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Merry Christmas! Season’s greetings from all of us to you

Merry Christmas! Season’s greetings from all of us to you

The year has flown past, and as our thoughts turn to trees, tinsel and turkey, we’d like to thank all our fantastic clients for your support throughout 2023.

It’s been quite a year, with higher interest rates, soaring national property values (who’d have thought?) and a few welcome surprises including more help for first-home buyers.

There is plenty in store for 2024, and we look forward to partnering with you again to help you navigate whatever goals you have planned in the new year.

In the meantime, we hope you can take the time to relax, unwind and enjoy all the fun of the festive season.

There’s no doubt the next 12 months will dish up its fair share of surprises. But some things never change – we will be here for you in 2024 and beyond.

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Ho ho ho! The smart move that has 1 in 10 borrowers feeling jolly

Ho ho ho! The smart move that has 1 in 10 borrowers feeling jolly

Home owners have been battling rising interest rates for over a year and a half now. But a new report reveals the important step some savvy borrowers are taking to rein in higher rates and swap “oh no!” for “ho, ho, ho!”.

It’s no secret that refinancing has the potential to slice a big chunk off your monthly loan repayments.

And according to Canstar, 1 in 10 mortgage holders chased a better deal in 2023 and switched to a new lender to save on their repayments.

But what’s surprising to us is that 9 in 10 didn’t.

So what’s holding them back? Let’s dive in.

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More lenders sign up to low deposit first home buyer scheme

More lenders sign up to low deposit first home buyer scheme

First home buyers with a small deposit now have an even wider range of lenders to choose from. We reveal the latest banks to join the 5% deposit scheme that’s helping more buyers get into the market sooner.

First home buyers have just received an early Christmas gift, of sorts, with an uptick in the number of lenders that have signed up to the Home Guarantee Scheme (HGS).

Three Westpac brands, St.George, Bank of Melbourne and BankSA, have added their names to the list of lenders available to first home buyers under the HGS.

If you’re not familiar with the HGS, it gives first home buyers an opportunity to buy a place of their own with as little as a 5% deposit (and no lenders mortgage insurance) through the First Home Guarantee or Regional First Home Buyer Guarantee.

First home buyers aren’t the only ones to benefit. The HGS also includes the Family Home Guarantee, which allows solo parents to buy a home with just a 2% deposit.

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How to manage your home loan over Christmas

How to manage your home loan over Christmas

It may be called the silly season but a few smart strategies could help you enjoy the festive season this year without missing a beat on your home loan. Check out our tips to share the Christmas cheer this year without breaking the bank.

Store shelves are starting to be lined with tinsel, ‘Santa stop here’ signs are popping up around the neighbourhood, and chances are you’re beginning to hum a few bars of Jingle Bells.

Yes, Christmas is just around the corner, and now’s the time to plan for what can be a pricey time of year.

After 13 rate hikes in close succession, plenty of homeowners are feeling the squeeze of higher home loan repayments.

The good news is that you (hopefully) won’t have to cancel Christmas this year. Below are three clever hacks that could help you manage your mortgage over the festive season.

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The big stretch: should you extend your loan term?

The big stretch: should you extend your loan term?

If the November rate hike will seriously stretch your finances, one potential solution may be to extend your loan term. It can ease the hip pocket pain by lowering monthly repayments. But taking more time to pay off your mortgage can come with hidden downsides. Here’s what to weigh up.

Will the RBA’s latest 0.25% cash rate rise squeeze you financially? (not to mention the other 12 rate hikes!)

The majority of lenders lost no time increasing their variable home loan rates following the Reserve Bank of Australia’s 0.25% Melbourne Cup Day rate rise.

According to Mozo, the 13th rate hike since May 2022 has pushed up the average variable rate to 6.62%.

What does that mean in dollars and cents?

On a $500,000 variable rate home loan payable over 25 years, the latest 0.25% rate hike can see monthly repayments jump by $78.

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RBA increases the cash rate by 25 basis points, up to 4.35%

RBA increases the cash rate by 25 basis points, up to 4.35%

The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) has increased the official cash rate by 25 basis points, taking it to 4.35%. So just how much will this year’s Melbourne Cup day rate hike increase your monthly repayments?

Some more tough news for mortgage holders around the country today.

Despite the official cash rate being on hold since June (and many hoping it would stay that way), the RBA has decided to press ahead with a second consecutive Melbourne Cup day rate rise in an attempt to rein in inflation.

This means we’ve now had 13 rate hikes in 18 months since 1 May 2022, and it takes the official cash rate to its highest level since November 2011.

It also happens to be the first rate hike under new RBA Governor Michele Bullock, who commenced in the role in September.

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Brokers help settle a record 7-in-10 new mortgages

Brokers help settle a record 7-in-10 new mortgages

Mortgage brokers have notched up a new personal best, with seven out of every 10 new mortgages settled thanks to their help! It’s a sure sign that mortgage brokers are delivering the goods when it comes to helping Australians move into their dream homes.

In the nine months to 31 March 2023 (while interest rates were rising), mortgage brokers helped settle more than 70% of all new residential home loans, according to the latest data from the MFAA.

It’s the first time ever that brokers have helped settle more than 70% of home loans over a three-month-plus period.

For context, just two years earlier brokers were helping settle between 50-60% of new home loans.

So why are more Aussie home buyers turning to mortgage brokers?

For starters, it looks like word is getting out about how much help we can provide when it comes to giving you an informed choice with your home loan.

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Revealed: the four cities tipped to be future property hotspots

Revealed: the four cities tipped to be future property hotspots

No matter whether you’re in the market for a home or an investment property, it makes financial sense to buy in an area where values are tipped to rise. But where to look? Today we’ll unveil the Australian cities where population growth is tipped to turbo-charge the property market.

One of the biggest drivers of property price rises right now is … drumroll … population growth, according to PropTrack.

Let’s take a look at the cities more people are expected to call home.

Is the regional renaissance over?

During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Australians were flocking to regional areas.

The population of regional Australia grew by 70,900 people during 2020-21 – the first time in over 40 years that the regions outpaced capital cities.

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How much can you really save by refinancing?

How much can you really save by refinancing?

Not sure what refinancing is all about? You’re not alone. Our quick explainer lets you master the basics and helps you work out how much you could save.

Home loan refinancing is a hot topic right now.

Ever since interest rates hit an upward trajectory in May 2022, skyrocketing numbers of homeowners – as many as 28,000 each month – have turned their attention to refinancing.

However, plenty of Australians could be missing out on the savings of refinancing simply because they’re unsure of what’s involved.

Research by Finder shows one-in-five people are in the dark about refinancing, while 63% admit to being only “slightly confident” in their knowledge of refinancing.

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One-in-three first home buyers use guarantee schemes

One-in-three first home buyers use guarantee schemes

Know anyone who wants to buy their first home? A new report confirms that low deposit schemes are getting younger buyers into a place of their own sooner.

First home buyers are ignoring headlines warning that it can take years to save a deposit.

Instead, they’re flocking to guarantee schemes that allow them to get into the market with just a 5% deposit – and without the cost of lenders’ mortgage insurance (LMI).

NHFIC, which runs the First Home Guarantee schemes set up by the federal government, says that in 2022/23, close to one-in-three first home buyers tapped into the guarantee schemes.

That’s up from one in seven the year before.

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The one big factor pushing house prices up

The one big factor pushing house prices up

Property prices have soared almost 7% this year alone. With the upswing predicted to continue, we unpack what’s driving national housing values higher – and why it could pay to get into the market sooner.

Another month, another round of price upticks.

September marked the eighth consecutive month of home price growth, with CoreLogic saying property values nationally are up 6.6% since January.

That’s a solid price hike. The crazy thing is that prices are soaring despite a whole slew of interest rate hikes over the past 18 months.

So what’s pushing prices higher?

The key factor putting a rocket under property prices is a shortage of homes listed for sale.

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Flat chat: why units could soon become hot property

Flat chat: why units could soon become hot property

Apartments stand out as an affordable choice when it comes to cracking the property market, not to mention downsizing. But a looming shortage may soon push unit values higher.

For many of us, buying a house on its own block of land is the ‘great Australian dream’.

While plenty of people achieve this goal, our property journey is often book-ended by apartment living.

For first home buyers, units can be an affordable choice, costing around 30% less than houses according to CoreLogic.

Then, as we head into our senior years, an apartment offers secure, low-maintenance living, often with a wealth of amenities right on the doorstep.

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3 ways pre-approval can give buyers an edge

3 ways pre-approval can give buyers an edge

There’s a lot to be said for having your home loan pre-approved. But does pre-approval mean you’re putting the cart before the horse? Definitely not. Here are three ways pre-approval can help you get ahead of the competition.

Here’s a handy tip: you don’t have to wait until you’ve found a home you’d like to buy before making mortgage enquiries with a lender.

It’s possible to have a home loan pre-approved before you’ve even started to wear out shoe leather at open home inspections.

It can mean you’re ready to go with your loan, with only a few formalities to sort out, as soon as you’ve found the right place.

Even better, pre-approval doesn’t mean you’re committed to taking out a loan. It’s not a problem if you have a change of plans.

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Property market climbs towards new peak

Property market climbs towards new peak

The property market has thumbed its nose at higher interest rates, with values rising almost 5% since March. Here’s why national housing prices are climbing higher.

Australia’s housing market is making a bigger comeback than Barbie.

Despite interest rates rising 4% in a year and a cost of living crunch, home values have skyrocketed with prices soaring 4.9% nationally since March 2023.

The strength of the rebound has wiped out about half the losses recorded in the downturn between April 2022 and February 2023, when home values fell 9.1%.

In fact, the value of Australia’s housing market just hit $10 trillion again – the first time the total estimated value hit double digits since June 2022.

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How does your home loan compare?

How does your home loan compare?

No change to the cash rate again this month, but lenders’ mortgage rates have been jumping around more than a bunch of toddlers at a Wiggles concert. We reveal the current average rates to see how your loan compares.

Home owners are celebrating the official cash rate staying on hold for several months. But behind the scenes, Mozo reports that lenders have been “astonishingly busy” adjusting their home loan rates – both up and down.

Key movements over the last month include NAB, CommBank and Bank of Queensland lifting some of their variable rates.

However, in the fixed rate market, plenty of lenders including big banks such as CommBank, ING and Macquarie have slashed their fixed rates.

It goes to show, you can’t assume your home loan still offers a competitive rate just because the official cash rate hasn’t budged.

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Low deposit first home buyers now have $82,000 in equity

Low deposit first home buyers now have $82,000 in equity

First home buyers who bought into the market using the federal government’s 5% deposit scheme have racked up $82,000 in home equity on average, new data shows.

It’s been three years since the First Home Loan Deposit Scheme was launched, and while it’s known today as the Home Guarantee Scheme (HGS), it’s still helping first home buyers get into the market with just a 5% deposit and no lenders’ mortgage insurance (LMI).

The HGS attracted criticism from some circles – some pundits pointed to the low deposit as a stumbling block that could land homeowners in trouble if property values fell or interest rates rose.

It turns out both have happened, yet first homeowners haven’t let it hold them back.

From $35,000 deposit to $82,000 home equity

New data from the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation (NHFIC), which runs the HGS, shows that first buyers who tapped into the 5% deposit scheme are now sitting on impressive piles of equity.

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Help to Buy Scheme set to kick off in 2024

Help to Buy Scheme set to kick off in 2024

The highly anticipated Help to Buy Scheme will kick off next year, giving more Aussies a chance to score their dream home. Today we’ll unpack how the new federal government scheme will work, who it’ll benefit, and the fine print you need to know.

A key election promise of the Albanese government, Help to Buy is a shared equity scheme aimed at helping 40,000 low and middle-income earners buy a place of their own (10,000 allocations per year).

The scheme involves the government making an equity contribution worth up to 40% of the value of a new home, or 30% of the value of an established home.

But that doesn’t mean Anthony Albanese will be rocking up unannounced to claim the guest bedroom, as we’ll explain further below.

Homebuyers need a minimum 2% deposit, and must be able to qualify for a home loan with a participating lender to fund the balance of the purchase. No lenders mortgage insurance is payable.

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More Aussies turn to mortgage brokers for a hand managing hikes

More Aussies turn to mortgage brokers for a hand managing hikes

An avalanche of rate hikes over the past 18 months has supersized home loan repayments. But savvy homeowners aren’t panicking. In fact, more mortgage holders than ever before are reaching out to brokers for expert help.

A recent survey by the Mortgage & Finance Association of Australia (MFAA) shows 95% of mortgage brokers are meeting with homeowners who have never used a broker before.

And it’s a move that’s paying off.

The MFAA reports nine out of ten brokers have successfully secured a rate discount for their clients this year.

And more than eight out of ten have helped their clients refinance to a new lender.

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Sneaky rate hikes – is your lender behind them?

Sneaky rate hikes – is your lender behind them?

The Reserve Bank (RBA) may have kept the cash rate on hold but that hasn’t stopped some lenders from hiking their variable home loan rates. Here’s how borrowers are fighting back.

Home owners may be celebrating two months of the RBA cash rate staying on hold. But don’t pop the champagne cork just yet.

Mozo reports that some lenders have sneakily hiked their variable home loan rates in July despite the cash rate holding firm.

These hikes, known as ‘out-of-cycle’ rate rises, can fly under the radar.

So it’s important to keep an eye on what your lender is doing.

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Has the tide turned? What the RBA rate pause means for homeowners

Has the tide turned? What the RBA rate pause means for homeowners

Mortgage holders rejoice – the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) kept the cash rate on hold in August for the second month in a row. So have we finally reached calmer waters? Or is there one last rate rise wave headed our way? 

In what many will see as better news than a Matildas’ World Cup win, the RBA held interest rates steady in August for the second month in a row.

After a relentless string of rate hikes (12 since April 2022), homeowners may be sceptical about what’s happening.

So is the RBA board finally satisfied we’ve endured enough rate hikes? Or is RBA Governor Philip Lowe saving one last rate hike for mortgage holders as a parting gift before he vacates his position next month?

Let’s take a closer look at some of the underlying data.

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