This month the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) announced that official interest rates are on hold again at 2.5 percent. More than ever I now find myself watching the monthly announcements from the RBA.
Although it may not be significant for many people, this announcement is a relief. Since 2003, this is the longest steady level of interest rates for 14 consecutive months.
This has provided a competitive mortgage market for property buyers; as banks continue to improve housing loan affordability to attain a piece of the mortgage market.
Currently the Australian housing market is the nation’s largest asset class, worth an estimated $5.5 trillion!
But how is the rest of the economy performing? Despite the extended period of low interest rates, economic data remains to be mixed and volatile.
Most states are recording unemployment rates lingering around 7 percent and recently the Australian dollar has fallen.
Although the dollar has fallen, it is tempting overseas and domestic tourists back which in turn should support jobs growth in hospitality, retail and support roles in markets associated with holidaymakers.
The property market is still performing and saw a rise in total building approvals during August, with strong unit approvals accounting for the overall rise in activity.
The Australian Bureau of Statistic reported the value of investor mortgages hit a record $127.4 billion in the year to August 2014, up 29 percent on the year to August 2013.
The Spring housing market has started with strong levels of buyer and seller activity, particularly in Melbourne and Sydney.
Part of this activity is related to the resurgence of housing demand for lifestyle properties and holiday homes. This is likely to fuel the recovery across Australia’s lifestyle housing markets.
Whilst the property market remains strong, concerns about a possible housing bubble did not appear to be weighing heavily on the RBA’s mind; and is unlikely to influence the RBA to increase interest rates in the current climate.
Australian official interest rates are expected to remain on hold for the remainder of 2014 and possibly for the next 12 months.