High income earners the biggest beneficiaries of Reserve Bank's rate cuts

High income earners the biggest beneficiaries of Reserve Bank's rate cuts

High income earners are the biggest beneficiaries of the Reserve Bank's interest rate cuts, while those of pensioner age lost nearly $30 with the last 25 basis point reduction.

New analysis from the National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling shows the RBA's recent attempt to breathe life into Australia's weak economy - with a surprise rate cut in February - made the top 20 per cent of households better off by $536 a year on average, while those in the bottom 20 per cent gained just $38 a year.



But when considering its impact on age groups - rather than income groups - the difference becomes more evident, with those aged between 25 to 64 gaining $318 a year on average and those over 65 actually losing $29.

The NATSEM analysis - published in the SAS-NATSEM Household Budget Report on Tuesday - shows RBA rate cuts are "clearly a positive" for families with mortgages but can be negative for older families who often do not have loans but do have savings accounts.

The report also shows that the cost of living grew so slowly last year - thanks to a huge fall in global oil prices and the Abbott government's scrapping of the carbon price - that it allowed Australians' standard of living to increase for the first time in two years.


The report shows lower petrol prices and lower household energy prices were key. They ensured the cost of living increased by just 1.4 per cent in the 12 months to December 31, compared to national incomes that grew almost twice as quickly, at 2.7 per cent.

"A major saving to households through 2014 was lower utilities bills," NATSEM's Ben Phillips told Fairfax Media.

"While other factors continue to push up the cost of utilities the removal of the carbon price was likely to have saved households an average of around $250 on utilities bills. On balance, households spent $75 lesson utilities bills in 2014 thanks to lower prices," he said.

Key contributors to cost of living increases were alcohol and tobacco ($288 more in 2014), food ($238), health ($187) and education ($122).

Transport (-$122), audio visual (-$79), utilities (-$75) and communication (-$70) helped to keep cost of living pressures subdued.

The report considers the standard of living for a wide range of family types since 1988, such as couples with children, renters, mortgagees, families with a business, and high and low income families.

It find that over the long term the families whose standard of living has increased the most includes: families purchasing a home; those who main source of income is a wage; families in WA, NT and the ACT; couple-only families; and the top 20 per cent of income families.

Families whose standard of living increased the least include the bottom 20 per cent of incomes, renters, families relying mostly on government, families in Tasmania, Victoria and single parents.

The report shows there have been significant differences in income growth between the states and territories, with households in the Northern Territory enjoying the greatest financial gains beyond the cost of living, ahead $4,603 on average in 2014, compared with ACT families, which fell behind by $2,517.

NSW significantly outperformed the major states in 2014 with a gain of $1,730 compared with Victorian households which only gained $227.