22 Sep September 2016
Welcome to our September newsletter
Spring is here and it’s also the start of the busiest time of year for our property markets! Auction activity is already heating up in our largest capital cities – are you ready for the rush?
At its September meeting last week, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) decided to keep the official cash rate on hold at 1.50 per cent. The decision came as no surprise to analysts as the RBA cut the cash rate by 25 basis points just last month, bringing it to all-time lows.
Positive economic growth figures for the June quarter of 3% combined with improved jobs and salary growth data, indicate the RBA’s easing measures are starting to have the desired effect. Whilst the RBA would prefer the Australian dollar to be weaker against other global currencies in order to stimulate growth in our export markets, the US Federal Reserve is tipped to be considering an interest rate rise at their September 20 meeting this month. This could potentially create a downward trend in our dollar, eliminating the need for further rate cuts from the RBA this year.
Following last month’s RBA rate cut, lenders have been reducing interest rates on a wide variety of owner occupier home loan and property investment loan products. However, some have only passed on part of the rate cut, which prompts us to motivate you to check your interest rate with us to see if you still have the most competitive loan product for your needs!
Activity in our largest property markets is already picking up after the Winter slowdown. Victoria held 826 auctions during the week ending September 4 and achieved a clearance rate of 79%. NSW also had a big week with 715 auctions and an 84% clearance rate. Other markets were slower to respond to the arrival of Spring, with QLD holding 135 auctions with a clearance rate of 58%, SA 73 auctions with a clearance rate of 81%, and ACT had 76 auctions with a clearance rate of 78%.
The Perth and WA property market has been quite weak for some time and the trend is expected to continue during 2016. For the first week of Spring only 26 auctions were held and they only achieved a clearance rate of 17%. NT and Tasmania have also been slow to get started, with NT holding just 6 auctions with a clearance rate of 40% and Tasmania holding 7 auctions which achieved no sale.
Home value movements were very conservative this month, with Sydney achieving an increase of 1.44%, Melbourne 1.49%, Brisbane/Gold Coast 0.47%, and Perth 0.20%. Larger gains were seen in Darwin at 4.07% and Canberra 2.77%. Adelaide saw a slight decline in home values of 0.96% and Hobart’s home values fell by 0.88%.
Many of you in the market to purchase a property this Spring have already talked to us about arranging pre-approval on your home loans. If you haven’t called us yet, pick up the phone and get onto it so you don’t risk missing out on the home of your dreams during the Spring rush! Rates are great following last month’s RBA cut so it’s also a good time to discuss your refinancing plans, fix your interest rate or get a home loan health check on your existing loan. Give us a call today!
5 great reasons to consider refinancing
Getting a mortgage locked in can be a major hurdle when buying a property, whether you’re a home buyer or an investor.
For some, it can be a very anxious time and it’s easy to understand why you might try to avoid the stress of doing it again for as long as you can. However, sticking with the same loan for too long can be a mistake. In this article we talk about some of the benefits of refinancing your mortgage and some of the strategic reasons why you should regularly consider making a switch.
#1. It pays to change with the times.
Mortgage products can become outdated very quickly and it’s important to check regularly to make sure your home loan product hasn’t become a bit of a dinosaur. It really can pay to take the time just to see what’s out there in terms of mortgage features.
Some products offer features that could save you money outside of your mortgage. For example, fee free transaction accounts or low-rate credit cards. Other mortgage products may offer rewards, incentives or even more flexibility. Or perhaps you could be benefiting from more features on your home loan like the ability to make extra repayments and redraw them if you need to, or an offset account that helps you maximise your savings and saves you money on interest.
#2. Minimise your interest bill.
Interest rates also change frequently, with lenders making adjustments in response to economic influences, RBA rate movements and policy directives from industry bodies such as the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA). And smaller lenders and new lenders in the market place often offer lower interest rates than the big banks, just to attract new business. So it really does pay to compare your interest rate against a range of other options from time to time.
A recent study showed that borrowers who held the same home loan for more than ten years could easily have paid thousands more in interest than borrowers who monitored their interest rate and switched mortgage products every two to three years. You might wonder how that can be true but consider this, if you have a $500,000 mortgage and can manage to reduce the interest by just one percent, over 30 years you could save $100,000 in interest repayments. Switching regularly could potentially help you achieve results like these for yourself.
#3. Capitalise on rises in home values.
The interest rate you may be eligible to receive depends on a number of different criteria and these can change over time. A great example of this is your loan to value ratio (LVR). Your LVR is calculated by dividing the amount of your home loan by the current value of your property. (This is effectively a measure of how much equity you have in the property.)
Generally speaking, the higher your LVR, the greater the risk to the lender and that’s why they usually apply a higher interest rate to loans with an LVR above 80%. As you make your regular home loan repayments and the value of your property grows over time, your LVR constantly improves. If your property has risen in value or you have made significant headway on paying down your loan, you could find your LVR has improved considerably and you could now be eligible for a better interest rate.
#4. Maximise improvements to your circumstances.
An improvement in your personal circumstances could also make you eligible for a better interest rate. Perhaps your credit score has improved over time. Maybe you have had a significant salary increase since you purchased your home, or you have paid off other debts and loans and your financial commitments have been reduced.
Everyone’s circumstances are different and there are lots of ways that time can cause them to change. A consultation with your mortgage and finance broker will soon reveal how any changes to your personal circumstances may influence your interest rate on a new loan.
#5. Make your investment work harder for you.
Purchasing a home can be a very emotional experience and it’s easy to forget that your home is more than just the cosy haven where you live. It’s a valuable asset and an important investment that can help you build wealth.
When you pay down your mortgage and at the same time, the value of the property increases, you build equity in the property that you may be able to access by refinancing. You can use these funds to invest in another property, make another form of investment such as stocks and shares, or to increase the value of your home through renovation. These are just some of the popular wealth building strategies that refinancing can help you to achieve.
Another way you can use refinancing to save money on interest and improve your financial situation is by consolidating your debts. The interest rate you pay on your mortgage is the lowest interest rate available – much more attractive than the interest rate offered on credit cards, car loans, personal loans and store credit.
If you’re interested in refinancing your home loan, just give us a call. We’ll help you decide if it’s the right move for you and work out the numbers to ensure the costs don’t outweigh the benefits. We’ll also help you to find a new loan that has the right features for your needs and offers you the best interest rate available for you considering your current personal financial circumstances. Call us today.
Motor Vehicle And Equipment Finance. Lowest rates ever seen!
Goldkey has access to funds for the purchase of motor vehicles with rates from 4.1%. *If you are thinking of upgrading or purchasing a new vehicle, now is the time. The following conditions apply:
- 36-60 month term
- Motor Vehicles < 3 years old
- No sale and lease/hire back or private sales. Supplier must be a franchised car dealer
- Amounts financed from $20,000.00
- Business use
No financials are required for applicants with an ABN older than 2 years , property ownership and good credit history. This includes finance on Light Commercial Vehicles up to 4.5T GMV.
Low rates on equipment finance are also available on low doc basis.
Please contact 02 9816 1300 any time for more information on this special or for rates applicable outside these guidelines.
*Standard fees and charges are applicable and rates are subject to change.
To fix or not to fix?
Should you switch to a fixed interest rate product?
With the official cash rate at an historical low and the possibility of more RBA rate cuts on the horizon, this is possibly the most frequently asked question of professional mortgage brokers today. Often the question is focused on the timing, with consumers asking if now is a good time to fix their interest rate, or if they should wait to see if interest rates fall even lower.
However, saving money on interest is not necessarily the most important thing to consider if you’re thinking about making the switch to a fixed rate loan. In this article, we talk about the pros and cons of fixed interest rate loans and the real reasons you should consider using one.
What is a fixed rate home loan?
A fixed rate home loan allows you to lock in an interest rate for a fixed term, which means your loan repayments stay the same during the fixed term even if variable interest rates should rise. It allows you to plan exactly how much your repayments will be for the life of the term, making budgeting easier and this is the major benefit of a fixed rate home loan.
Usually you can choose to fix the interest rate on your home loan for a term between 1 to 5 years. After the fixed period ends, the loan usually reverts automatically to the standard variable rate unless you refinance your loan to another product or negotiate another fixed term.
Is switching to a fixed rate product a good interest saving strategy?
For some people, the motivation for switching to a fixed interest rate product is primarily to save money in the event of an interest rate rise. These home owners are looking for ways to save money on interest any way they can over the life of their loan. Their strategy is to go with a variable rate product for now so they can pay the lowest interest possible in the short-term, then switch to a fixed interest rate product to keep their interest rate low when interest rates look as though they are going to rise.
Basically, they are interested in locking their interest at the lowest rate possible when it is most prudent to do so. That’s why we are always being asked if ‘now’ is a good time to fix.
The problem with this interest savings strategy is that no one can accurately predict interest rate movements. That makes it very difficult to know when it might be advantageous to switch, or even if switching will have the desired effect of saving on interest. How do we know when we will save more by using a variable rate product and when we will save more by switching to a fixed interest rate product?
There is really no way to tell. In order to save money on interest by switching to a fixed rate product, variable interest rates would need to rise well above the interest rate you are paying on your fixed rate loan (and fixed rate loans usually carry a higher interest rate than variable rate loans). You also need to consider that if interest rates should fall during the fixed interest term of your loan, you will be missing out on any interest savings you would have received if you had a variable rate loan.
Consider your financial circumstances before making the switch
The decision to switch to a fixed interest rate loan should be influenced by other factors besides the possibility of any substantial saving on interest. The point of a fixed interest rate loan is to help you budget your household expenses more effectively, particularly for the first few years you own a property when your finances may be tight and budgeting may be difficult. As an added bonus, you are temporarily protected from interest rate rises. If interest rates do increase during the fixed interest term of your loan, you will have until the end of the fixed interest term to plan how you will manage to cover the increased payments on your loan when the fixed term ends.
Switching to a fixed interest rate loan may not be a good idea if you need flexibility. If you are planning to sell your home in the near future, increase your loan or redraw from it, make extra repayments or refinance to access equity, staying with a variable rate home loan could actually save you money. Fixed rate home loans usually have sizeable penalties if you need to make changes or pay off the loan during the fixed term of the loan, which could cost you many thousands of dollars.
The split option is designed to help you hedge your bets
Many lenders offer a home loan product that gives you the capacity to split your loan between both the variable and fixed interest rate options. This could give you the advantage of partial protection in the event of interest rate rises, but could also offer you facilities like an offset account which could be very beneficial if you are a good saver, plus the ability to make extra repayments and redraw them if you need to.
It is important to remember that with a split loan, you are still locked into the product for the length of the fixed rate term. If you needed to sell your home or repay the fixed portion of the loan early for any reason, you would still be required to pay a stiff penalty.
To find out if switching to a fixed interest rate loan is the right move for you, it is a good idea to talk to a professional mortgage broker about your personal financial situation and goals. We’re here to help you understand which products are right for your needs and help you to choose an option that saves you the most amount of money possible. Call us today.