Investors not cashing in on rate cuts?

By Gerv Tacadena | 01 Oct 2019

It appears like investors are not taking full advantage of the low interest-rate environment — figures from the Reserve Bank of Australia revealed that investor lending remained weak in August.

Investor housing credit took a dive in the month, declining by 0.1%. On an annual basis, growth was stuck at 0.1%, the lowest it has been on record.

It was the same story with owner occupiers. During the same month, credit growth to this segment dipped to 0.3% monthly. On an annual basis, owner-occupier credit growth reached 4.7%, the weakest since 2014.

Also read: RBA Hints At More Rate Cuts

Overall, housing credit also remained dismal, hitting an annual growth of 3.1% and a monthly growth of 0.2%. These figures came after the two consecutive months of monetary policy easing in June and July, bringing the cash rate to a historic low of 1%.

Last week, RBA Governor Philip Lowe said that rate cuts are becoming "less effective."

"Once upon a time, when we lowered interest rates, people would run off to the bank to borrow to kind of go on a holiday or buy furniture or kind of do some spending. They don't do that anymore," he said.

Also read: Expect two more rate cuts this year

NAB economist Tapas Strickland recent figures seem to indicate that existing borrowers were prioritising paying their loans and saving more in their offset accounts.

"That would be consistent with borrowers not having adjusted total repayments despite the recent cuts in interest rates. Households on principal and interest repayments typically have to request a change to their repayments in order to lower total repayments when interest rates are cut," he told The Australian Financial Review.

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