The Reserve Bank meeting on December 1 declared that the cash rate will remain at 2%, true to the predictions made by 33 economists and industry experts who participated in’s Reserve Bank survey the previous month.

Most of the experts on the panel agreed that Australia’s improving economy will be the most likely reason to keep the cash rate as it is.

For 2016, five out of the 33 experts surveyed are anticipating a rate drop in February, the very first meeting of the year. consumer advocate Bessie Hassan remarked that 2016 will be much more difficult for both borrowers and lenders.

“It’s going to be tougher for households next year and it’s not just borrowers who can expect higher costs, but also renters. Fifty-eight percent are predicting property prices to rise in 2016, despite 38 percent tipping a decrease in demand for residential property in the next 12 months.”

Hassan noted that 45% of the experts are expecting rents to increase next year, with 42% presuming rents to stay unchanged, and 13% believing rents will drop.

With the holidays soon in full swing and the recent out-of-cycle rate hikes, Hassan urged consumers to review their mortgages and see if they can find better deals online.

“It’s not uncommon for banks to discount within the vicinity of 1-1.25 percentage points or more off their standard variable rate for new loans, and generally, the larger your mortgage the greater your bargaining power,” she said.

“For an average mortgage – currently $379,400 – a 0.10 percent discount could lead to a saving of $281 over 12 months and $8,424 over the life of your loan. This is based on the current average variable home loan rate of 5.22 percent in the home loans database.”’s survey discovered that 58% of the panel are expecting the cash rate to increase beyond 2016. Should this be the case, borrowers should consider the bigger picture and use the period to make extra repayments and minimise higher costs.

“There’s nothing to lose, and plenty to gain from giving your finances a health check – do it sooner rather than later to make the most of a competitive home loan market and to start saving some serious dollars,” Hassan recommended.