with a fixed home loan, the Finder.com.au monthly Reserve Bank Survey shows that we can expect to see interest rates rise to a new normal level of 150 basis points higher from next year," says Hutchison.

“Most of our experts believe the cash rate won’t reach the historical average of about 5%, but rather reach around 4%, which is 150 basis points above the current cash rate of 2.50%. And with 17 out of the 20 respondents betting on rates to start their way up from next year, borrowers need to ensure they can afford the extra cost.”

The website's database shows that more lenders have dropped the rates on their five-year fixed loans to under 5% this week, following NAB, Commonwealth and Westpac which all dropped their rates to 4.99% following last week's CPI announcement.

St George Bank, Citibank and St George Bank have all reduced their five-year fixed rates to 4.99%. Newcastle Permanent now offers a 4.95% rate on its five-year fixed loan, and Mortgage House's five year product is offered at a 4.97% interest rate.

Hutchison says borrowers should take advantage of the low rate deals before they change.

“Interest rate hikes are on the horizon and look set to start rising very soon, so borrowers need to start preparing now before it’s too late. For instance, variable rate borrowers with a $300,000 mortgage will need to factor in an extra $300 per month to keep up with repayments should their interest rate increase by 150 basis points," she says.

“Fixed home loan rates are among the lowest levels we’ve ever seen so if you are concerned about rising rates and higher repayments, it could be worthwhile locking in before these potential savings are gone.

“We calculated that borrowers with a $300,000 mortgage who switch from the average variable rate of about 5.50 percent to the lowest five-year fixed rate of 4.95 percent, could save almost $16,000 in five years if variable rates rise by 150 basis points," explains Hutchison.

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Interest Rates

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