Have higher mortgage interest rates adversely affected the personal lives of Australians?
About the study
MNY surveyed 1000 Australians that are paying off a mortgage or a living with a person who holds a mortgage to find out whether interest rate hikes in 2022 and 2023 have negatively impacted their personal lives. Respondents could select any of the below responses that apply to them or the mortgage holder in their household:
MNY also explored whether respondents would trust any RBA forecasts on interest rates and inflation based on its incorrect inflation forecast in 2022 – even with a new Governor.
The survey respondents cover a geographical and population spread that is reflective of the Australian population.
Have interest rate rises negatively impacted the personal lives of Australian mortgage holders?
Interest rates have risen a dozen times since May last year – a record increase – with the cash rate currently sitting above 4 per cent and mortgage rates averaging above 6 per cent. This has increased mortgage repayments by more than $1500 per month on a $500,000 loan. MNY sought to identify the personal impacts of these rises on home loan borrowers.
The MNY survey found that interest rate rises have negatively impacted the personal lives and wellbeing of 75 per cent of Australians. Specifically, 49 per cent of respondents have experienced heightened stress or anxiety.
This is followed by:
Have you – or the mortgage holder in your household – been negatively impacted in any of the following ways because of higher loan repayments and, as a result, lower disposable income?
When MNY analysed only the respondents who were negatively impacted, it calculated that:
Across the age groups, a whopping 83 per cent of 18–34-year-olds admitted that they were negatively impacted personally by rate rises and higher cost of living. Heightened stress and anxiety levels have affected almost half (49%) of this age group, followed by mental health strain or decline (34%), poorer diet (29%), sleeplessness (24%), poorer physical health (21%), weight gain (18%) and declined performance at work (11%).
MNY found 78 per cent of respondents aged 35-54 have been impacted by rising interest rates, with over half (54%) of this age group reporting heightened stress and anxiety levels.
This is followed by:
Older respondents are the least likely to have their personal lives impacted by higher loan repayments, with 67 per cent of over-55s respondents stating so. However, of those impacted, 63 per cent still reported increased levels of stress or anxiety and 40 per cent have experienced sleeplessness.
MNY found that West Australian respondents have been most affected by increasing rates, with 78 per cent noting a negative change in their personal lives.
This is followed by:
Respondents in Western Australia are also more likely to experience poorer physical health than any other state, at 25 per cent.
This compares with only:
Across all the states, heightened stress and anxiety have been experienced the most, with 56 per cent of West Australians and 53 per cent of NSW respondents admitting so. This is followed by South Australians (49%), Queenslanders (47%), and Victorians (42%).
Self-Reported Impact of Rising Interest Rates by State
|Worse relationship with my/their family||10%||5%||5%||4%||7%|
|Worse relationship with my/their partner||13%||8%||13%||9%||9%|
|Poorer physical health||18%||13%||14%||14%||25%|
|Heightened stress or anxiety||53%||42%||47%||49%||56%|
|Mental health strain or decline||29%||25%||29%||27%||33%|
|Performance at work has declined||12%||7%||8%||6%||9%|
|Impacted but in a way not listed above||10%||10%||6%||13%||10%|
Will more Australians start trusting the RBA forecasts around interest rates and inflation after a change in Governor?
There was a public backlash against the previous RBA Governor, Philip Lowe, who promised in 2021 that the RBA will not increase interest rates until 2024. MNY found that 75 per cent of Australian homeowners would not trust the RBA again on forecasts around interest rates and inflation despite its newly appointed governor.
Over-55s respondents are least likely to trust the RBA again on forecasts around interest rates and inflation, with only 21 per cent saying ‘yes’. This is closely followed by Australians aged 35-54, at 22 per cent. Respondents aged 18-34 years old are most likely to trust RBA forecasts again with 39 per cent saying so.
A similar consensus was shared across the five major Australian states. Mortgagors in Western Australia would be the most likely to trust future forecasts by the RBA (27%), followed by 26 per cent of respondents in NSW. Australians in Victoria, Queensland and South Australia are all equally likely to trust any future forecasts with only 24 per cent saying so.
Interest rates are an important but imperfect metric for the state of the national economy and the general atmosphere of Australian finances. With this study, MNY has sought to shed light on this economic issue from the perspective of families and individuals dealing with the impacts of RBA interest rates. Our research team has assessed several key metrics, including interest rates for home and car loans, that serve as bellwethers for personal prosperity across the country. Having seen our conclusions, consumers can make important takeaways about how common their own experiences have been among others in their area and age demographic. Additionally, regulators and legislators can better comprehend the effects of interest rate hikes and drops on the national mood of Australians.