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Australians squirrel away billions in the bank

Australians squirrelled away $4.69 billion in April, as households continued to deal with the rising cost of living.

The latest Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA), monthly banking statistics show the total amount saved in the bank from households is now $1.474 trillion – a new record.

This means household deposits have risen more than $200 billion since the start of interest rate hikes (April 2022 vs April 2024). Research Director, Sally Tindall, said households are focusing on saving money.

“Money in the bank hit yet another record high in the month of April, despite the fact the full force of the RBA’s 13 rate hikes is now weighing down on those with a mortgage, alongside every other cost-of-living pressure,” Ms Tindall said.

“Since the start of the hikes in May 2022, the total value of household deposits has taken just one backwards step, recorded in June 2023.

“Every other month it has climbed in stark defiance to the rate hikes.

“While the growth in deposits in April was around half of what it was in March, and the smallest increase in almost a year, a $4.69 billion increase for the month is still reasonably impressive.”

Ms Tindall said the data only told part of the story. 

“While many Australians are fixated on stashing every spare dollar they can, plenty of households have been forced to eat into their savings because their monthly budget no longer stacks up,” she said.

At the same time, the total value of housing loans to households – which includes both owner-occupied and investor loans – increased $9.38 billion in April, or 0.4 per cent, with all four big banks recording growth in their loan books.

Westpac posted the biggest growth of the big four banks, with a monthly increase of $3 billion, which translates into a 0.6 per cent increase in its loan book.

Macquarie also surged ahead this month, with a $1.15 billion rise in the total value of its home loan book (1 per cent).

“Australia’s home loan balance sheet surged ahead in the month of April, rising by $9.38 billion in just one month,” Ms Tindall said.

“Westpac posted the largest rise out of the big banks in April, with an impressive $3 billion increase in the value of housing loans on its books.”

She said the competitive pricing and the offering of cashback via subsidiaries St George and BankSA were likely to have played a leading role in this growth.

“It will be interesting to see what impact the bank’s withdrawal from the cashback game will have on its home loan book once St George, BankSA and RAMS wrap up these incentives on 30 June,” Ms Tindall said.

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Rowan Crosby

Rowan Crosby is a senior journalist at Elite Agent specialising in finance and real estate.