A SURPRISE dip in home loan approvals highlights how the interest rate cuts by the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) have proven to be too little and too late to lift the Australian home finance market, according to mortgage broker network 1300HomeLoan.
1300HomeLoan managing director John Kolenda said the ABS housing finance figures for November, 2012, fell 0.5 per cent despite market expectations of a 0.5% rise.
He said the disappointing result came after the RBA kept its cash rate on hold in November before deciding to reduce it 25 basis points to 3% in December.
"The RBA has been messing around with the cash rate for the past few years and for most of that time they have got it wrong," he said.
"I believe the official rate is still half a percentage point above what it should be.
"What was needed during 2012 was bold action by the RBA but what they delivered was too little, too late.
"It will be no surprise to see the RBA board lower rates again when they meet next month and we have some commentators predicting rates could go as low as 2% this year.
"I still think more rate cuts from the RBA will help keep the market active although there are other factors which are also influencing consumers."
Mr Kolenda said the domestic economy has been subdued by lack of confidence and cost of living considerations such as rapidly rising utilities prices, food prices and even insurance.
"Consumers have been battered with gloomy economic news for a few years and they weren't helped by the RBA raising interest rates seven times during 2009/10 after taking the cash rate down to 3% in response to the global financial crisis," he said.
"With continuing concerns over the global economy conditions, the threat of a mining slow down, retailers hurting, no property price growth and with unemployment expected to rise the outlook is poor."