As Australia awaits the verdict of a billion-dollar Federal Court action taken against a major bank, both homebuyers and sellers could be waiting for news that could impact their wallets.
The court case, taken out by the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) against Westpac, will decide the amount of interest rate penalties the bank must pay for misusing its infamous home loan “rate-rigging” scheme, which left tens of thousands of customers out of pocket.
The verdict, set to come down this week, will not only impact Westpac’s bottom line but could also impact the wallets of both homebuyers and sellers, as the possible penalties could lead to rate hikes and lower borrowing capacity for customers.
For sellers, there could be a ripple effect of lower selling prices as lenders are potentially forced to offer much lower interest rates due to the penalties. Meanwhile, buyers could be forced to look at other financing sources as lenders may not be able to offer as attractive rates.
Overall, the verdict could also have an impact on the property market by creating a climate of uncertainty, thus potentially slowing down home purchases and sales.
The ACCC has argued that if Westpac is found to be guilty of the charges, it could result in potential remedial measures such as repayment of interest rate premiums, and/or reductions in interest rates that have been incorrectly charged. Regardless of the verdict, it is clear that Westpac could be in for a major shake up this week, which could have both short and long-term impacts throughout the economy.