Australian Property Market Rebounds as RBA Raises Cash Rate

In a surprise move defying investor expectations, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) has raised its cash rate by 25 basis points to 3.85%. This is despite last week’s release of weaker-than-expected-inflation, which the RBA chose to overlook. The raise brings the cumulative increase to 3.75 percentage points and comes on top of 10 consecutive rises since last May.

RBA governor, Philip Lowe, stated that “Inflation in Australia has passed its peak, but at 7% is still too high and it will be some time yet before it is back in the target range.” He went on to say that given the importance of returning inflation to target, the board judged that a further increase in interest rates was warranted.

While some economists were surprised by the decision, the RBA was more focused on other factors such as the nation’s population expected to swell by 700,000 this year and next, a jobless rate at near half-century lows, and a rebound in the property market. The RBA also warned that there may be more interest rate hikes to come.

The announcement sent the Australian dollar soaring and shares plummeting, as investors weighed the impact of higher borrowing costs on companies.

The expected rise in the population and near half-century lows in jobless rates could result in increased demand for housing, further driving up property prices. However, it remains to be seen whether these factors will outweigh the potential negative impact of higher borrowing costs.

Despite the rate hike, the RBA’s expectation of a modest rise in GDP growth rate to “around 2%” by the 12 months to 2025 is unchanged from February.

While the rebound in property prices is a positive sign for homeowners and investors, the higher borrowing costs may result in a slowdown in the market. Investors and property owners should remain vigilant and consider the long-term impact of the RBA’s decision on their property portfolios.

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