How to ease financial pressure through debt consolidation

Here’s a quick experiment.

Go pick up three balls and try to juggle them. Most people, besides those who ran away to join a circus, will likely drop at least one of them within a few tosses.

Now put two of the balls aside and throw the remaining ball up and down (with one or both hands).

Much easier to manage, right?

Well, it’s not too dissimilar to the concept of debt consolidation.

If you have more than one loan – be that a credit card, car loan and/or a personal loan – you can help reduce the stress of juggling multiple debts, payment dates and interest rates by rolling them into one easy-to-manage loan.

 

There are other benefits, too

One common debt consolidation method is to take out a new personal loan and use the funds to pay off your other existing debts.

Now, if the interest rate on the new personal loan is lower than the rate on your existing debts (for example, a credit card with a 17.99% interest rate) this can help you pay less interest each month – not to mention avoid the nasty late payment fees that come with those kinds of cards.

And by rolling all your debts into one, you can get a clearer timeline of when you can be debt-free.

Debt consolidation can also make it easier for you to manage your household budget, as you only need to factor in repayments for one debt per month instead of many.

 

Refinancing your home loan for debt consolidation

Another method people use for debt consolidation is rolling it into a refinanced home loan because mortgages offer comparatively low-interest rates.

So if you’re really struggling with multiple debts right now – such as a car loan or a number of credit cards – consolidating your debts into your home loan will, in most cases, reduce your overall monthly repayments.

However, here’s a big word of warning.

While this option can reduce your monthly repayments now, debt consolidation through your mortgage can turn a short-term debt (like a personal loan) into much longer-term debt.

As such, unless you aim to make a lot of extra repayments as soon as possible, you could end up paying significantly more interest than you would have otherwise.

One way to address this issue is to create a loan split for the debt consolidation, giving you the ability to pay off all the short term debts within a few years, rather than, for example, over a 25-year home loan period.

So if you’re in need of breathing space now, debt consolidation is an option to consider – especially with mortgage rates so low at present due to the RBA’s official cash rate being at record low levels.

 

Get in touch today

If you’d like to explore your debt consolidation or refinancing options, then get in touch with us today and we can help you look at ways to take some financial pressure off your shoulders.

It’s also worth noting that lenders are providing mortgage holders impacted by COVID with a range of hardship support measures, including loan deferrals on a month-by-month basis.

Whatever your circumstances, we’re here to support you however we can through these times.

 

Disclaimer: The content of this article is general in nature and is presented for informative purposes. It is not intended to constitute tax or financial advice, whether general or personal nor is it intended to imply any recommendation or opinion about a financial product. It does not take into consideration your personal situation and may not be relevant to circumstances. Before taking any action, consider your own particular circumstances and seek professional advice. This content is protected by copyright laws and various other intellectual property laws. It is not to be modified, reproduced or republished without prior written consent.

COVID hardship and grant options that could help you

Setting all politics aside, it’s safe to say no one wants to be here. Yet here we are – this time with no JobKeeper or the original JobSeeker payment to help keep us afloat.

So what grants, schemes and hardship arrangements are available to small businesses and individuals this time around?

Let’s run through this year’s COVID support options below.

 

Loan deferrals on home and business loans

Impacted small businesses with loans in good standing are being supported by lenders with repayment deferrals of up to three months.

For home loan holders, lenders are also providing a range of support measures, including loan deferrals on a month-by-month basis.

Since July 8, more than 14,500 home loans have been deferred, while more than 600 business loans have been deferred.

“Support is available to all small businesses and home loan customers significantly impacted by current lockdowns or recovering from recent lockdowns, irrespective of geography or industry,” says Anna Bligh, CEO of the Australian Banking Association.

 

Business grants and payments

As you’ll see below, each state and territory has their own grants and schemes available for businesses and individuals.

As the situation is constantly evolving, it’s worth double-checking to see if your business is eligible for any other grants or payments not listed below.

NSW: If you’re a business, sole trader or not-for-profit organisation in NSW and you’ve been impacted by the recent COVID-19 restrictions, you may be eligible for a one-off grant of $7,500, $10,500 or $15,000. Apply here by September 13.

Victoria: There are several grants in Victoria for employing and non-employing businesses. The Small Business COVID Hardship Fund provides $10,000 grants for eligible SMEs that have experienced a reduction in turnover of at least 70%. Apply here by September 10. The Business Costs Assistance Program Round Two offers grants of $4800 to eligible businesses in specific industriesApply here by August 20.

Queensland: Lockdown-impacted businesses in Queensland can apply to receive a grant ranging from $10,000 to $30,000, depending on the size of their annual payroll. Grants of $1,000 are also available for non-employing sole traders. Apply here by November 16.

Western Australia: The Small Business Lockdown Assistance Grant: Round Two provides $3000 cash flow support to small businesses in industry sectors most impacted by the recent circuit-breaker four-day lockdown and interim restrictions. Apply here by August 31.

South Australia: Small and medium-sized businesses forced to close as a result of the state’s lockdown (beginning 20 July 2021) may be eligible for a $3,000 emergency cash grant. Sole traders may be eligible for $1000. Apply here by October 17.

ACT: COVID-19 Business Support Grants will provide up to $10,000 for employing businesses and up to $4,000 for non-employing businesses that experienced a turnover decline of 30% or more as a result of the COVID-19 lockdown health restrictions. Find out more here.

 

For individuals

The federal government’s COVID-19 Disaster Payment is a lump sum payment to help workers unable to earn income due to a COVID-19 state public health order.

This may involve a lockdown, hotspot or movement restrictions. How much you can get depends on your location and circumstances. It’s available to eligible ACT, NSW, QLD, SA and Victoria residents.

 

Tenant and landlord support

NSW landlords who reduce rents for tenants hard-hit by the pandemic will be able to access up to $3,000 per tenancy agreement.

For landlords to be eligible, their tenant’s take-home weekly income must have fallen by 25% or more. The tenant also needs to continue to pay at least 25% of the rent payable.

Meanwhile, the Victorian Government has made it a requirement for commercial landlords to provide rent relief that matches their tenants’ fall in turnover in response to coronavirus, where the tenant is eligible for commercial tenancy relief support.

 

Get in touch today

Last but not least, it’s worth noting that there are refinance or restructure options you can explore in order to reduce your business or home loan repayments each month (without hitting the pause button). These include:

– asking for a better rate or moving to a lender that can provide one;
– extending the length of your loan;
– switching to interest-only payments for a period of time; and
– consolidating debt.

So if your business or household is one of the many doing it tough again, please get in touch today – we’re ready to assist you through 2021 and beyond, in any way we can.

 

Disclaimer: The content of this article is general in nature and is presented for informative purposes. It is not intended to constitute tax or financial advice, whether general or personal nor is it intended to imply any recommendation or opinion about a financial product. It does not take into consideration your personal situation and may not be relevant to circumstances. Before taking any action, consider your own particular circumstances and seek professional advice. This content is protected by copyright laws and various other intellectual property laws. It is not to be modified, reproduced or republished without prior written consent.

House price growth hits 17-year high, but is it slowing down?

It’s no secret that house prices have reached record-breaking highs this past year.

In fact, home values grew by 16.1% over the past 12 months – the fastest pace of growth since 2004, according to CoreLogic’s latest Hedonic Home Value Index.

To put that into a little context, the rate of growth over the past year has been so steep that houses in some cities are out-earning some of Australia’s top-paid professionals, including surgeons, anaesthetists and CEOs.

But there are signs that the growth rate is starting to taper.

 

Signs of a slow down

Australian housing values increased 1.6% in July, a result CoreLogic’s research director Tim Lawless describes as “strong, but losing steam”.

“The monthly growth rate has been trending lower since March this year when the national index rose 2.8%,” Mr Lawless explains.

And in a further sign of a property market slowdown, the value of new housing loan commitments fell 1.6% in June, the first fall in monthly lending figures this year, according to the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics data.

 

So what’s slowing things down?

With dwelling values rising more in a month than incomes are rising in a year, housing is simply moving out of reach for members of the community, Mr Lawless explains.

Additionally, much of the federal government’s earlier COVID-19 related fiscal support, including JobKeeper and HomeBuilder, have now expired.

“It is likely recent COVID outbreaks and associated lockdowns have contributed to some of the loss of momentum as well, particularly from a transactional perspective in Sydney which is enduring an extended period of restrictions,” CoreLogic’s latest Hedonic Home Value Index report adds.

That said, it should be noted that housing values are continuing to rise substantially faster than average.

Over the past 10 years, the average pace of monthly dwelling value appreciation has been just 0.4%, says CoreLogic.

 

So what’s ahead?

It’s likely the rate of growth will continue to taper through the second half of 2021 as affordability constraints become more pressing and housing supply gradually lifts, says CoreLogic.

“Other potential headwinds are apparent, including the possibility of tighter credit policies,” adds the CoreLogic report.

On the flip side, demand remains strong and is being aided by record-low mortgage rates and the prospect that interest rates will remain low for an extended period of time.

“A lift in the cash rate is likely to be at least 18 months away,” CoreLogic adds.

“The recent spate of lockdowns is likely to see Australia’s economy once again contract through the September quarter, a factor that is likely to keep rates on hold for a while longer.”

 

Get in touch

With house prices having just experienced their fastest pace of growth since 2004, it’s as important as ever to purchase your new home with a finance option that’s right for you.

So if you’re a keen homebuyer who wants to explore what options are available to you – including your borrowing capacity – get in touch today. We’d love to run through it with you.

 

Disclaimer: The content of this article is general in nature and is presented for informative purposes. It is not intended to constitute tax or financial advice, whether general or personal nor is it intended to imply any recommendation or opinion about a financial product. It does not take into consideration your personal situation and may not be relevant to circumstances. Before taking any action, consider your own particular circumstances and seek professional advice. This content is protected by copyright laws and various other intellectual property laws. It is not to be modified, reproduced or republished without prior written consent.

Buy Now Pay Later users put on notice by credit agency

BNPL transactions have risen rapidly over the past few years – so much so that they caught financial regulators and credit reporting agencies a little flat-footed.

But Equifax, one of the three main credit reporting agencies in Australia, looks to have caught up.

In a recent email to brokers and lenders, Equifax states that BNPL accounts and transactions will be included in credit reports from 24 July 2021.

“Expect to see two new BNPL account types available for accounts, enquiries and defaults,” the Equifax email reads.

 

So what does this mean for your credit score?

Don’t stress, time is on your side!

That’s because it’s still early days and Equifax wants to measure how much BNPL data could affect overall credit scores.

“The new BNPL Comprehensive Credit Reporting (CCR) account types will be quarantined from scores in the short term to prevent any unintended and inappropriate impact on scores. As data builds up over time, we will reassess,” Equifax explains in a FAQ here.

But, Equifax adds, BNPL accounts and transactions will be included in CCR scores as soon as they believe it is sensible to do so.

“We are moving cautiously as we have never seen these types of accounts before, so it is not possible to evaluate and reflect the relationship between [BNPL accounts and transactions] and risk accurately,” they add.

“Equifax will monitor the risk of these accounts as the data accumulates over time.”

 

But that doesn’t mean lenders won’t be paying attention

It’s worth reiterating that lenders will now still be able to see BNPL transactions and accounts in your Equifax credit report, and according to a parliamentary joint committee this week, they’re already paying very close attention.

Liberal MP and committee chair Andrew Wallace put the following to Zip Co co-founder and chief operating officer Peter Gray: “I have heard that if banks see repayments to buy now, pay later providers, the banks take a very dim view of that person’s credit assessment.”

Mr Gray responded by saying banks would “absolutely” see BNPL providers in a negative light, before later stating: “I can confirm to the committee that the number one reason for [people] closing their [Zip] account is because their bank has told them they need to, to proceed with the mortgage.”

 

Get in touch today

If you’re worried about what a BNPL account – or multiple accounts – could mean for an upcoming finance application, get in touch with us today.

We’ll be able to run through it with you and give you some pointers on what you can do to get things sorted before applying for finance.

 

Disclaimer: The content of this article is general in nature and is presented for informative purposes. It is not intended to constitute tax or financial advice, whether general or personal nor is it intended to imply any recommendation or opinion about a financial product. It does not take into consideration your personal situation and may not be relevant to circumstances. Before taking any action, consider your own particular circumstances and seek professional advice. This content is protected by copyright laws and various other intellectual property laws. It is not to be modified, reproduced or republished without prior written consent.

Green thumbs beware: one-third of veggie gardens contaminated with lead

Gardening is a bit like your journey into property ownership.

You spot a patch you like, start with modest seedlings/savings, and then with a little hard work, watch it grow into a yielding crop/asset.

A pre-COVID study shows that more than half of Australian households grow some of their own food – including fruit, vegetables and herbs – either at home or in a community garden.

And that figure is likely to have increased since lockdowns inspired many of us to get our hands dirty in the backyard.

 

But there’s just one problem you may have overlooked

You know those healthy vegetables you’re growing for your friends and your family to enjoy?

Well, it turns out that in more than 35% of yards, the soil those veggies are grown in is contaminated with concerning levels of lead (more than 300 mg/kg), according to a new study based on Macquarie University’s ongoing VegeSafe program.

The study found that homes that were aged, painted, situated near traffic-congested areas or located in the inner-city had the highest soil lead concentrations.

 

How to get your soil (and household dust levels) tested

The good news is that there’s a free and easy way to get your home’s soil tested.

Simply head over to the VegeSafe website to find out more, or get straight into participating in the soil analysis study here.

Participants receive a formal report with their soil results and are provided with information and advice about what to do in the event that they have soils containing elevated concentrations of metals and metalloids.

The program does ask for a modest $20 donation from participants and, while it’s not mandatory, it is appreciated and helps support the program.

It’s also worth mentioning that the same group also run a similar DustSafe program, which aims to inform residents of potentially harmful metals and other contaminants in and around their home.

 

Got a patch of land you have your eye on?

So, that’s how you can safely navigate a veggie patch.

If you’re looking for some sage guidance (see what we did there?) in terms of financing the purchase of that particular patch of land, get in touch and lettuce help you out today (sorry not sorry!).

 

Disclaimer: The content of this article is general in nature and is presented for informative purposes. It is not intended to constitute tax or financial advice, whether general or personal nor is it intended to imply any recommendation or opinion about a financial product. It does not take into consideration your personal situation and may not be relevant to circumstances. Before taking any action, consider your own particular circumstances and seek professional advice. This content is protected by copyright laws and various other intellectual property laws. It is not to be modified, reproduced or republished without prior written consent.

How much extra will your mortgage cost when interest rates rise?

They say what goes up, must come down.

But does what goes down, have to come up? Well, the big banks think so – and sooner than many expect.

While the RBA held the official cash rate at 0.10% this month – and reaffirmed its position that it does not expect to lift the cash rate until 2024 – there is growing speculation the next cash rate hike could come as early as late 2022.

In June, Commonwealth Bank and Westpac predicted a rate hike around late 2022 to early 2023. In fact, they expect the official cash rate to hit 1.25% in the third quarter of 2023 and 2024, respectively.

Meanwhile, NAB this week hiked its 2-,3- and 4-year fixed rates by up to 0.10% for owner-occupiers paying principal and interest.

Banks can increase fixed rates as a way of heading off potential RBA rate hikes. Generally, the shorter the term of the fixed-rate that’s increased (ie. if 2-year fixed rates are increased), the sooner a bank may believe the next rate hike will be.

So if the big banks’ economists are onto something here, how much extra money should you be factoring into your monthly mortgage repayments if the official cash rate rises to 1.25% by 2023/24?

 

How much extra the average mortgage holder could expect to pay

The first thing to note is that the last time the RBA’s cash rate target was at 1.25% was June 2019 – so not that long ago (but boy, was it a different world back then!).

Modelling from Canstar, published on Domain, shows the average variable mortgage rate would lift from 3.21% to 4.36%, based on the current margin between the two rates.

Now, if you took out a $500,000 loan tomorrow, and the cash rate hit 1.25% in 2024, that modelling estimates your monthly repayments would increase $300 to $2464 per month.

ABC News modelling covers a similar scenario, with repayments up $324 per month.

That’s despite reducing your remaining loan balance to $468,770 after three years of repayments, and assuming the banks only add on the cash rate increase – and not any extra.

And then there’s of course the possibility that further RBA cash rate increases could soon follow.

If, for example, the average variable loan rate increased to 7.04% in 2031, where it was just a decade ago in 2011, Canstar estimates that same borrower who took out a $500,000 loan would pay $900 more in monthly repayments than they do now – even after a full decade’s worth of repayments.

 

We can run you through your options

It’s hard to imagine that interest rates could rise from the comfort of the current record low cash rate.

In fact, you have to go back as far as November 2010 to when the RBA last increased the cash rate (to 4.75%). We’ve had a run of 18 straight cuts since then.

But the big banks’ economists aren’t basing their modelling, predictions and fixed-term rate increases on nothing – and it pays to pay attention.

So if you’re worried about what rate increases could mean for your household budget in the coming years, get in touch with us today and we can run you through a number of options.

That might include fixing your interest rate for two, three, four or five years, or just fixing part of your mortgage (but not all of it).

Every household is different – it’s our job to help you find the right mortgage option for you!

 

Disclaimer: The content of this article is general in nature and is presented for informative purposes. It is not intended to constitute tax or financial advice, whether general or personal nor is it intended to imply any recommendation or opinion about a financial product. It does not take into consideration your personal situation and may not be relevant to circumstances. Before taking any action, consider your own particular circumstances and seek professional advice. This content is protected by copyright laws and various other intellectual property laws. It is not to be modified, reproduced or republished without prior written consent.

It’s on! First home loan deposit schemes open for applications

 

And if you’re a single parent with dependent children, a similar scheme now allows you to purchase a home with just a 2% deposit without paying LMI, regardless of whether or not you’re a first home buyer.

In total, there are three federal government schemes that each released a fresh round of 10,000 spots on July 1.

Below we’ll unpack each of the schemes.

 

The First Home Loan Deposit Scheme (first home buyers)

The First Home Loan Deposit Scheme (FHLDS) allows eligible first home buyers with only a 5% deposit to purchase a property without forking out for LMI.

This is because the federal government guarantees (to a participating lender) up to 15% of the value of the property purchased.

Not paying LMI can save buyers anywhere between $4,000 and $35,000, depending on the property price and deposit amount.

As with the other two schemes below, there are just 10,000 spots available for this scheme this financial year – and in previous years they’ve been allocated within a few months. So you’ve got to get in quick!

 

The New Home Guarantee scheme (first home buyers)

The New Home Guarantee scheme allows eligible first home buyers to build or purchase a new build with a 5% deposit.

All in all, it’s a fairly similar scheme to the FHLDS.

One of the key differences, however, is that the property price caps are higher (see here), to account for the extra expenses associated with building a new home.

 

The Family Home Guarantee scheme (single parents)

The new Family Home Guarantee allows eligible single parents with dependants to build or purchase a home with a deposit of just 2% without paying LMI.

Unlike the two schemes above, you don’t have to be a first home buyer to qualify for this scheme.

Here’s a quick example of how it works.

John is a single parent with two young sons, Chris and David. John has found the perfect home for $460,000 but has struggled to save enough for the standard $92,000 deposit (20%) required while paying rent.

However, with the Family Home Guarantee, and on the success of his application with a lender, John could move into his dream home sooner, with just a $9,200 deposit (2%).

 

Get in touch today

With the three no-LMI schemes now open, we can’t stress enough the importance of applying for them as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.

In recent years the 10,000 spots in the FHLDS have been snatched up within a few months, and we’ve had more than a few hopeful applicants reach out to us when it’s too late.

So to help avoid disappointment, get in touch with us today and we can help you determine which scheme is most suitable for you, and then help you apply for finance with a participating lender.

 

Disclaimer: The content of this article is general in nature and is presented for informative purposes. It is not intended to constitute tax or financial advice, whether general or personal nor is it intended to imply any recommendation or opinion about a financial product. It does not take into consideration your personal situation and may not be relevant to circumstances. Before taking any action, consider your own particular circumstances and seek professional advice. This content is protected by copyright laws and various other intellectual property laws. It is not to be modified, reproduced or republished without prior written consent.

Property price caps increased for first home loan deposit scheme

Single parents with dependent children are also welcoming the higher property price caps, which will apply to the federal government’s new Family Home Guarantee scheme, too.

The First Home Loan Deposit Scheme (FHLDS) allows eligible first home buyers with only a 5% deposit to purchase a property without forking out for lender’s mortgage insurance (LMI), which can save buyers anywhere between $4,000 and $35,000, depending on the property price and deposit amount.

The new Family Home Guarantee scheme, meanwhile, allows eligible single parents to build or purchase a home with a deposit of just 2% without paying LMI, regardless of whether or not they are a first home buyer.

These schemes will run alongside a third home loan deposit scheme called the New Home Guarantee scheme, which allows eligible first home buyers to build or purchase a new build with a 5% deposit.

That scheme has even higher property price caps (see here), to account for the extra expenses associated with building a new home.

All three schemes have 10,000 spots available each from July 1, and spots are expected to fill up fast, so you’ll want to get in touch with us soon if you’re interested in applying.

New property price caps

So how much money can you spend and remain eligible for the FHLDS and Family Home Guarantee scheme?

Here’s a quick summary:

– NSW: $800,000 (Sydney, Newcastle/Lake Macquarie, Illawarra) and $600,000 (rest of state).

– VIC: $700,000 (Melbourne and Geelong) and $500,000 (rest of state).

– QLD: $600,000 (Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast) and $450,000 (rest of state).

– WA: $500,000 (Perth) and $400,000 (rest of state).

– SA: $500,000 (Adelaide) and $350,000 (rest of state).

– TAS: $500,000 (Hobart) and $400,000 (rest of state).

– ACT: $500,000.

– NT: $500,000.

If you’re interested in knowing how much the property price caps have increased, you can check it out here.

 

Get in touch today to get the ball rolling

With all three schemes, allocations are generally granted on a “first come, first served” basis.

And it’s worth re-iterating that spots are limited and generally fill up fast.

So if you’re a first home buyer or single parent looking to crack into the property market sooner rather than later, get in touch today and we can explain the schemes to you in more detail.

And when July 1 rolls around, we can help you apply for finance through a participating lender.

 

Disclaimer: The content of this article is general in nature and is presented for informative purposes. It is not intended to constitute tax or financial advice, whether general or personal nor is it intended to imply any recommendation or opinion about a financial product. It does not take into consideration your personal situation and may not be relevant to circumstances. Before taking any action, consider your own particular circumstances and seek professional advice. This content is protected by copyright laws and various other intellectual property laws. It is not to be modified, reproduced or republished without prior written consent.

4 in 5 hopeful buyers don’t understand key financial concepts

They say knowledge is power.

But this week we stumbled across some interesting stats from UBank’s Know Your Numbers survey.

It found that 84% of Australians who are yet to buy a property admit they don’t know enough about how home loans, mortgage rates and deposits work, while 3 in 10 admitted to knowing nothing at all and having no idea where to start.

But if you start by jumping at the first seemingly attractive rate you see advertised, well, that can lead to big problems down the track.

“Entering the property market with little to no knowledge of some essential financial terms and concepts could see Australians falling into common traps or getting themselves into situations they cannot manage,” explains UBank CEO, Philippa Watson.

 

How we help demystify finance for you

Now, the purpose of this article isn’t to shame anyone who hasn’t already done their homework. Far from it.

Rather, we want to reassure you that when you come to us for a finance solution, we’ll be sure to explain any financial terms or products you don’t fully have your head around yet.

And that’s one of the key differences between us and the big banks.

We’re not just satisfied with matching you up with a home loan, we want you to be confident that it’s the right one for you, and for you to understand the reasons why.

 

Some of the most common financial terms we explain to our clients

There’s no denying the world of finance is full of jargon and seemingly complicated language.

To help get you started, below are some of the most common financial terms people ask us about.

Loan to Value Ratio (LVR): LVR is the percentage of the property’s value (as assessed by the lender) that your loan equates to.

For example, if the property you want to purchase is valued at $500,000, and you need to borrow $400,000 to pay for it, the loan is worth 80% of the property value, making your LVR 80%.

Lenders Mortgage Insurance (LMI): LMI is insurance that protects the bank or lender in case you can’t pay your residential mortgage.

It’s usually paid by borrowers who have an LVR higher than 80% – that is, borrowers with a deposit of less than 20%.

Offset account: an offset account is just like a regular transaction account, except it’s linked to your home loan. The money held in the account is counted as if it’s been paid off your home loan, which reduces the balance of the loan and in turn, reduces the interest you need to pay.

And because the offset account acts like a regular transaction account, the money you’ve put in there is still accessible whenever you need it.

Refinancing: refinancing is the process of switching your home loan to take advantage of another, more suitable home loan for your present circumstances, such as one with a lower interest rate that might save you money.

 

Got any other finance terms you’d like explained?

If you’re keen to buy your first home but find all the terminology a bit daunting, then please reach out to us today.

We’re always happy to sit down and demystify the home buying process so that when you do take the leap into ownership, you can be confident that you’re armed with all the knowledge you need.

 

Disclaimer: The content of this article is general in nature and is presented for informative purposes. It is not intended to constitute tax or financial advice, whether general or personal nor is it intended to imply any recommendation or opinion about a financial product. It does not take into consideration your personal situation and may not be relevant to circumstances. Before taking any action, consider your own particular circumstances and seek professional advice. This content is protected by copyright laws and various other intellectual property laws. It is not to be modified, reproduced or republished without prior written consent.

“Tide turning on interest rates”: CBA hikes fixed rates

Now, we’re not normally ones to write articles about the interest rate movements of particular products with particular lenders.

But we felt this one was significant given that the Commonwealth Bank (CBA) is the nation’s biggest home lender, with a market share of about 25%.

CBA has increased both its three- and four-year fixed rates for owner-occupiers paying principal and interest by 0.05%, as well as some interest-only loans by 0.10%.

“For anyone still on the fence about fixing their home loan rate, this is another example of the tide turning on interest rates,” Canstar research expert Mitch Watson says.

And we can’t say we weren’t warned.

In March, ANZ senior economist Felicity Emmett said fixed-mortgage rates had already reached their lowest point, or close to it, as lenders began lifting their four-year fixed rate products.

Furthermore, Canstar research shows 38% of lenders have increased at least one fixed rate over the past two months.

 

Why are fixed rates moving upwards if the RBA hasn’t lifted the cash rate?

The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) has repeatedly said the official cash rate isn’t likely to be increased until 2024 at the earliest.

But given that’s now within three years, the banks are beginning to adjust their three- to four-year fixed rates to head off those potential RBA rate hikes.

“The money market is already factoring in [RBA rate] rises,” explains AMP Capital chief economist Shane Oliver.

“That’s not having much of an impact on two-year rates yet. But as we go through the course of the year, the possibility of rate hikes will start to impact shorter rates as well.”

 

So what’s next?

Well, when CBA makes a move, it’s not uncommon for a number of other lenders to follow suit.

So if you’ve been umming and ahhing about fixing your rate, then it’s definitely worth getting in touch with us sooner rather than later.

We can run you through a number of different options, including fixing your interest rate for two, three, four or five years, or just fixing a part of your mortgage (but not all of it).

If you’d like to know more about this – or any of the other topics raised in this article – then get in touch today.

 

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