Reserve Bank may seek tightened lending standards if record low interest rates triggers housing boom

The document obtained under Freedom of Information date back to late November considerations by the RBA.

Reserve Bank may seek tightened lending standards if record low interest rates triggers housing boom
Reserve Bank may seek tightened lending standards if record low interest rates triggers housing boom

The Reserve Bank could seek tightened lending standards if the current record low interest rates triggers a housing boom, according to a RBA document obtained by Nine Entertainment.

While not the official position of the central bank, the research paper found low interest rates, along with the RBA's quantitative easing program, were supporting assets including the prices of houses.

It noted higher asset prices could translate into increased spending by "credit-constrained households".

"Housing prices are likely to (increase) alongside other asset prices," it suggested.

The research paper noted loan-to-valuation ratios were increasing but were still well below the levels that prompted APRA to tighten lending standards progressively from 2015.

It raised the spectre of borrowers "likely to be in negative equity".

The paper said the Council of Financial Regulators (CFR) - the RBA, APRA, the federal Treasury and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission - would intercede if required.

"Australia’s financial regulators will monitor and control risks," the paper noted.

"CFR will act if needed."

The document obtained under Freedom of Information date back to late November considerations by the RBA.

The paper cites previous research by RBA economists that a permanent percentage point reduction in official interest rates can drive up real house prices by 30 per cent over a three-year period. 

A "temporary" percentage point reduction would push up real prices by 10 per cent.

The central bank has cut official interest rates by 1.15 percentage points since last June.

Jonathan Chancellor

Jonathan Chancellor

Jonathan Chancellor is one of our authors. Jonathan has been writing about property since the early 1980s and is editor-at-large of Property Observer.

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Rba Reserve Bank of Australia Housing Boom Low Interest Rates

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