Bank gives homebuyers a reprieve
By Alex Easton
Ian MacFarlane was never going to get Kristy Temby and Paul Windle twice.
The Ballina couple were among those most exposed to the March 3 decision by the Reserve Bank Governor and his fellow board members to raise interest rates.
The bank was tipped to bring in another .25 per cent increase in the official rate yesterday, and its backdown was widely welcomed.
However, pundits warned the bank could still change its mind, with some predicting a second rate rise late this year.
So, while Mr Windle and Ms Temby welcomed the bank's decision to keep rates unchanged at 5.5 per cent, they were ready for a rise.
Mr Windle and Ms Temby bought their home in Ballina together in November and were hit with last month's rate rise, and its accompanying $30 jump in home loan repayments, only weeks away from the birth of their first child.
Adding to their difficulty, Mr Windle works in the building industry, which is also vulnerable to rate hikes and any corresponding slowing in the housing market. He was already off work because of a knee injury sustained playing football.
That wasn't going to happen again. The couple, whose son, Zac, was born on March 28, said that after the March rise, they switched to a fixed rate with their bank. The new rate, happily, was lower than the variable rate they started on.
The accident that forced Mr Windle to have a knee reconstruction and put him on compo until May also cushioned the impact of a slow-down in the building industry. He said several of his work mates had been laid off until work picked up again in May.