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Interest rate hike tomorrow: Home loan repayment increases may double

Tomorrow’s repo rate increase could be 0.5% as opposed to the expected 0.25%. Photo: Mikhail Nilov/Pexels

Tomorrow’s repo rate increase could be 0.5% as opposed to the expected 0.25%. Photo: Mikhail Nilov/Pexels

Published May 18, 2022

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South African homeowners have been bracing for a 0.25% hike in the interest rate, but the chances are high that tomorrow’s repo rate hike could actually be 0.5%.

If this is the case, the prime lending rate will climb to 8.25%, and not 8% like homeowners have been budgeting for.

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And this means that whatever home loan increase they were expecting, they may have to double it.

“We expect the SARB to hike the repo rate by 25 basis points (0.25%), but see an elevated risk of a 50 basis point (0.5%) move,” says Miyelani Maluleke, senior economist at Absa Corporate and Investment Banking.

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While the Bank sees further monetary policy tightening as “warranted”, it “firmly believes” that “aggressive rate hikes” are not appropriate.

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“Governor Kganyago noted in the post-Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) media briefing in March that the SARB does not want to choke off South Africa’s nascent economic recovery. That said, we see the risks of a 50bp hike at this meeting as elevated, particularly due to the exchange rate movements since the last MPC meeting...

“Notably, analyst consensus has shifted towards a 50bp hike for this MPC meeting, with 16 of the 24 analysts polled by Thomson Reuters last week calling for a 50bp move, with the balance, including ourselves, forecasting a 25bp hike,” Maluleke says.

At the previous MPC meeting, two members preferred a 0.5% rise in the repo rate while three were in favour of the 0.25% increase.

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FNB expects the SARB to “proceed cautiously” with 0.25% rate increments, but acknowledges in its Economics Weekly report, that the probability of a 0.5% hike tomorrow is “materially high”.

“Since the MPC meeting in March, our inflation forecast has increased from 5.6% to 6.0% for 2022 and from 4.5% to 5.0% for next year. Average inflation expectation two years ahead was 5.0% from the first quarter BER (Bureau for Economic Research) survey results. Arguably, this is what the two MPC members who preferred a 50bps hike gave a more significant weight to.

“Crucially, in just two meetings, the US Federal Reserve has cumulatively hiked by the same amount as the SARB – 75bps cumulatively.”

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Home loan repayment increases

Carl Coetzee, chief executive of BetterBond has noted economist predictions that the repo rate could increase by 0.5%.

“It’s understandable that homeowners are concerned about the impact this will have on their bond repayments.

“Of course, the increase will mean a change in monthly repayments, and we encourage homeowners to factor this into their budget calculations.”

However, he notes that the country is “still in a far better position than we were in 2008 when the property market collapsed and inflation was at 11.5%”.

Furthermore, the recent increase in interest rates has not dampened the banks’ appetite to lend.

“BetterBond has seen an almost 10% increase in the ratio of formally granted bonds for April, year-on-year, which is significant coming off the high base set last year. With some banks offering loans of up to 105% for qualifying applicants, there are options for aspirant homeowners.”

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In calculations formulated by FNB property economist John Loos, this is how much more homeowners will pay on their home loans if the rate increase is in fact 0.5%.

  • Repayments on a R1 million home loan will increase by R312
  • Repayments on a R2 million home loan will increase by R622
  • Repayments on a R3 million home loan will increase by R934
  • Repayments on a R4 million home loan will increase by R1 245
  • Repayments on a R5 million home loan will increase by R1 556

Advice

Adrian Goslett, regional director and chief executive of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, recommends that homeowners examine their budgets to find the necessary funds to afford the higher repayment amount if interest rates do indeed increase.

“Being well prepared in this regard can mean the difference between being financially secure or falling hopelessly behind on repayments.”

Furthermore, he warns that, unless the accompanying interest rate charges are fixed, the repayments on all other debts will also increase should interest rates climb tomorrow.

“The disposable income for those who carry other forms of debt will shrink with every interest rate hike. My advice, especially for those who are paying off a home loan, is to funnel any extra cash towards those other debt repayments ahead of the coming announcement.”

He explains that, when deciding which debts to settle first, it is advisable to go for the debt with the highest accompanying interest rate charge.

“Things such as a car loan or personal loan will often carry far higher interest rate charges than a home loan, so it might make sense to try and pay off these debts as soon as possible.

“Moving to a smaller, more affordable home might relieve the financial pressure and create a much less stressful home environment.”

The table below shows approximate home loan increases based on your home’s value and future prime lending rate hikes.

GRAPHIC: JOHN LOOS/FNB

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