Wealthiest Kiwis experience fastest inflation as loan rates jump

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AUCKLAND – The wealthiest New Zealanders are facing the highest rates of inflation once mortgage interest payments are included, according to government data.

Prices faced by the highest spending households jumped 8.8 per cent in the year through September, Statistics New Zealand said on Wednesday in Wellington. By comparison, the lowest spending households experienced inflation of 6.5 per cent.

The quarterly Household Living-costs Price Indexes (HLPI) were developed as an alternative to the Consumers Price Index, and include items such as mortgage payments to better reflect the actual level of inflation being faced by different demographic groups. 

Statistics New Zealand uses spending patterns to define the wealthiest households.

The CPI rose 7.2 per cent in the third quarter from a year earlier. By comparison the HLPI across all households rose 7.7 per cent – the highest since the series began in 2008.

The wealthiest New Zealanders are more likely to own property, and therefore have felt the impact as home loan interest rates have surged the past year. The statistics agency said interest payments for the average household increased by 39 per cent in the year through September.

The wealthiest had faced less inflation than other groups amid a phase of record-low interest rates and quantitative easing aimed at helping the economy recover from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Home loan interest rates began rising in mid-2021 as global inflation pressures emerged and the Reserve Bank began withdrawing monetary stimulus. The central bank has increased the Official Cash Rate by 3.25 percentage points in the past year and economists expect a further increases in the months ahead. BLOOMBERG

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