Borrowers hoping for an early Christmas present in the form of an interest rate cut at today’s board meeting of the Reserve Bank of Australia are likely to be left disappointed.
According to the December Finder RBA survey, improving economic conditions will likely see the RBA keep the cash rate at 2%, with all 33 surveyed experts predicting no movement.
While no drop in the cash rate is predicted today, there may be some positive for borrowers, with more than half of the survey’s respondents predicting no upward movement for the cash rate anytime soon.
“While recent out of cycle rate hikes by 13 lenders came into effect last month, the official cash rate is expected to stay put for the time being, with almost three in five experts surveyed believing the cash rate will not rise for at least the next 12 months,” Finder consumer advocate Bessie Hassan said.
Fifteen per cent of the survey’s respondents predicted the cash rate will fall next time the RBA board meets in February.
Peter Boehm, from real estate portal onthehouse.com.au said a move by the RBA today would be unlikely as it would reduce the central bank’s options in the future.
“There does not appear to be a pressing need to drop rates further. A steady as she goes approach would appear to be the prudent way to go to close out 2015,” Boehm said.
“The housing market, inflation, unemployment, the Australian dollar’s exchange rate and the economic and business outlook all seem reasonably positive and a further rate reduction would be unlikely to yield much benefit and leave the Reserve Bank very little room to move if, in the unlikely event, it was deemed necessary to reduce rates further next year,” he said.
Boehm’s sentiment echoes an earlier prediction made by Multifocus Properties & Finance chief executive officer Phillipe Brach, who last week said it’s unlikely a rate cut will happen anytime soon.
“Even in February it’s hard to see anything happening. I think we’re going to see a stalemate for a while,” Brach said.
The survey’s respondents have a differing outlook for Australia’s property prices, with 58% predicting prices will rise in 2016, while 29% are predicting prices to fall. Thirty-eight per cent of experts predict a decrease in demand for residential property in 2016, while 34% predict an increase in demand.