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Reserve Bank governor Glenn Stevens has signalled interest rates are on their way back up with mortgage rates likely to edge up between half and a full percentage point.

Giving evidence to the House of Representatives economics committee in Canberra, Mr Stevens said the RBA’s focus continued to be on what mortgage rates were offered by commercial banks rather than on the Reserve’s official cash rate.

He said given the commercial banks had lifted rates over and above what the RBA had done, there was still about a half and a full percentage point to go before mortgage rates were back to what the Reserve would consider close to their long term average.

“There’s a little distance to go yet before I think you could characterise the setting of interest rates as normal or average,” he said.

The RBA surprised markets by leaving official rates on hold at its February meeting.

Mr Stevens said on top of the Reserve’s own lift in official rates, the commercial banks actions had effectively delivered three and a half interest rate rises to mortgages cases, and in the case of Westpac customers, four rate hikes.

He said one of the advantages of lifting rates as the RBA did in the last three months of 2009 was that it could hold rates in February and get a clearer picture of how the economy was travelling.

“You get that luxury when you can wait a little a bit further down the line,” he said.

Mr Stevens said Australia had performed much better than even the RBA had expected out of the global recession.

But he warned that meant the economy was now heading into an upswing stronger than otherwise would have been the case.

“With the economy having had only a mild downturn with begin the upswing with less spare capacity than would typically be the case after a recession,” he said.

“There’s less scope for robust demand growth without inflation starting to rise again down the track.

“Monetary policy must be careful not to overstay a very expansionary setting.”

Mr Stevens said the resources sector in particular was looking to grow quickly, with the terms of trade likely to head back to the record highs seen in 2008 this year.

He also highlighted the strength of Australia’s sovereign debt position, hosing down fears the country was carrying too much debt.

“Australia’s position is by any measure very strong indeed,” he said.

The governor also played down fears raised by Opposition finance spokesman Barnaby Joyce that Australia could default on its debts.

Mr Stevens said Australia had never defaulted before and there were no signs it would now.

“I very much doubt there ever will be,” he said. 

“Monetary policy must be careful not to overstay a very expansionary setting.”

Mr Stevens said the resources sector in particular was looking to grow quickly, with the terms of trade likely to head back to the record highs seen in 2008 this year.

He also highlighted the strength of Australia’s sovereign debt position, hosing down fears the country was carrying too much debt.

“Australia’s position is by any measure very strong indeed,” he said.

The governor also played down fears raised by Opposition finance spokesman Barnaby Joyce that Australia could default on its debts.

Mr Stevens said Australia had never defaulted before and there were no signs it would now.

“I very much doubt there ever will be,” he said.

Source www.thewest.com.au

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THE market odds have moved firmly against an interest rate rise by the Reserve Bank in February.

The sharp change in direction, which began on Tuesday after the central bank revealed its December 1 meeting minutes, accelerated yesterday following a speech by RBA deputy governor Ric Battellino.

Mr Battellino signalled that rates could stay on hold when the RBA next meets in February, saying the “overall stance” of monetary policy was “back in the normal range”.

His comments, at the Australian Finance & Banking Conference in Sydney, surprised the markets, triggering a slump in the Australian dollar to below US90.

Last night the dollar was hovering around US89.70.

Financial market betting on a 25-basis point rate hike in February retreated from a 67 per cent chance to 45 per cent.

Mr Battellino said that although the cash rate still seemed “unusually low” at 3.75 per cent, monetary policy was back “in the normal range” because the current level of deposit, housing and business lending rates made the cash rate equivalent to a “before the crisis” level of 4.75 per cent.

“Taking these considerations into account, it would be reasonable to conclude that the overall stance of monetary policy is now back in the normal range, though in the expansionary segment of that range,” he said.

The deputy governor’s remarks were made half an hour after the Australian Bureau of Statistics revealed economic growth in the September quarter was weaker than expected.

The national accounts showed GDP edged up just 0.2 per cent in the three months to September, half the pace of growth expected by the market, for an annual rate of 0.5 per cent.

The main drag on growth was a slump in exports which coincided with a jump in imports.

However, demand from households, businesses buying more equipment and government investment was solid.

ANZ acting chief economist Warren Hogan said the GDP figures indicated there was little urgency to get official interest rates back to a neutral setting, adding that Mr Battellino’s comments had “dealt a solid blow” to the prospect of substantial gains in the cash rate over coming months.

“Put another way, the emergency setting for interest rates has now been removed and policy will be adjusted as and when required by economic conditions,” he said.

Westpac chief executive Gail Kelly told reporters after the bank’s annual meeting in Melbourne yesterday that the RBA was likely to raise rates “very carefully” in 2010.

However, she said the official cash rate was not quite yet at a “normal” level.

Mrs Kelly said she remained cautious about the economic outlook while the bank’s chairman Ted Evans said a “V-shaped” recovery for Australia was unlikely.

“It will be a long recovery and that’s what our plans are based on,” he said. 

Source  :  www.news.com.au

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THE average new mortgage in Australia has hit an all-time high of $367,000 according to mortgage broker Australian Finance Group.

But Queenslanders have been more conservative than the rest of the country, with the average new mortgage in Queensland sitting at $325,000.

The average home loan in New South Wales is now $433,000; in Western Australia it is $391,000 and $386,000 in the Northern Territory.

Australians have been increasingly taking on bigger mortgages, with the average new home loan 6.4 per cent larger than it was in May 2009.

Queensland bucked this trend, however, with new mortgages taken out in November $10,000 smaller than the previous month and close to the state’s January low of $323,000.

Home loans in both Victoria and New South Wales grew since May – up 12.1 per cent and 10.7 per cent respectively.

The news comes after the Reserve Bank of Australia announced on Tuesday that it was lifting the official cash rate for the third successive time.

The latest 0.25 per cent rise, when passed on by lenders, will cost home-owners with a $367,000 mortgage on a standard variable rate an extra $56 a month, while those slugged with a 0.45 per cent rate hike face an increase of $102 per month.

First-home buyers accounted for just 13.7 per cent of all new mortgages in November, down from their peak of 28.1 per cent in March.

Investors have been steadily returning to the property market over the past four months and represent a third of all new mortgages in November.

Of those who took out a new mortgage in November, only 2.1 per cent opted for a fixed-rate, down from 3 per cent the previous month.

Total numbers of new mortgages were lower than previous months.

Mark Hewitt of Australian Financial Group said: “October and November are seasonally strong months in the calendar, but we’ve seen two straight months of decline.

“Larger average mortgages and greater activity by investors are usually signs of a confident market but confidence is still fragile.

“We believe the RBA hiked rates too quickly and too soon.”

Source  :  www.thenews.com.au

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  • Banks say they will be forced to lift rates
  • Will be more than official RBA rises
  • Facing higher costs of raising money
  •  

     

    BANKS have confirmed homeowners’ worst fears: they will increase mortgage rates by more than the official Reserve Bank rises in the coming months.

    The Big Four banks claim they will be forced to lift interest rates beyond the official RBA cash rate increases because they are facing higher costs of raising money in the wholesale markets.

    Full story  :  http://www.news.com.au/business/money/story/0,28323,26194165-5013952,00.html

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    The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) left interest rates on hold at 3 percent as predicted.                                                 reserve_bank_400

    A  survey by AAP had expected the RBA to leave the cash rate at the lowest since 1960.

    Treasurer Wayne Swan said last weekend that it was obvious that rates will rise, while Minister for Financial Services, Chris Bowen, warned yesterday that rates can’t stay low forever.

    Some economists believe the first rate rise could come this year, but the general view is that rates will remain on hold until the middle of next year.

    In a statement released after the announcement, governor Glenn Stevens said the risk of “severe contraction” in the Australian economy had abated.

    “Economic conditions in Australia have been stronger than expected a few months ago, with both consumer spending and exports notable for their resilience,” the statement says.

    “Measures of confidence have recovered a good deal of ground.”

    The statement adds: “The board’s judgment is that the present accommodative setting of monetary policy is appropriate given the economy’s circumstances.

    “The board will continue to monitor how economic and financial conditions unfold and how they impinge on prospects for sustainable growth in economic activity and achieving the inflation target.”

     

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    AUSSIE Home Loans has recorded a strong rise in the number of borrowers looking to refinance their mortgages, as home owners try to take advantage of record low interest rates.

    The non-bank lender said refinancing accounted for 38.5 per cent of home loans written in June, up from 30.2 per cent in March.

    “There have been plenty of home owners who have been complacent about their mortgages,” Aussie founder and executive chairman John Symond said.

    “But our figures show that more and more of them are taking advantage of record interest rate lows and are actively seeking out the best deal.”

    However, the number of first home buyers settling home loans dropped to 21.3 per cent of total loans written in June, from 32 per cent in March.

    “The steam has abated in the first home buyer market as many of them realise that the properties available are probably already at full price,” Mr Symonds said.

    “They are re-assessing the market.”

    Aussie is one of Australia’s largest non-bank providers of financial services and has a loan book of more than $30 billion.

    Source  :  www.news.com.au

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    Starting from a part time operation and growing to what we are today, we have an excellent reputation and are known widely for our service and quality.

    From all kinds of seasonal farm and station work to country pub and resort work, we have a vast range of great jobs to choose from both in the Perth metropolitan area and regional Western Australia. 

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    We also encourage our travellers to try something new and different so that they really get to know and understand the true blue Aussie way of life. Its also great to take home new experiences and skills that you would never have thought of having back home.

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    Source  :  http://www.backpackerjobswa.com.au/

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    HOUSE prices could rise by as much as 22 per cent during the next three years, an economic forecaster says.   house price

    ”The conditions are ripe for a sustained recovery in residential property prices,” according to BIS Shrapnel’s Residential Property Prospects, 2009 to 2012, report.

    ”Low interest rates, solid growth in rents and housing shortages are evident in most markets.

    ”However, the current economic malaise will mean confidence will only recover slowly during 2009/10.”

    BIS Shrapnel senior project manager and study author Angie Zigomanis said that, at this stage, all of the action was occurring at the lower-priced end of the market.

    This is due to a surge in first-home buyer demand as a result of the federal government’s first home owner boost scheme and low interest rates, he said.

    BIS Shrapnel forecasts there will be 180,000 first-home buyers in 2009.

    Although first-home buyer demand was expected to ease after the expiry of the government’s boost scheme at the end of 2009, upgraders and investors were expected to take the baton, Mr Zigomanis said.

    ”We expect rising confidence in the prospects for an economic recovery in 2010, so investors are likely to return in greater numbers, attracted by increased rental returns and low interest rates.”

    Among the state capitals, Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide will show the strongest price growth over the next three years, at 19 per cent.

    More moderate growth is expected in Brisbane, Hobart, and Canberra, while price growth in Perth and Darwin is expected to be weak as the local economies of these cities are impacted by a decline in investment spending in the resources sector.

    BIS Shrapnel estimates Sydney’s median house price at June 2009 to be $530,000, and predicts it will rise by mid-2012 to $630,000. Melbourne’s current median house price is estimated at $425,000, rising to $507,000 by June 2012.

    In Adelaide, the median price is estimated at $360,000 and predicted to climb to $430,000 over the three years.

    Among other cities around Australia, Newcastle and Wollongong are expected to benefit from the migration of residents from Sydney over the coming years.

    The median house price in Newcastle is expected to soar 22 per cent over the three years, while Wollongong is forecast to see growth of 20 per cent in the same period.

    In Brisbane, the average house is estimated to cost $391,000 now and is expected to cost $455,000 by mid-2012, an increase of 16 per cent.

    Hobart’s median house price is estimated to be $335,000 and will rise by 15 per cent to $385,000 over the three year period.

    An average house in Canberra is estimated to cost $440,000, increasing to $515,000 by 2012, a rise of 17 per cent.

    In Perth, the estimated median house price is $425,000, expected to reach $475,000 in three years, up 12 per cent.

    Darwin’s forecast median house price is $470,000, predicted to show an increase of 11 per cent over the three years.

    For the Gold Coast, the Sunshine Coast and Cairns, BIS Shrapnel forecasts prices will increase by 14 per cent, while Townsville prices are expected to grow 13 per cent over the three years.

    Source  :  www.news.com.au

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    Treasurer Wayne Swan has taken aim at Australia’s biggest home lender, labelling it selfish for lifting its mortgage and business lending rates.  swan_rudd_hand_400

    Other banks have refused to rule out following the Commonwealth Bank of Australia’s (CBA’s) surprise decision to lift its home and business loan rates by 10 basis points to offset higher funding costs.

    The opposition said the government’s huge debt burden was putting pressure on interest rates, while a prominent market economist said it may force the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) to cut the official rate again to counter any impact from CBA’s move.

    CBA said it took Friday’s decision “reluctantly”, but at a standard variable mortgage rate of 5.74 per cent, up from 5.64 per cent, it was still the lowest on the market.

    The rate hike will add $18 a month to repayments on a $300,000 home loan over 25 years.

    The bank said it had absorbed as much of its additional funding costs for as long as it could.

    “Unfortunately, we have seen the bank’s wholesale funding costs remain high and continue to increase as previous long term funding matures and is replaced with new funding at significantly higher cost,” CBA group executive of retail banking services Ross McEwan said in a statement.

    Such reasoning drew no sympathy from the treasurer.

    There are ups and downs when it comes to those decisions over time, but there are few decisions I can think of that are more selfish than this one,” Mr Swan told reporters in Brisbane.

    “I think Australians, rightly, will be furious with the Commonwealth Bank.”

    Prime Minister Kevin Rudd echoed those sentiments during a speech to a business lunch in Brisbane.

    “We are all in this together – businesses, workers, government and the Reserve Bank – and today’s decision by the Commonwealth Bank runs counter to this nationwide effort,” Mr Rudd said.

    The other three major banks – ANZ, National Australia Bank and Westpac – said their rates were constantly under review.

    NAB said it had no current plans to raise its home loan rate but noted “all Australian banks” had been incurring significantly higher funding costs for some time.

    Opposition treasury spokesman Joe Hockey said the government was putting pressure on interest rates by running up a huge debt.

    “Kevin Rudd and Wayne Swan feigned outrage about this interest rate increase, yet they are directly responsible for it,” Mr Hockey told reporters in Sydney.

    “This is the beginning. You will end up with higher interest rates directly as a result of the spending binge of the Rudd government and the massive debt they are accruing.”

    Home buyers may be enjoying the lowest mortgage rates in 41 years, but have already missed out on about 30 to 40 basis points of the RBA’s total 425 basis points of official rate cuts, with banks refusing to pass on the cuts in full because of the cost of funding.

    For small businesses it has been even worse, being short changed by about 140 basis points.

    The CBA’s decision comes in a week that saw massive boosts to both consumer and business confidence, as well as data showing sustained growth in home lending – sucked in by low mortgage rates and a more generous first home owners grant.

    April mortgage data showed loan demand has grown for seven straight months to a 14-month high, as well as record demand from first home buyers and the strongest interest from investors in nearly two years.

    It also showed that the banks have cornered more than 92 per cent of all loans – a 33-year high.

    Westpac chief economist Bill Evans said CBA’s decision could well be countered by another cut by the RBA.

    “If it does have an impact, particularly on confidence in the housing market, which has been the most encouraging source of recovery in the Australian economy, it may bring a rate cut back on the table at the Reserve Bank,” Mr Evans told Sky News

    Source  :  www.thedaily.com.au

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    western_Australia_hotel_MapWESTERN Australia has the fastest growing population in Australia, according to the latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

    WA’s population growth rate has hit 3.1 per cent for the year ending December 2008 – well ahead of every other state or territory.   

    Next was Queensland, growing at 2.5 per cent, Northern Territory, 2.0 per cent, Victoria, 1.9 per cent, ACT, 1.7 per cent, New South Wales, 1.4 per cent, South Australia, 1.2 , and Tasmania, 1.0 per cent.

    WA, along with Queensland, had the highest rate of intra-state migration, with WA attracting 6300 people from other states and territories and Queensland luring 21,200 interstaters.

    At December 31, 2008, WA’s population was 2,204,000 — the fourth largest in Australia, with NSW the most populous state (7.04 million), followed by Victoria (5.36 million) and Queensland (4.35 million).

    Nationally the population increased by 1.9 percent  from 2007 — the highest growth rate recorded since the 1950s and 1960s, which was boosted by post war migration and high birth rates. 

    These rates compare with a 1.2 per cent growth rate recorded five years ago.

    At the end of 2008 Australia’s population had swelled by 406,100 people to 21,644,000.

    Of the 406,100 new Australians,  62 per cent, or  253,400, were overseas immigrants. The excess of births over deaths contributed 152,700. 

    The states losing the most people to interstate migration were New South Wales (down 22,700), South Australia (down 5200) and Victoria (down 1000).

    Source www.news.com.au

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