Four key tips for helping you make the big home loan switch

There’s no better time than now to find a better deal on your home loan and we’ve observed the sharp rise in homeowners seeking to explore refinancing options since the beginning of the global pandemic.

And there’s good reason we’re seeing more and more mortgage holders seeking a better deal. With the total number of home loan customers who switched providers jumping by 27 per cent – from 143,664 in 2019 to 182,016 in 2020.

More than 200,000 Australian families are tipped to make the switch in 2021. But making the switch isn’t foolproof and there are common mistakes people make.

Laura Higgins, Senior Executive Leader Consumer Insights and Communication at ASIC, recently shared some important tips with ABC radio, which we’ve compiled for you below as well as some additional advice for good measure.

  1. GET A BETTER DEAL WITH YOUR CURRENT LENDER

When it comes to the big banks and home loans, it’s often the case that customer loyalty goes largely unrewarded. RBA data tells us that for loans written four years ago, borrowers were charged an average of 40 basis points higher interest than new loans.

So on a loan balance of $250,000, the reality is that it could cost you an additional $1,000 in interest payments each year.

“Many times, new customers are offered a better deal than existing borrowers, so if you have a home loan that is a few years old you could potentially get a better deal that saves you thousands of dollars over time,” Ms Higgins explains.

“Even if you’re happy with your current lender, it’s worth checking you’re not paying for features or add-ons you’re not using.”

  1. LOOK BEFORE YOU LEAP

Cashback offers and super low interest rates are just two ways lenders are enticing new customers to make the switch, which means you need to do your homework first to ensure you’re truly getting the best deal.

Glittery incentives are designed to entice customers to switch mortgages quickly, but Ms Higgins urges borrowers to look closely and weigh up the long-term costs.

“For example, it’s worth doing the maths to ensure a cashback offer still puts you ahead over the long-term when considered against other aspects of the loan, like interest rates and fees. If you decide to switch lenders, you may end up with a longer-term loan,” she said.

It’s vital to check whether you’re up for any other costs such as Lenders Mortgage Insurance (LMI) or discharge and loan arrangement fees, which can sometimes outweigh the benefit of having a lower interest rate.

“A mortgage broker can also help you compare loans and decide whether to switch,” Ms Higgins adds. 

  1. OFFSET BUT DON’T FORGET

If you’ve been lucky enough to put some savings away and are now eyeing off low interest rates, perhaps it’s wise to try and pay off your mortgage sooner rather than later.

And as Ms Higgins notes, “Interest rates may be low now, but probably won’t be this low forever. Making some extra repayments now can benefit customers in the long term.”

But if you’re not quite in that position and are worried about tying up all your funds in your home loan, perhaps consider switching to a mortgage redraw facility or offset account, which can help you to make extra repayments but still withdraw them if you need to.

“Either of these options might work for you depending on your goals,” Ms Higgins adds.

“Not all home loans can be linked to an offset account, and often those that can may have a fee charged or a slightly higher interest rate, so it’s worth making sure you’d be saving enough in there to warrant any extra costs.”

  1. TO FIX OR NOT TO FIX IS NOT THE ONLY QUESTION

One of the most common big questions we field relates to whether you should consider a fixed home loan rate or not, however it’s good to know there is another option available.

The good news is that you can also choose to fix the rate for a part of your mortgage, but not all of it. Doing this allows you to lock in a low rate for a portion of your home loan, while also taking advantage of some wriggle room a variable rate can offer, including being able to make extensive additional payments.

WANT TO FIND OUT MORE?

Now really is the time to get on top of your refinancing options and see how your loans can work for you, instead of you working for them – now and well into the future.  We would love to go over home loan refinancing options with you, whether that be renegotiating with your current lender or exploring your options elsewhere.

Bar raised for borrowers: tougher home loan serviceability tests

The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) will increase the minimum interest rate buffer it expects banks to use when assessing the serviceability of home loan applications from 2.5% to 3% from the end of October.

This means that banks will have to test whether new borrowers would still be able to afford their mortgage repayments if home loan interest rates rose to be 3% above their current rate.

APRA estimates the 50 basis points increase in the buffer will reduce maximum borrowing capacity for the typical borrower by around 5%.

“The buffer provides an important contingency for rises in interest rates over the life of the loan, as well as for any unforeseen changes in a borrower’s income or expenses,” APRA Chair Wayne Byres wrote in a letter to the banks.

 

Why is APRA increasing the buffer?

This move doesn’t come out of the blue. Federal treasurer Josh Frydenberg flagged tougher lending standards a week prior following a meeting with the Council of Financial Regulators.

And it’s due to a combination of factors.

Firstly, interest rates are at record-low levels, and secondly, the cost of the typical Australian home has increased more than 18% over the past year – the fastest annual pace of growth since the late 1980s.

That combination has made financial regulators a little worried that some homebuyers are starting to stretch themselves too thin and borrow more debt than they can safely afford.

Mr Byres adds that 22% of loans approved in the June quarter were more than six times the borrowers’ annual income. That’s up from 16% a year prior.

As such, APRA did consider limiting high debt-to-income borrowing but believed it would be more operationally complex to deploy consistently.

“And it may lead to higher interest rates for some borrowers as lenders effectively seek to ration credit to this cohort,” APRA adds, but it doesn’t rule out limiting high debt-to-income borrowing in the future.

 

Which borrowers are most likely to be impacted?

The increase in the interest rate buffer will apply to all new borrowers.

However, the impact is likely to be greater for investors than owner-occupiers, according to APRA.

“This is because, on average, investors tend to borrow at higher levels of leverage and may have other existing debts (to which the buffer would also be applied),” APRA adds.

“On the other hand, first home buyers tend to be under-represented as a share of borrowers borrowing a high multiple of their income as they tend to be more constrained by the size of their deposit.”

 

What could this mean for your home loan borrowing hopes?

If you’re worried about how this latest announcement from APRA could impact your upcoming application for a home loan, then get in touch today.

We can apply APRA’s new loan serviceability tests to your personal circumstances to help you determine your borrowing capacity and focus your house hunting.

 

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.

Is a home loan lending crackdown on the horizon?

Lending standards and fast-rising property prices have been hot topics of late.

Interest rates are at record-low levels, and the typical Australian home has seen its value increase more than 18% over the past year – the fastest annual pace of growth since the late 1980s.

It’s a recipe that’s making financial regulators a touch worried that some homebuyers are starting to stretch themselves too thin and borrow more debt than they can safely afford.

So federal treasurer Josh Frydenberg recently met with the Council of Financial Regulators – which includes APRA, ASIC, the Australian Treasury and the RBA – to discuss the state of the housing market.

“We must be mindful of the balance between credit and income growth to prevent the build-up of future risks in the financial system,” Mr Frydenberg said in a statement.

“Carefully targeted and timely adjustments are sometimes necessary. There is a range of tools available to APRA to deliver this outcome.”

 

What could this possible crackdown look like?

Here’s an interesting stat for you: almost 22% of Australians have a mortgage debt that’s more than six times higher than their annual income, according to the latest data from APRA.

That’s up from 16% just one year ago.

The fact APRA mentions that particular stat gives us a pretty good clue as to what one possible lending crackdown measure could be.

“Most analysts expect that this time, APRA will target debt-to-income ratios, probably by limiting the proportion of loans that can be made above six times an applicant’s household income,” explains the ABC.

It’s also worth noting that Mr Frydenberg and APRA are not the only ones to publicly indicate that change could be on the horizon – the RBA expressed similar concerns about the increase in housing prices and housing debt just days ago, too.

“Even though the banks have strong balance sheets and lending standards are being maintained, there is a risk that in this environment, households will become increasingly indebted,” RBA assistant governor Michele Bullock wrote.

“A high level of debt could pose risks to the economy in the event of a shock to household incomes or a sharp decline in housing prices. Whether or not there is need to consider macro-prudential tools to address these risks is something we are continually assessing.”

 

Want to know how a potential lending crackdown might affect you?

It’s worth reiterating that we still have very limited information available about what financial regulators have in mind for any potential lending crackdowns.

What we can do, however, is help you assess your potential debt-to-income ratio on any property purchase you currently have in mind. And we can also help you determine your borrowing capacity in the current lending landscape.

So if you’d like to find out more, get in touch today. We’d be more than happy to run you through it all in more detail according to your personal circumstances.

 

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.

The importance of being ready for interest rate hikes

How well prepared are you for a rise in interest rates? While that may seem like an odd prospect for many of us after 18 consecutive cash rate cuts from the RBA, we always need to be prepared.

And when the big banks start showing signs, it’s time to consider what that might look like for you in a practical, month-to-month sense.

What would an interest rate rise look like for you and how much extra would a new mortgage holder expect to pay each month? 

RATE RISE PREDICTION:

While the RBA’s official position has been that it doesn’t expect to lift the lid on the cash rate until 2024, and this month held the rate at 0.10 per cent, there’s healthy speculation that the next rise in rates could arrive as early as 2022.

Westpac and the Commonwealth Bank have earmarked the period between late 2022 and early 2023 as a likely time when rates may start to spring up, with the official cash rate predicted to hit 1.25 per cent in the third quarter of 2023 and peaking in 2024.

Meanwhile, NAB increased its two, three and four-year fixed rates by up to 0.10 per cent for owner-occupiers paying principal and interest.

Banks have the ability to increase fixed rates as a method of heading off potential RBA rate hikes. In overall terms, this means that the shorter the length of term of the fixed rate that is increased, the sooner a bank is expecting the next increase in rates will be.

Generally, the shorter the term of the fixed-rate that’s increased (ie. if two-year fixed rates are raised), the sooner a bank may predict the next rate hike will be. And with economists at the big banks seeing that future in their crystal balls, how should you be planning to make the most of it and how much extra money should you be factoring into your monthly mortgage repayments if the official cash rate starts to rise?

THE HIP-POCKET IMPACT:

You’d have to cast your mind back to 2019 to find the last time that the RBA cash rate target was at 1.25 per cent. Although it wasn’t that long ago, it seems like a completely different world – before the global COVID pandemic appeared like an unwanted neighbour at a backyard barbeque.

So, just how much extra should the average mortgage holder expect to pay?

Modelling provided by Canstar showed that the average variable mortgage rate would jump from 3.21 to 4.36 per cent, based on the current gap between the two rates.

In plain English terms, this means that if you took out a $500,000 loan tomorrow, and the cash rate hit 1.25 per cent in 2024, the modelling estimates your monthly repayments would increase $300 to $2464 per month. Commonwealth Bank’s modelling covers a similar scenario, with repayments up $324 per month.

That’s despite shrinking 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. On top of that, there’s also the possibility that even more waves of RBA cash rate increases could soon follow.

So if the average variable loan rate increased to 7.04 per cent in 2031, where it was not that long ago back 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.

TAKE OUT THE GUESSWORK:

Every household is different, in unique situations and you can’t take a one-size fits all approach. Let us run you through your options and help you find the right mortgage option for you.

It may be difficult to imagine that interest rates could rise from the relaxed position of the current record low cash rate, however it’s vital to pay close attention. We had 18 cash rate reductions before the RBA increased the cash rate to 4.75 per cent back in November 2010.

It pays to look ahead, if you’re worried about what such a scenario could mean for you and your home budget in the coming years, get in touch with us today and we can run you through a number of options that include (but are not limited to) fixing your interest rate for two, three, four or five years, or just fixing part of your mortgage (but not all of it).

How you can simplify debt and save at the same time

If you’re like most Aussies, you’re probably paying off more than one loan.

Whether it be a mortgage, a car loan, a credit card, a personal loan – or even all four (gulp!) – keeping track of what needs to be paid and when can be difficult. 

If you add in changing interest rates and the need to make milestone purchases, you wouldn’t be the only one to find yourself, and your finances, under quite a bit of stress.

The good news is that you don’t have to don a clown suit and keep all of those loan repayments in the air, as there are solutions available to help you manage your money, and your repayments, better.

In a nutshell it’s called debt consolidation, and it has the power to take the pressure off your finances.

Debt consolidation essentially means rolling all of your existing loans into one easy-to-manage loan. Let’s take a look at some of your options:

ROLL UP, ROLL UP!

One of the most common ways to consolidate debt is to take out a new personal loan and use that to pay off your existing debts.

Importantly, the interest rate on your new personal loan must be lower than the rate on your existing debts, such as a credit card with a 17.99% interest rate. 

This will mean you pay less interest each month and you can either use the funds you save on other things or put the money back into paying the loan principal so that you pay off what you owe faster (and save more interest again!)

Another benefit is avoiding costly late payment fees many credit cards have and with just one loan to keep track of, you’ll be able to budget a lot easier and have a clearer picture of when you’ll be debt-free.

HIT A HOME RUN

Another option is to refinance your home loan to consolidate your debts, including car loans and credit cards, into your mortgage.

Mortgages offer comparatively low interest rates, so consolidating your loans in this way will reduce your monthly repayments and cut down the time and energy spent on managing multiple loans. 

It’s important to note, however, that while this option can help ease the pressure on your finances now by reducing monthly repayments, consolidating your debt through your mortgage can extend the term of your loan, which may have previously been much shorter.

This means unless you aim to make a lot of extra repayments as soon as possible, you may wind up paying a lot more interest than you bargained for.

One way to address this is to create a loan split for the debt consolidation, which enables you to pay off short-term debts within a few years, rather than over the existing long-term home loan period, which is usually 25 or 30 years.

With mortgage rates down due to the RBA’s official cash rate being at record low levels, it’s a good time to see how you can consolidate and take back control of your debt.

That’s where we come in:

Get in touch with us today to find out how we can help you explore your debt consolidation and refinancing options. We’re here to make the whole process as simple and cost effective as possible.

At present, lenders are providing mortgage holders impacted by COVID-19 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.

Why refinancing your home loan makes sense and saves dollars

It’s no secret that many Australian households are going through tough times against the backdrop of a global pandemic, challenging economic conditions and a rapidly rising housing market.

However, it’s not all doom and gloom – you can relieve some strain on your family budget by reducing the cost of monthly mortgage repayments and Aussies across the nation are jumping aboard this trend.

Aggressive competition among lenders and an all-time low RBA (Reserve Bank of Australia) cash rate of 0.1 per cent, following six rate cuts in three years, have all been strong drivers alongside record low interest rates.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), refinanced home loans recorded an all-time high of $17.2 billion in July, a jump of 6 per cent compared to June and more than double the value of refinanced homes in July 2019.

Katherine Keenan, Head of Finance and Wealth at ABS, noted borrowers were taking advantage of the shift with the surge likely to continue as lockdowns due to COVID-19 put even more pressure on homeowners.

“Borrowers are seeking out lower interest rates, particularly for fixed-rate loans and cashback deals across a large number of major and non-major lenders,” she said.

The good news is homeowners are in a powerful position, with plenty of competition among lenders offering record-low home loan rates.

According to comparison website RateCity, the number of variable rates under 2 per cent on its database climbed from 28 to 46 in just two months.

This competition for your mortgage means homeowners can pick and choose the best loan, and even negotiate with their existing lender to get a better deal.

The ABS reports borrowers are also opting to lock in their interest rate, too, following news that lenders have begun to increase the rates on 3-5 year fixed-rate loans.

HOW TO REFINANCE THE RIGHT WAY:

One of the most common ways homeowners can get themselves a better deal is refinancing through their existing lender. 

What many don’t know is that lenders won’t automatically gift wrap and hand you their cheapest rate. 

Just as you have to negotiate with your phone or electricity provider for an updated plan, you need to ask your lender to cut your home loan rate.

If you’re not someone who is keen on negotiating, never fear, that’s where we come in. 

We understand that refinancing isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution and we can help you get the best deal and put dollars back in your pocket, not the lender’s.

Turning to an expert for guidance can also help you analyse whether fixed-rate loans or cashback deals would suit your situation.

They may look appealing on the surface, but if you dig a little deeper, you may find that your position calls for a more considered approach.

We can help you work through the fine print, fees and limitations that might exist within these loan options to help you determine whether a fixed, variable or split loan is better suited to your needs.

Get in touch with us today to find out how we can help you save thousands of dollars in interest repayments on your mortgage.

Prime time to capitalise on home refinancing options

In times of global change and uncertainty it’s the perfect time to look at options in reducing costs related to, for most Australians, their greatest asset, the family home.

And in a hazy financial climate spurred by a world pandemic, the home has become an even more important asset to consider. It’s not just a place to eat, sleep and relax, but a private sanctuary from the outside world and, for many in the grip of lockdowns, a central working environment.

The good news is that times of uncertainty can provide a great opportunity to tweak refinancing options to your advantage. The array of social and financial changes thrust upon us recently have combined to make now a good time to crack out the calculator. 

But where do you start and what should you be looking to do to fully optimise your home loan?

PAYMENT RELIEF:

When was the last time you refinanced your home loan? Even 12 months ago, the finance and lending landscape was in a much different space and options may have drastically changed since then.

A recent RBA study found that borrowers who refinance with another lender or negotiate a better deal with their existing lender, see interest savings.

Many Australians have been significantly impacted by reduced working hours and other COVID-related factors, making it a challenge to meet monthly mortgage repayments. It may just work out that refinancing is a more suitable option than applying for a hardship variation on your loan.

DEBT CONSOLIDATION:

It’s not just your home you should factor in when looking to refinance, it can also help by consolidating your other existing debts, including credit cards, car and personal loans, by combining them into a refinanced mortgage.

This strategy means just one simple repayment to make each month which can help reduce the risk of late, forgotten payment dates and incurred penalty fees. Plus your debts will be charged at your home loan interest rate – which is usually lower than credit card rates, for example.

TIME IS ON YOUR SIDE:

Typically, having the time and capacity to look into refinancing options are the main reasons why people don’t look into refinancing earlier.

And with more and more of us spending more time at home due to the pandemic, it can be valuable to use some of the time usually taken up by social commitments to explore how you can better your financial position.

HELP IS AT HAND:

It can seem daunting at first, but looking into your refinancing options may just be the best use of time you can spend during lockdown.

 And the good news is you’re not alone. We’re here every step of the way, available to help you whenever you need and in these difficult times, we know that we need to support each other now, more than ever.

Get in touch with us today to help you navigate hardship variations, or support package options which may be available.

Refinancing figures are on a record-breaking run: here’s why

We’re currently seeing more people refinance their home loans than ever before, and the latest ABS figures out this week prove we’re not imagining things.

Refinanced home loans reached an all-time high of $17.2 billion in July, which is a 6% increase on June.

It’s also more than double the value that was refinanced exactly two years prior in July 2019.

 

So why are homeowners refinancing in record numbers?

For starters, the RBA cash rate is at an all-time low of 0.1% following six rate cuts in three years.

As such, competition amongst lenders is fierce, with many offering record-low home loan rates in a bid to win over as many customers as possible.

In fact, RateCity reports the number of variable rates under 2% on its database has jumped from 28 to 46 in just two months.

Borrowers are also opting to lock in their interest rate too, says the ABS, following reports that lenders have started increasing the rates on 3-5 year fixed-rate loans.

“Borrowers are seeking out lower interest rates, particularly for fixed-rate loans, and cashback deals across a large number of major and non-major lenders,” says ABS head of Finance and Wealth, Katherine Keenan.

COVID-19 is likely increasing the number of homeowners refinancing, too.

With many households and businesses around the country doing it tough right now, one simple way to reduce your monthly mortgage repayments is by refinancing.

 

How we help you refinance the right way

Now, fixed-rate loans and cashback deals might look super appealing at first glance, but they might not always be the best fit for your situation.

And that’s why it helps to have someone like us in your corner.

We can help you go through the fine print, fees and limitations that might exist within these loan options.

We can also help you determine whether a fixed, variable or split loan is better suited to your needs.

The other thing we’re great at is negotiating with your lender.

Your current lender won’t automatically give you their lowest rate going. You’ve got to ask them for it.

And you’ve also got to make it clear that if they don’t reduce your interest rate, you’re willing to find another lender who will.

This can be both intimidating, not to mention time-consuming and frustrating if they don’t want to play ball.

But lucky for you, we can do the leg-work for you.

So if you haven’t refinanced in the past few years, get in touch with us today and we could help you save thousands of dollars in interest repayments on your mortgage.

 

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.

“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.

 

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.