Bank hikes rates, while RBA remains cautious

by Rebecca Pike11 Feb 2019

A lender has joined 12 others that have increased variable home loan rates since the start of 2019, despite the Reserve Bank of Australia being more likely to announce a cash rate reduction as its next move.

Macquarie announced on Friday that it was changing rates for new and existing customers.

The changes for new customers take place from today (11 February) and for existing customers on 22 February.

The owner occupier variable rate loans with principal and interest payments will increase by 0.06%, while those with interest only repayments will increase by 0.16%.

Investment variable rate loans with principle and interest and interest only repayments will increase by 0.16%.

The changes are not all increases however; the four- and five-year fixed rates for all new owner occupier as well as new investment interest only loans will decrease by 0.10% to 0.40%.

Last week the RBA revised its previous prediction that the next rate move would definitely be a hike.

Governor Philip Lowe has said the “probabilities appear to be more evenly balanced”.

Commonwealth Bank in turn revised its own prediction, now estimating the next RBA cash rate hike will be in November 2020 rather than November 2019.

Canstar group executive of financial services, Steve Mickenbecker, said that alongside Macquarie’s rate increases were 18 other lenders reducing interest rates.

"As with other lenders, Macquarie will have been feeling the margin pressure of increased wholesale funding costs,” he said.

“The increase is 6 basis points for principal and interest owner occupied loans. Surprisingly, given APRA's relaxation of the caps on interest-only lending and investment lending, a further 10 basis points is being tacked on to these loans.

“The RBA has revised its growth projection down and is no longer discounting a cash rate reduction as the next move. However, with the number of out-of-cycle increases over recent months, there is the risk that any cash rate reduction might only be partially passed on to borrowers, while signalling a 25-basis point reduction in savings and term deposit rates.”