RBA holds rates – but loans are still hard to get

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The Reserve Bank has decided not to make an immediate follow-up rate cut this month, as it maintained the official cash rate at its current record low of 1.5%.

According to Laing+Simmons managing director Leanne Pilkington, there is no impetus for the RBA to adjust the official rate right now, especially with the spring market off to a strong start.

“The past few weekends have seen strong clearance rates achieved in Sydney,” said Pilkington.

“We see the market nicely balanced between buyers and sellers in the current climate and the decision to leave interest rates unchanged supports the status quo leading into the stronger selling months.”

In spite of the rock bottom interest rates, lenders are making it hard for people with small deposits to borrow a home loan.

RateCity.com.au data insights director Peter Arnold noted that home loans available to borrowers with less than 5% deposit fell by a third in the past 18 months.

“On one hand, rates are the cheapest we’ve ever seen, with variable rates from 3.35%,” said Arnold.

“But on the other hand, it’s now more difficult to borrow, as many of the best rates on the market require a minimum of 20 to 30% deposit.”

That is why 1300 HomeLoan managing director John Kolenda advises mortgage holders to pester their lender for an interest rate cut and take advantage of the fierce competition in the mortgage market instead of just waiting for another RBA rate cut.

“There is an opportunity in the current lending climate to get a further rate cut independently of an RBA decision,” said Kolenda.

“Every variable home loan interest rate should start with the number three and anybody paying more than 4% is paying too much.”

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