RBA: High unemployment is worse than high housing prices

author-avatar By
on May 07, 2021
RBA: High unemployment is worse than high housing prices

Australia's central bank has noted concerns around record-high property prices but insisted its focus is on bringing down the unemployment rate.

In a speech on Wednesday night, Reserve Bank (RBA) Deputy Governor Guy Debelle said monetary policy was not a tool that should be used to stem rising house prices

"Monetary policy is focused on supporting the economic recovery and achieving its goals in terms of employment and inflation," Dr Debelle said.

"It is important to remember that while housing prices may not rise as fast without the monetary stimulus, unemployment would definitely be materially higher without the monetary stimulus.

"Unemployment clearly has large and persistent distributional consequences."


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Lender

Variable
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UNLIMITED REDRAWSSPECIAL OFFER
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Variable
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AN EASY DIGITAL APPLICATION
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Variable
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100% FULL OFFSET ACCOUNTNO APPLICATION FEE OR ONGOING FEES
  • No upfront or ongoing fees
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100% FULL OFFSET ACCOUNTNO APPLICATION FEE OR ONGOING FEES

Low Rate Home Loan - Prime (Principal and Interest) (Owner Occupied) (LVR < 60%)

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Variable
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NSW/VIC/SA METRO & INNER REGIONAL AREAS$5000 CASHBACK. T&Cs APPLY.
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NSW/VIC/SA METRO & INNER REGIONAL AREAS$5000 CASHBACK. T&Cs APPLY.

Variable Home Loan (Principal and Interest)

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Base criteria of: a $400,000 loan amount, variable, fixed, principal and interest (P&I) home loans with an LVR (loan-to-value) ratio of at least 80%. However, the ‘Compare Home Loans’ table allows for calculations to be made on variables as selected and input by the user. All products will list the LVR with the product and rate which are clearly published on the Product Provider’s web site. Monthly repayments, once the base criteria are altered by the user, will be based on the selected products’ advertised rates and determined by the loan amount, repayment type, loan term and LVR as input by the user/you. *The Comparison rate is based on a $150,000 loan over 25 years. Warning: this comparison rate is true only for this example and may not include all fees and charges. Different terms, fees or other loan amounts might result in a different comparison rate. Rates correct as of May 25, 2022. View disclaimer.

Growth in the market slowed in April, with national dwelling values up 1.8% after a record 2.8% growth in March. 

However, values are up 6.8% in the last three months and are 10.2% higher than the low seen in September. 

Dr Debelle said government support schemes brought about by COVID, as well as monetary policy, had contributed to the house price growth. 

"Housing price rises are part of the transmission of expansionary monetary policy to the economy," he said. 

"They help encourage home building, along with government grants such as the HomeBuilder policy, which boosts activity and employment."

Labour market improves but wage growth remains stagnant

Australia's unemployment rate fell to 5.6% in March from 5.8% in February, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). 

Dr Debelle said unemployment was now only half a percentage point higher than it was before the pandemic. 

"Measures of underemployment have declined by similar magnitudes. Participation in the labour market has remarkably increased to a record high," he said. 

"These are much better labour market outcomes than have occurred in other countries." 

However, one of the RBA's main goals is to have inflation sit in a band of 2-3%. 

Inflation rose 0.6% in the March quarter to sit at an annual rate of 1.1%, well below the RBA's target. 

One of the main ways to increase inflation is to increase employment, pushing up wage growth and flooding more money into the economy. 

But even before COVID, Australia's wage growth was low, and the most recent figures show growth sitting at a historic low of 1.4%. 

Dr Debelle said the economy had significantly exceeded outcomes on many fronts but acknowledged wage growth was not one of those. 

"While the Australian economy has experienced better employment outcomes than most other countries, wages growth in Australia has been noticeably weaker than in many comparable economies, most notably the United States." 

However, he said inflation was very close to where the Bank had expected it to be. 

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Photo by Agustin Gunawan on Unsplash 

Disclaimers

The entire market was not considered in selecting the above products. Rather, a cut-down portion of the market has been considered. Some providers' products may not be available in all states. To be considered, the product and rate must be clearly published on the product provider's web site. Savings.com.au, yourmortgage.com.au, yourinvestmentpropertymag.com.au, and Performance Drive are part of the Savings Media group. In the interests of full disclosure, the Savings Media Group are associated with the Firstmac Group. To read about how Savings Media Group manages potential conflicts of interest, along with how we get paid, please visit the web site links at the bottom of this page.

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Alex joined Savings.com.au as a finance journalist in 2019. He enjoys covering in-depth economical releases and breaking down how they might affect the everyday punter. He is passionate about providing Australians with the information and tools needed to make them financially stable for their futures.

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