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RBA makes September 2023 cash rate call

After 12 rate rises in 14 meetings, the Reserve Bank held the cash rate at 4.1 per cent in the last two months. What will it do next? In this special announcement – brought to you by Legal Home Loans – find out if the RBA has increased the cash rate or held it at its current level.

user iconLawyers Weekly 05 September 2023 Politics
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In its September interest rate decision – its eighth for the year to date – the board of the Reserve Bank of Australia decided to hold the cash rate at 4.1 per cent for the third straight month.

In a statement – his last before leaving his post – RBA governor Philip Lowe (pictured) said that inflation has “passed its peak” and the monthly consumer price index (CPI) indicator for July showed a further decline.

“But inflation is still too high and will remain so for some time yet. While goods price inflation has eased, the prices of many services are rising briskly. Rent inflation is also elevated. The central forecast is for CPI inflation to continue to decline and to be back within the 2–3 per cent target range in late 2025,” he said.


“The Australian economy is experiencing a period of below-trend growth, and this is expected to continue for a while. High inflation is weighing on people’s real incomes, and household consumption growth is weak, as is dwelling investment. Notwithstanding this, conditions in the labour market remain tight, although they have eased a little. Given that the economy and employment are forecast to grow below trend, the unemployment rate is expected to rise gradually to around 4½ per cent late next year. Wages growth has picked up over the past year but is still consistent with the inflation target, provided that productivity growth picks up.

“Returning inflation to target within a reasonable time frame remains the board’s priority. High inflation makes life difficult for everyone and damages the functioning of the economy. It erodes the value of savings, hurts household budgets, makes it harder for businesses to plan and invest, and worsens income inequality. And if high inflation were to become entrenched in people’s expectations, it would be very costly to reduce later, involving even higher interest rates and a larger rise in unemployment. To date, medium-term inflation expectations have been consistent with the inflation target, and it is important that this remains the case.”

In conversation with Lawyers Weekly, Legal Home Loans general manager Aylin Unsal said that the broking firm anticipated another pause this month, given that the sharp hikes to date are having the “right impact so far on inflation”.

“Currently, the average interest rate range we are seeing for residential loans is approximately between 5.8–6.85 per cent, depending on the product and your borrowing profile,” she detailed.

Lawyers may be relieved to hear that “we could be at the apex” of the rate hikes”, Ms Unsal noted.

“CBA, Westpac, and ANZ anticipate that the cash rate will remain on hold at 4.10 per cent for an extended period. NAB predicts that we may see one more increase this cycle, taking the target to a peak of 4.35 per cent by December 2023. This means that we will have some stability with interest rates for now before they hopefully start coming back down sometime next year,” she outlined.

“We are seeing more buyer confidence coming back into the market as we head into spring buying season. If you are thinking of purchasing soon, we recommend you get your pre-approval in now, as many lenders will have an option to lock in your interest rate for three months while you search.”

While the future can feel unknown, Ms Unsal concluded, lawyers should know that their advantaged position with lenders has not changed.

“Exclusive benefits, such as waived lenders mortgage insurance when buying with a deposit less than 20 per cent, are very much available,” she said.