What Is The OCR?
OCR stands for Official Cash Rate.
The Official Cash Rate is the interest rate that the Reserve Bank of New Zealand sets to influence monetary policy in the country.
The OCR is the rate at which the Reserve Bank lends money to commercial banks.
Therefore, it affects the interest rates that banks charge to borrowers and pay to savers.
The Reserve Bank reviews and sets the OCR periodically, typically every six weeks.
The OCR is used to control inflation, stabilise the exchange rate, and support economic growth.
When inflation is high, the Reserve Bank may increase the OCR to reduce demand and slow down the economy, and when inflation is low, the Reserve Bank may lower the OCR to stimulate demand and boost economic activity.
Why Does the Reserve Bank Keep Raising The OCR?
The Reserve Bank may raise the OCR for several reasons, but the most common is to control inflation.
When the economy is growing strongly and demand for goods and services is high, there is upward pressure on prices.
If inflation starts to rise above the RBNZ’s target range of 1-3%, the RBNZ may raise the OCR to reduce demand, cool the economy, and bring inflation back to the target range.
Inflation is currently sitting at 7.2% in New Zealand.
Kelleher, ANZ’s Managing Director for personal banking, says high inflation hurts people’s spending power, devalues their savings, and increases business costs, pushing up the cost of living.
“With this in mind, it is understandable the Reserve Bank is strongly hiking the OCR in an attempt to dampen inflation.” [source]
This is one of the main reasons that you see regular notifications that the OCR has been raised and that mortgage rates have been increasing so markedly.
Will The OCR Continue to Rise?
On 5th April 2023, the Reserve Bank surprised economists throughout the country by raising the OCR by 50 basis points to 5.25%. So, will it continue to rise?
“The RBNZ has given little away about what is next for the OCR, but Davidson, Core Logic chief property economist, says it seems that there will be one more 0.25% rise on May 24, with the tightening cycle potentially ending there.
“That said, it’s still too early to sound the all-clear and suddenly expect housing sales volumes to pick up and house prices to find a floor,” he says.
“After all, new borrowers are still facing tough serviceability testing and a continued wave of existing mortgages are yet to be repriced to current rates of around 6.5%.”
He says these will remain challenges for the housing market for a few months yet – especially with the RBNZ wanting to emphasise that they’re not about to ‘go soft’ on inflation and suddenly lower the OCR anytime soon.” [source]
So, at this point, it looks likely that the OCR will rise again, but hopefully not at the rapid rate that it has risen in the last 12 months.
If you have any questions about how these rises impact your current or potential borrowing, then it’s time to have a chat with a trusted mortgage advisor, like the team here at Oliver Broomfield Mortgage & Insurances.
What’s Happening Currently in the Housing Market?
As we just discussed, the OCR rose to 5.25% on 5th April 2023. This will have an impact on interest rates.
ANZ is the first of the big banks to announce increases to both their mortgage rates and their savings rates. [source]
LVR Restrictions to be Reviewed
The current Loan-to-Value (LVR) restrictions were imposed in November 2021 to promote financial stability in the housing market.
The RBNZ has indicated that these will be eased from 1 June 2023 from:
- 10% limit for loans with LVR above 80% for owner occupiers, and
- 5% limit for loans with LVR above 60% for investors.
- 15% limit for loans with LVR above 80% for owner occupiers, and
- 5% limit for loans with LVR above 65% for investors. [source]
This will allow lenders to write mortgages for stronger applicants based on their servicing ability and for rental investors with lower deposits.
While not yet confirmed, it’s looking likely that Debt-To-Income restrictions will become a formal tool used when considering residential mortgage lending from March next year.
If introduced, they are unlikely to have a significant impact as risky lending has already been reduced.
Plus, the recent interest rate rises and dropping house prices have meant people have not been borrowing as much anyway. [source]
It is useful to know that DTI restrictions may come into place and to be mindful of them when considering your borrowing power.
Dropping House Values
The latest QV House Price Index data shows that house values have made their biggest first-quarter fall in more than 15 years.
Since the beginning of last year, average house values have dropped by more than $250,000 in Auckland and Wellington.
And it looks like they are set to fall further still.
It is not all unwelcome news, however. According to QV national spokesperson Simon Petersen, “Some economists are predicting interest rates could be close to peaking. With increasing migration into the country only expected to increase demand for residential property, we might see the downturn bottom out later in the year, but there’s still so much uncertainty.” [source]
So, it will be a case of watching to see what happens in the property market and taking advice about your individual situation.
If you have mortgage rates coming up for renewal, are considering buying or selling, or would simply like general advice about where you stand financially, contact the friendly team at Olive Broomfield Mortgage & Insurance today.
We hope you enjoy the reads this month. If you want to stay up to date with everything we have going on let’s stay connected on Facebook, LinkedIn, and our Oliver Broomfield Mortgage & Insurances website.
If you want to chat about anything Mortgage or interest-rate-related, please feel free to get in touch.
Until next time,
Frequently Asked Questions
The advantage of using a mortgage adviser is that they can negotiate with a number of lenders to find the deal that best suits you. They do all the leg work for you, saving you time.
We help assess all your options, whereas the Bank is restricted by being only able to present one view.
While banks expect the client will negotiate with them, or accept the given rate, mortgage brokers are more likely to go to bat for you, to get a lower interest rate.
Our processes make financing your house purchase easy; providing quick personal service that takes the stress out of financing your home loan. With our wealth of experience in the finance industry, we know how to get the best deal for you.
Absolutely! We can still work with you using email, phone calls, and video calls. Whatever your financial situation is, we have a range of options to communicate with you whatever circumstances.
Yes, we have an online application system or a pdf form that can be completed. Supporting documents can either be uploaded directly into our system or emailed. We can use telephone, zoom, or email for further clarification or look at scenarios and receive and send information.
A home loan pre-approval is a conditional approval confirming that we can lend you a certain amount of money, provided the property you purchase meets the lender’s home loan criteria. It’s a good idea to ask us for a home loan pre-approval before you start house hunting. It will help you determine how much you can borrow and to give you some bargaining power when negotiating a purchase price.
Saving a deposit is probably the biggest hurdle for most first home buyers. First home buyers need to have saved at least 5% deposit with 20% or more being the optimum. Remember that this can be made up from a KiwiSaver first home withdrawal and some first home buyers may also be eligible for a HomeStart Grant. Gifts and deed of debts from friends and family are also common.
While there has been a lot of publicity about the need for home buyers to have a 20% deposit; there are still options available for you. We can talk you through what may be available to you including:
- The ability to access low equity loans
- Using your Kiwisaver contributions towards your deposit
- Building your own home
- Accessing parental assistance to increase your deposit.
The size of your deposit makes a big difference to the interest rate and the other costs you could potentially pay on your home loan. Generally, for lending where the deposit is less than 20%, the lender will also charge a Low Equity Fee (LEF) or Lenders Mortgage Insurance (LMI). Interest rates may also be higher for loans with a low deposit.
Whilst assessing a loan application, banks will scrutinise your bank account (usually the most recent 3 months bank statements).
In particular, they are looking at how well (or not) you manage your account.
Do you have dishonors, and or unauthorised overdrafts?
The better your account conduct the better your chances!
The banks also want to make sure all expenses including fixed and discretionary costs are included in the mortgage application expenses.
This will be determined by your income, your capacity to repay the loan, and the property type along with the current lending restrictions imposed by the reserve bank. Contact us today to find out.
The income you will need to earn will depend on the size of the loan, the bigger your loan the more you will need to earn.
As a rule of thumb if you are a first home buyer who is currently renting and have also been able to save some money there is a good chance you will meet the banks’ income criteria.
A LIM report is a summary of information that the local Counsel hold on a property. The report covers off information regarding consents, permits, code of compliance, potential erosion, subsidence, flooding of any type and the possible presence of hazardous substances. private and public stormwater and sewerage drain, rates, including any overdue rates.
Your solicitor should review this document.
Absolutely, we do this every day for many existing clients. We can use our scenario calculator to ensure you meet lender criteria and affordability for yourself.
Yes, you can borrow money in New Zealand and may be able to borrow up to 80-90% of the purchase price of a home.
To be eligible to for the KiwiSaver First Home Withdrawal Scheme you must:
Be purchasing your first home;
- Have been a member of KiwiSaver for a minimum of three years;
- Have your KiwiSaver account with a KiwiSaver provider that allows saving withdrawals; and
- Intend to live in the property for at least six months
- We recommend that you contact your KiwiSaver provider and check their individual policy on withdrawals for first homes.
- If you are eligible to withdraw money from your KiwiSaver, you may also be eligible for a first home deposit subsidy of up to $20,000.00 from Housing New Zealand – known as a HomeStart Grant.
Using a mortgage broker generally means no direct costs to you for their services but there are other unavoidable costs. These may include:
- A Registered Valuation ($800 – $1,200)
- Solicitor Costs ($800 – $1,500)
- LIM report ($150 – $400)
- Builder’s Report ($100 – $500)
- Weather Tightness Report for Monoclad houses ($300 – $1,000)
- Finance fee for non-bank lending (~1%)
Prices can vary. Always request a quote before ordering any of these services.
The banks all have different policies and risk tolerances. Buyers can get frustrated and waste a lot of time going to banks that won’t suit their needs.
Using a mortgage broker gives you a view of all the banks and their policies. It means you find the right bank faster and with less stress. With a mortgage broker, getting a mortgage isn’t complicated.
It’s about proving you have enough deposit and enough income and then heading to the right bank with that information.
Some tips to making your mortgage application easier: get your documentation sorted early and keep your spending as low as possible in the 3 months leading up to your application.
We will always act in the best interest of the client and will ensure that any deal we broker is the best we can do for the client.
While there can be variances in the amount different lenders pay us we do not favour any particular lender for this reason.
We are also members of NZFSG & Financial Advice New Zealand both of which have ethics that we must adhere to.
We can also be audited at any time by the FMA (Financial Markets Authority)
No… The lenders that use our services see us as an efficient channel to obtain business from. They only pay us on success i.e. when the loan settles.
We sit alongside their other channels such as a bank branch or mobile manager.
The cost of obtaining business from a mortgage broker is comparable to these other channels the banks choose to use.
For this reason, it will cost you no more to use our services.
Mortgage advisers (often called mortgage brokers) are paid by the bank when a mortgage is drawn down. If that mortgage is discharged (repaid and closed) within a short amount of time – typically 27 months – the broker must repay some or all of the commission (often referred to as a clawback). In this instance, the mortgage broker has essentially done the work for no pay.
We reserve the right to charge for our time if a clawback is incurred. The fee will be the estimated amount of hours the mortgage took at an hourly rate of $250 per hour. Unlike other fees, such as Break Fees from the bank, we have capped the amount we can charge clients at $2,500.
If you are refinancing or selling your house, the best thing to do is immediately talk to your adviser and discuss if any clawback fees will be charged.
If the property is for you to live in, this is something you should discuss with your Lawyer at your initial meeting. If it will be an Investment Property, you should discuss with your Accountant. We would also suggest you find a property accountant, someone who deals in property all the time rather than just as a side part of their business.
Refinancing creates an entirely new mortgage and an opportunity to restructure in a way that better suits your personal situation.
People refinance for lots of personal reasons, from changing circumstances to life goals and interest rates.
People often refinance with us because they want to get ahead faster and take advantage of the smart Go Home Loan structure and personalised support we offer.
The key to an effective loan structure is putting your savings and income into an account that helps reduce the daily interest costs of your mortgage, not a separate unlinked account.
Why? By combining all your income and savings against your Go Home loan, you’re making your money work harder for you.
A Go Home Loan is a much simpler mortgage structure that still uses your income and savings to reduce your daily interest costs.
Generally, banks offset your money from multiple accounts. Some clients find it difficult to track multiple accounts and figure out how much interest is being charged or offset.
We find that using a Go Home Loan is an effective loan structure by putting your savings and income into an account that helps reduce your daily interest costs.