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2014 Sep 18 - Interest Rate Held Steady After July Increase                                                             Port Elizabeth Property First Article

Following the increase of 25 basis points at the previous meeting held in July, the monetary policy committee (MPC) announced today that the prime interest rate will remain unchanged at its current level of 9.25%.

Colin Fibiger, CEO of Property Network, said that although the Reserve Bank has reiterated on numerous occasions that the domestic interest rate cycle is currently following a gradual upward trajectory, the fall in consumer price index (CPI) since the July meeting has eased some pressure on the bank to hike rates. He notes that while the Reserve Bank’s stance will remain hawkish based on the current CPI level, the interest rate is expected to remain at its current level for the remainder of this year, which is good news for consumers.

property network interest rates “Although consumers have had to deal with petrol and food price increases during the first three quarters of this year, food price inflation is gradually easing and is expected to continue to fall. The same can be expected of the petrol price, which will bring about some relief for cash-strapped households,” says Fibiger. “With the Reserve Bank’s CPI inflation target between 3% and 6% year-on-year in the six to 24 month future period, the lower inflation ends this year, the less pressure on the bank to increase rates next year.”

The CPI inflation had climbed from 5.3% year-on-year in November 2013 to 6.6% by June this year. The climb prompted the monetary policy committee to push rates up by 75 basis points during this period. Economists predict that although the CPI inflation has already seen a decline, it is expected to fall further and re-enter the inflation target set by the Reserve Bank. This will significantly reduce the need for any further rate hikes this year, especially considering the current weakness in economic growth.

Wherever possible, consumers and potential property buyers should use this period of steady rates to continue to focus on reducing their interest-bearing debt levels in order to show higher levels of disposable income. Fibiger says those who currently own property should try to pay the extra money into their bonds to reduce their loan period as well as the capital amount owed.

"Reducing the loan period is just as important as the interest rate for homeowners to take into consideration. Aside from reducing the term of the loan, it will also decrease the total interest paid over that period,” he says.


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