‘Illogical and idiotic’ Meriton’s Harry Triguboff calls for interest rates to drop to pandemic lows

Sep 7, 2022

Billionaire property developer Harry Triguboff has slammed recent moves to raise interest rates, revealing it won’t have the impact the Reserve Bank intends.

By Sam Murden, The Daily Telegraph

In a speech at a luncheon hosted by the Australia-Israeli Chamber of Commerce in NSW, the 89-year old billionaire and real estate developer spoke about a broad range of issues impacting the housing market and his experience in building high rises.

On Tuesday, mortgage holders were stung with the fifth consecutive monthly increase in interest rates to 2.35 per cent – a stark contrast to April’s low 0.1 per cent figure.

Harry Triguboff in his office at Meriton. Picture: John Appleyard

When asked whether he was optimistic or pessimistic about the state of the market, given recent interest rate rises to their highest levels since 2015, Mr Triguboff said it was a mistake for the Reserve Bank to raise interest rates in the first place.

“Raising those interest rates is a complete idiotic thing. We are following the Americans, I don’t know how clever they are … What’s happening is there is not enough workers,” Mr Triguboff said.

“As soon as we raise interest rates, they (the workers) shop around and get more money. We have to pay them a higher wage because there’s no one else to do the job.”

The Yeshiva centre and Our Big Kitchen Annual Gala dinner celebrating the 86th Birthday of Harry Triguboff. Picture: John Appleyard

“If we bring new people like migrants and overseas workers, it’ll be okay. But until then, you can raise interest rates as much as you like – unless you are completely prepared to stop the country, it will not help.”

Speaking at the residential property lunch in front of 400 people, Mr Triguboff said that the reduction in oil prices, timber prices, iron ore will help deal with rising inflation.

America’s inflation rate has just hit 9.1 per cent – the largest rate hike increase since 1981.

The Meriton Managing Director slammed recent interest rate rises as ‘idiotic’ (AAP IMAGE/ Tim Pascoe)

When asked where he thought interest rates would end up, Mr Triguboff said he wasn’t sure – he said the move to increase rates in the first place was illogical and should never have gone up.

“People who buy Meriton apartments are definitely more nervous now than they were in the past. But we have to understand that the (house) prices have not risen for a few years, the wages have increased.”

“Interest rates have to be dropped because of Covid. That was the cleverest thing we ever did, I was really very worried because 80 per cent of my buyers were from China.”

“Everything has to be done in proportion – if we don’t want to ruin the country, interest rates can’t continue to rise.”