Interest rates down – market up?

By | December 8, 2008


4 December 2008

A  massive cut in interest rates is bound to spark the languid property market into life, even though we are moving into the silly season, aka Christmas.

The Reserve Bank, today, cut its official cash rate (OCR) 150 basis points bringing it down to 5.0%, a number we haven’t seen for a long time and one which six months ago we could only dream of.

During the day a number of organisations have cut their lending rates, but few have passed on the full 150 points – yet. The biggest mover is SBS which has taken its floating rate to a market low of 7.20%.

What is worth noting though is short-term rates, including the floating rate, are for many lenders at four-year lows.

These big cuts over the past few months are changing the numbers of investment properties. This means it is getting easier to make them cash flow positive, or at least get pretty close to a neutral situation.

Current trends are indicating was that investors are looking, but not getting carried away with prices.

The cut in finance costs may allow them to up their prices a bit more or be less cautious in their approach.

The other event which may change sentiment in the market is the government’s guarantee on deposits. This may help, as surviving finance companies are now getting money rolling in the door and that is helping their liquidity, but also allowing them to resume making loans again.

While most of this lending will be in the commercial and development markets, it may just be enough to help get the market moving again.

If it does start moving it is likely to be slow, rather than a quick, accelerated pick-up.