Linda Wirth is one of millions of Aussie homeowners who have been dealt a blow by the Reserve Bank (RBA) rate hike today, with her mortgage repayments doubling over the past year.
The 73-year-old Sydney resident is currently in the process of selling her Camperdown apartment and is hoping to use the money from the sale to purchase a house for her and her adult children to live in on the outer edge of Sydney.
“The reason I am selling is because my children are having so much difficulty with rentals … I’m happy where I am. I like being here. But I’m doing it for the sake of my children,” Linda told Yahoo Finance.
Are you concerned about today's rate decision? Contact email@example.com
With $200,000 remaining on her mortgage, Linda said her repayments had increased from about $1,200 per month to $2,200 per month since the RBA started its current rate-hiking cycle in May last year.
The retired Union Nations official said, despite receiving a “good income” from her pension, everything was eaten up by mortgage repayments and everyday living costs.
“I manage but I just have nothing left at the end of the month by the time I pay taxes, strata, the mortgage. And the cost of living is increasing all the time. I also help out my kids a bit and there is nothing much left,” Linda said.
“What you can get for $50 or $100 is much less than what you could a couple of years ago. So people, including my children, are now going to food banks to get free bread … vegetables and milk.”
Worries over buyer confidence
Along with her personal mortgage repayments, Linda said she was worried about how today's rate hike would impact the sale of her apartment.
She listed the two-bedroom, one-bathroom apartment in March this year and is hoping to sell it for $1.1 million.
“For buyers, it might make them more hesitant to buy an apartment and it’s already been difficult through the year. Especially for investors trying to calculate their return because they have to factor in mortgage rates, plus strata fees, council fees and stamp duty,” Linda said.
James Kirkland, executive general manager of sales at Little Real Estate, believes the rate rise will have a major impact on the property market.
“As buyer confidence was beginning to rebound, this move risks not only stalling the property market's long-awaited momentum but also a back-breaking and tangible financial toll on would-be homeowners," Kirkland said.
“Sellers now find themselves under significant time constraints to get on the market and transact before year's end amid looming prospects of another rate increase in December.”
New home buyers also feeling the pinch
First-home buyer Danyal Diallo is also bracing for higher mortgage repayments. He said rising interest rates was something he was constantly thinking about and was putting a dampener on the upcoming festive season.
“Normally, I would be very excited for Christmas and spending it with my family and looking for gifts. But with this hike, that’s all that is occupying my mind,” Danyal told Yahoo Finance.
“The feeling is not debilitating but it is definitely a mood ruiner.”
Danyal bought his first home two months ago - a three-bedroom house in south-east Melbourne - and will be moving in at the end of the month.
The 21-year-old took out a $500,000 mortgage with a 5 per cent deposit and said his repayments were around $2,800 per month. But they will increase after today’s RBA decision.
“I work full-time and the majority of that [income] is already dedicated to keeping afloat with the cost of living,” Danyal said.
“Once I get paid, you have to divide [it] and what’s left isn’t enough … Dividing it will be even more difficult and other things will be put on hold and it reduces the quality of life.”
Not knowing if interest rates would keep going up, or when they would come down, was another worry for him.
“It’s unpredictable so that makes it more stressful because it makes it harder to look in advance and plan [for the future],” he said.