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Home loan borrowers settle for unchanged interest rate

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Borrowers who are hoping for another rate cut are out of luck after the Reserve Bank kept the official cash rate on hold at 1.75 per cent last Tuesday due to an anticipated apartment supply glut. Many analysts still expect the central bank to announce another rate cut next month following the July 27 release of national inflation data.

"Taking account of the available information, the board judged that holding monetary policy steady would be prudent at this meeting," said Reserve Bank governor Glenn Stevens. "Over the period ahead, further information should allow the board to refine its assessment of the outlook for growth and inflation, and to make any adjustment to the stance of policy that may be appropriate."

The Reserve Bank made its last rate cut by 0.25 per cent last May 3, the same day as the federal budget, setting the scene for another round of mortgage rate cuts by various lenders. Most of them passed on the full rate cut to their clients, bringing the standard variable rates and some fixed rate loans below four per cent for the first time in history.

According to the latest data from financial research firm CANSTAR, average mortgage rates are still above four per cent, although the lowest standard variable rate is set at 3.59 per cent.

"The message for consumers is that no matter what the official cash rate is, most borrowers could definitely be saving money on their mortgage if they know what's on offer and are prepared to drive a hard negotiation with their bank," said CANSTAR spokesperson Justine Davies.

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