Borrowers left waiting 10.6 days for a partial rate cuts as banks assert market dominance
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Banks' dominance of the mortgage market – now above 90% of all home loan approvals – means they have been able to take 10.6 days to pass on RBA cash rate cuts.
By contrast, they take 6.8 days to lift mortgage rates when the RBA lifts the cash rate.
In addition, research suggests banks have passed on 116% of cash rate rises (above official rate increases), while only passing on 84% of the benefit of RBA cash rate cuts.
These figures are contained in the latest edition of the Economic Record, published the Economic Society of Australia, which calculated the time banks take based on the last two years of RBA cash rate decisions.
Westpac is the worst offender when it comes to passing on rate cuts – taking 13 days, while the Commonwealth Bank is the quickest to pass on rate rises – taking just three days.
How long banks take to pass on RBA rate rises and rate cuts (decisons from May 2010 to June 2012)
Source: Economic Record/Sydney Morning Herald
Westpac is also the worst offender when it comes to the margin between the standard variable rate and the cash rate.
Westpac's margin is 352 basis points, followed by ANZ (339 basis points), Commonwealth Bank (326 basis points) and NAB (315 basis points).
However, borrowers will have themselves partly to blame if the major banks – as expected – do not pass on the full 25-basis-point October RBA rate cut this week.
The following chart prepared by investment firm Nomura shows that Australian banks' share of total mortgage approvals has risen well above 90% as borrowers choose to secure their home loans through well-known brands.
This is despite non-bank lenders, building societies and credit unions offering competitive and in many cases lower fixed and variable-rate offerings.Click to enlarge
The Mark at Sydney's Central Park
Now, all signs point south for this market. A year ago vacancies were near zero but today they’re approaching 5%. Price growth has stopped and, according to Australian Property Monitors’ price graph, has started to dip below the red line.