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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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Why are fixed rates still rising? And when might they drop again?

Why are fixed rates still rising? And when might they drop again?

With plenty of pundits tipping interest rates will start to fall in the next 12 months, we look at why the big banks are hiking their fixed rates – and unpack what it means for the rate outlook.

The past few months have seen interest rates on fixed home loans deliver more ups and downs than a rollercoaster.

As recently as April 2023, a number of lenders were starting to cut their fixed rates.

Fast forward to July, and the major banks – NAB, Westpac, ANZ and the Commonwealth Bank – have all upped their fixed rates in the past fortnight.

Now you won’t find a fixed rate below 6% among the big four banks.

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Where homeowners are spending $1 billion a month

Where homeowners are spending $1 billion a month

Australians are showering their homes with $1 billion worth of love each month as home improvement spending ramps up. We look at the cost of popular renovations – and how to foot the bill.

Belts may be tightening but not, it seems, for renovators.

The latest figures from the ABS show Australians spent a whopping $1,044 million on home renovations in May 2023 alone. That’s up 4.3% on the previous month.

Our passion for renovating may stem from binge-watching home improvement shows through the pandemic. But there could be another factor at play.

It can simply be a lot cheaper to renovate your home than to sell up and buy elsewhere.

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Could apartment living help you dive into the property market sooner?

Could apartment living help you dive into the property market sooner?

Buying a home for the first time can be challenging, especially with house prices soaring in recent years. So could switching from house hunting to unit searching be the way forward for you?

There’s no denying that getting into the property market in today’s economic climate ain’t easy.

The average Australian house price is now $725,000 – that’s 30% more expensive than the average national unit price.

Compare the price gap to September 2021, when the national median house price was $570,000 – just 9.6% higher than the median unit price of $520,000.

But is opting for a unit the right move for you?

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Mortgage holders breathe a sigh of relief as RBA puts cash rate on hold

Mortgage holders breathe a sigh of relief as RBA puts cash rate on hold

Phew! The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) has today decided to put the official cash rate on hold. So is the end of this rate hike cycle finally in sight?

The decision to keep the official cash rate at 4.10% will be welcomed by homeowners around the country after monthly repayments increased by about $1,135 per $500,000 loaned (for a 25-year loan) since 1 May 2022.

RBA Governor Philip said as interest rates had been increased by 4% since May last year, the Board decided to hold interest rates steady this month to provide some time to assess the impact of the increases.

“The higher interest rates are working to establish a more sustainable balance between supply and demand in the economy,” he said.

However, Governor Lowe kept the door open for potential rate rises in the months to come.

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Breaking out of mortgage prison: can easing serviceability buffers help?

Breaking out of mortgage prison: can easing serviceability buffers help?

Have you been keen to refinance but told you can’t? You’re not alone. Many Australian households are currently locked into their home loans due to rising interest rates. But some banks have recently started to lower their serviceability thresholds. 

As interest rates have climbed, Australians have refinanced in unprecedented numbers.

In fact, a record high of $21.3 billion in refinancing took place in March 2023, according to ABS statistics – 14.2% higher compared to a year ago.

But some people are now unable to refinance and take advantage of potential savings because they don’t meet lender requirements.

They’re locked into what’s called “mortgage prison”.

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Homebuying intentions climb as Aussies untie themselves from rental crunch

Homebuying intentions climb as Aussies untie themselves from rental crunch

Despite the soaring cost of living and successive interest rate hikes, homebuying intentions have climbed, latest data shows. So why are so many people still chasing the great Australian dream? And what can you do to make your own dream a reality?

Despite a flurry of rate rises, new data this month shows homeownership is once again a top priority for many Australians, with the number of house hunters increasing.

Commonwealth Bank’s Household Spending Intentions Index showed a strong 14.4% increase in homebuying intentions in May, after dropping in April.

May also saw new home sales increase across Australia for the second month in a row.

So what’s driving this appetite for property when finances are increasingly tight for many? And how can you boost your own chances of cracking the market sooner?

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Mortgage serviceability: how to jump through the hoops

Mortgage serviceability: how to jump through the hoops

Mortgage serviceability can feel like a frustrating hurdle to clear. But it’s an important safeguard against borrowing too much, particularly in the current interest rate landscape. 

It’s in the best interests of all parties involved if your mortgage is chugging along with regular repayments being made.

Borrowing an amount you don’t have a hope in hell of repaying can mean heartache for you, and can land your lender and broker in hot water.

Enter mortgage serviceability.

Before approving your loan application your lender will take a good look at your finances to see if you can meet repayments.

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RBA attempts to beat back inflation with another rate hike, up to 4.10%

RBA attempts to beat back inflation with another rate hike, up to 4.10%

Drumroll … The RBA has hiked the official cash rate for the 12th time since April 2022, increasing it to 4.10%. How much will this increase your monthly repayments? And how long does Philip Lowe plan to keep marching to this beat?

Another month, another 25 basis point cash rate rise. It’s now apparent the cash rate pause back in April was nothing but a false peak.

Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) Governor Philip Lowe explained in a statement that while inflation in Australia had passed its peak, at 7% it was still too high and it would be some time yet before inflation was back in the 2-3% target range.

“This further increase in interest rates is to provide greater confidence that inflation will return to target within a reasonable timeframe,” he said.

Governor Lowe added that some further tightening of monetary policy may be required to ensure that inflation returned to target in a reasonable timeframe, but that would depend upon how the economy and inflation evolved.

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Is the property market starting to rebound?

Is the property market starting to rebound?

Navigating the Australian property market over the past year has felt like standing on shifting sands. But is the market starting to regain stability? And if so, what can you do now to make sure you’re ready to buy?

Anyone with an eye on the property and finance market over the past few years has seen their fair share of thrills and spills. It’s been anything but uneventful.

But with the RBA’s rapid-fire rate hikes slated to peak in 2023, is there a property upswing afoot?

Westpac’s economists seem to think so – they’re predicting that the housing correction is winding down. The bank forecasts that Australian property prices will grow by 5% in 2024 after stabilising throughout 2023.

So this week we’ve looked into data from some of Australia’s leading property market and finance institutions.

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Property valuation: what you need to know when buying a home

Property valuation: what you need to know when buying a home

When buying property, it’s good to know the market value. After all, you want to know you’re paying a fair amount. But the property’s value is an important consideration for your lender too. And their valuation may be quite different.

Just how much is a property worth? Well, it depends on who’s asking.

When buying a property you’ll find there are different terms to estimate how much it’s worth, including market value, market appraisal and bank value.

And you’ll most likely find they can differ, which can be confusing.

Fortunately, we’ve got the low down to help you understand the difference. And how bank valuations affect your loan.

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Heads up business owners: the asset write-off deadline is looming!

Heads up business owners: the asset write-off deadline is looming!

Business owners wanting to buy a vehicle, asset or important piece of equipment and immediately write off the full cost have just over a month to act.

That’s because the temporary full expensing scheme is set to expire on 30 June 2023.

It will be superseded by a much less generous scheme, known as the instant asset write-off, so if your business could do with expensive new equipment, an asset or commercial vehicle, you might want to act quick!

What is temporary full expensing?

Temporary full expensing is similar to the popular instant asset write-off scheme, but with an expanded scope.

Originally a stimulus measure to address the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the scheme allows businesses to make significant asset investments.

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More home buyers set to benefit from low deposit, no LMI schemes

More home buyers set to benefit from low deposit, no LMI schemes

More Australians (and permanent residents!) will soon be eligible for a leg up into the property market under an expanded Home Guarantee Scheme. Today we’ll run you through all the upcoming changes to the low deposit, no lenders mortgage insurance scheme.

Officially unveiled as part of the 2023 federal budget, the expanded Home Guarantee Scheme will have broader eligibility criteria from 1 July 2023.

So if you’re a single parent or guardian, first home buyer, haven’t owned property for a decade, permanent resident, or looking to buy a home with your friend or sibling – be sure to read on to find out if you’re eligible.

What is the Home Guarantee Scheme?

Getting a deposit together can be a massive hurdle when buying a home.

And if your deposit is lower than 20%, you can get stung with lenders mortgage insurance (LMI), which can cost you anywhere between $4,000 and $35,000, depending on the property price and your deposit amount.

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Homeowners brace as RBA raises cash rate to 3.85%

Homeowners brace as RBA raises cash rate to 3.85%

The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) has increased the official cash rate for the 11th time in the past year, taking it to 3.85%. Have we finally reached the peak of this cycle? And how much will this latest rate hike increase your monthly repayments?

In what will undoubtedly be tough news for many households around the country, this latest rate hike comes despite many pundits predicting the RBA would keep the cash rate on hold for at least another month.

RBA Governor Philip Lowe said while inflation in Australia had passed its peak, at 7% it was still too high and it would take some time before it was back in the target range of 2-3%.

“Given the importance of returning inflation to target within a reasonable timeframe, the Board judged that a further increase in interest rates was warranted today,” he said.

However, in what may come as welcome news to mortgage holders, Governor Lowe softened his language around the possibility of further rate hikes.

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Tips to help stay on top amidst the rate hike cycle

Tips to help stay on top amidst the rate hike cycle

With every RBA rate rise announcement, mortgage holders brace themselves for impending repayment increases. Here’s how to stay on top of your mortgage and feel financially secure.

Let’s face it, the RBA’s rate rise cycle hasn’t been easy for mortgage holders, with average monthly repayments now hundreds of dollars (and in some cases, thousands of dollars) more expensive than they were a year ago.

Pair this with the rising cost of living and many Australians are eager to bolster their finances to weather the storm, especially as there are one or two more rate rises predicted to come.

But rest assured, there are things you can do to help manage your mortgage and stay on top of your finances.

1. Review your loan

Regularly reviewing your loan can help you assess whether it’s best suited to your current situation.

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