Beware of tempting interest rates
The official cash rate was held steady this morning and home loan rates are at record lows, but experts have a word of caution for those tempted to take the plunge into the property market.
"When it comes to interest rates and the OCR, what comes down may also go up,'' said David Kneebone, executive director of the Commission for Financial Literacy and Retirement Income.
The Reserve Bank announced it would keep the cash rate steady at the record low of 2.5 per cent, where it has sat unchanged for 15 months.
But Kneebone warned that prospective homebuyers looking to the OCR for guidance would be better served by taking a good look at their own finances.
"If a couple of percentage points are what's encouraging you to take the plunge into the property ownership pool, it's probably a good idea to run your numbers a little more carefully," he said.
Many experts recommended mortgage payments should be no more than 30 to 40 per cent of income.
Interest rates could fluctuate in the future, and people needed to make sure they could still pay the mortgage if their situation changed.
"You need to do your own sums and work out what works for you," Kneebone said.
"Think about the level of debt you want to take on, not just how much money the bank will lend you.''
A recent home loan affordability report by Roost had reinforced the importance of making decisions based on individual circumstances, said Kneebone.
The report found affordability for young working couples was close to the most accessible level in almost eight years, with the exception of central Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.
"What is a great move for someone living in Whanganui where home ownership is more affordable might be a much more risky move for someone living in Auckland," said Kneebone.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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