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Rate cuts? Pencil them in for 2025

Rate cuts? Pencil them in for 2025

Put the party pies on ice and postpone those rate-cut celebrations for a while yet. The much-touted rate cuts we’ve been waiting for may not arrive until 2025. Here’s why rates could be staying higher for longer, and how to take action yourself.

June saw the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) keep the cash rate on ice – yet again.

Rates haven’t budged since November last year, and with the RBA not due to make another rate call until August, interest rates will remain in a holding pattern for at least two more months.

For home owners struggling to manage their home loan at current interest rates, it begs the question: ‘what happened to all the talk about rate cuts in 2024?’

Here’s what’s happening.

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Is a tree or sea change on your horizon?

Is a tree or sea change on your horizon?

Fresh air, no bumper-to-bumper traffic and more affordable home prices. There’s plenty of appeal in regional living, including a chance to potentially reduce your home loan.

The classic tune ‘Home among the gum trees’ is fast becoming a lifestyle anthem for a growing number of Aussies.

A surging number of city-slickers are heading to the bush or bay, new Commonwealth Bank research shows.

In fact, metro to regional relocations are now 20% higher than pre-Covid.

It goes to show that regional towns and cities have a lot going for them.

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Why three-in-four Aussies turn to a broker for home loan help

Why three-in-four Aussies turn to a broker for home loan help

You might have seen a headline or two about a particular big bank being at war with brokers. Nothing could be further from the truth. Our mission is – and always will be – putting you first. That’s why three in every four borrowers now come to us for help.

Borrowers are more spoilt for choice than ever before when it comes to home loans.

But who has time to sort through over 100 lenders in the market to pick out a loan that’s suited to your needs?

Your mortgage broker does.

But for the big end of town, increased competition can mean lower profit margins (and unhappy shareholders!).

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First home buyers turn to Bank of Nan and Pop

First home buyers turn to Bank of Nan and Pop

Nan and Pop have always been good for birthday money, but one-in-10 grandparents are taking their generosity to the next level: helping their grandkids buy a first home.

Most of us have special memories of pocketing a few treats from Granny and Gramps.

But it turns out those small gestures of affection we knew as kids are morphing into something far more valuable than a few sneaky lollies before dinner or a surprise Lego set.

Research by Compare the Market shows almost three-quarters of Aussie grandparents are giving their families a financial helping hand.

Around 13% are lending money, 9% are chipping in with household bills, and one-in-10 are helping their grandkids buy a first home.

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What you should know before buying ‘subject to finance’

What you should know before buying ‘subject to finance’

Not sure if you’ll get the thumbs up for a home loan? But you really, really like that house that just popped up? Making an offer ‘subject to finance’ could be the right move. Here’s how it works.

Picture this. You’ve seen a home you’re crazy about, and you don’t want to miss out to another buyer. So, you sign on the dotted line and hand over your deposit.

Things are getting real now. But what if they’re not? What if you struggle to land a home loan?

It’s a scenario every home buyer dreads.

If you have to back out of the contract because you can’t get loan approval, you could lose your deposit.

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Not feeling the budget love? 4 ways you could still get ahead

Not feeling the budget love? 4 ways you could still get ahead

If the latest federal government budget is leaving you hungry for perks and savings, you’re not alone. We’ve had a brainstorm and here are four ways you could start working towards your property goals now.

The 2024 federal budget is out, and you might be wondering what’s in it for you.

Sure, an energy rebate of $300 annually can help take the sting out of electricity bills, though at $75 per quarterly bill, it’s not a huge saving.

But you don’t need to rely on the federal budget.

Here are four strategies that could get your wealth growing.

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Low deposit scheme helps over 150,000 families buy sooner

Low deposit scheme helps over 150,000 families buy sooner

Whether you’re rat running your local streets, or have a knack for always picking the fast-moving supermarket queue – everyone loves a good time-saving hack. Well, today we’ll let you in on a scheme that could get you into your first home years – yep years – sooner!

When you’re saving for a first home, growing a 20% deposit can be a tough challenge.

It’s certainly not made any easier by national property values soaring higher each month and cost of living challenges.

But there is one potential solution that has seen 156,000 first home buyers, single parents and regional Australians buy or build a home of their own over the past four years – it’s the federal government’s Home Guarantee Scheme (HGS).

How to buy with just a 5% deposit

The HGS helps eligible first home buyers and single parents buy a home sooner by requiring only a small deposit.

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Here’s why your borrowing power might soon get a lift

Here’s why your borrowing power might soon get a lift

Who doesn’t love a tax cut? Most of us are now only weeks away from saving on our tax bills, with Stage 3 tax cuts to kick in from 1 July. But another key advantage is that the tax cuts could give your borrowing power a nice boost.

The upcoming Stage 3 tax cuts have received plenty of attention – some good, some bad – so we won’t focus on the politics of it today.

But they are still expected to benefit about 13.6 million Australians, and how much tax you might save depends on your income.

A person on the national average wage of around $73,000 will pocket a yearly tax saving of $1,504, says the federal government.

If your income is, say, $100,000, you could expect to save $2,179 in tax each year.

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How to know if you’re paying a fair price

How to know if you’re paying a fair price

We all love the idea of nabbing a bargain property, but for most home buyers the real issue is whether they’re overvaluing a place – and paying too much in the process.

Buying a home is an exciting prospect, but it’s perfectly natural to have a big dose of nerves given that you’re likely committing to spending hundreds of thousands of dollars (or millions!).

But with a bit of research, and some other handy tips below, you can help protect yourself when the bidding or negotiations begin.

Why it’s important to pay a fair price

Paying above the odds for a home can have serious financial impacts.

The more you pay, the more you may need to borrow to fund the purchase. That can mean paying higher loan repayments, potentially leaving your budget thinly stretched, especially if interest rates rise again.

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Can you remember your home loan interest rate?

Can you remember your home loan interest rate?

Where you put your car keys, who won the footy premiership three years back, the new prime minister of New Zealand’s name – all very much socially acceptable things to forget. Your home loan rate shouldn’t be on that list.

It’s a fair bet that your home loan repayments are one of your biggest household expenses.

Yet it’s surprising how many borrowers haven’t kept up with what their home loan rate currently is.

In fact, a new report by Mozo shows that 42% of mortgage holders have no idea what interest rate they’re paying on their home loan.

And it’s an oversight that can cost home owners dearly.

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Plot twist: Millennials are Australia’s most active property investors

Plot twist: Millennials are Australia’s most active property investors

When it comes to buying investment properties, younger Australians are punching above their weight, with Millennials taking the title as the nation’s most active generation for property investment.

Investors are continuing to flock to the property market, with the Australian Bureau of Statistics saying the volume of new investor loans in February was 21.5% higher compared to a year ago.

Investment loans now make up over half of the growth in new loans over the past year.

But in an unexpected twist, it isn’t older generations of Aussies who are leading the charge to buy rental properties.

Younger investors flex their muscles

New data from the Commonwealth Bank shows Millennials (those born between 1981 and 1996) accounted for almost half (46%) of the bank’s new property investors in 2023.

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Homeowners now an extra $71,000 richer (on average!)

Homeowners now an extra $71,000 richer (on average!)

You may not feel richer, but if you’re a homeowner, there’s a decent chance your personal wealth has surged over the past 12 months thanks to soaring property values. And it could open up a world of exciting possibilities.

Sometimes you’ve just got to shake your head in disbelief at the resilience of the property market.

Despite a cost of living crunch and higher interest rates, national home prices have somehow ploughed on over the last year and a bit.

CoreLogic says home values nationally are up $71,832 since January 2023 – a jump of 10.2% in just 14 months – which averages out to an increase of $5,130 per month.

To put that into perspective, last financial year the average full-time Australian worker earned $6,565 per month after tax.

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FOMO, FOBO and FOOP – how they can hold you back

FOMO, FOBO and FOOP – how they can hold you back

Nobody likes missing out on a good thing. But then again, who likes overpaying? So how do you strike the right balance when both fears can work against one another?

The property market rarely stands still. Interest rate movements, the number of homes listed for sale, and even the time of year can all drive shifts in the market.

And change plus commitment isn’t something we’re all comfortable with.

It can even see us put mental traps in place that mean we panic about missing out on a good buy, or alternatively, we convince ourselves it’s better to sit things out on the sidelines.

Let’s take a look at three mind games that can work against home buyers – and how you could beat them.

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Explainer: how construction loans work

Explainer: how construction loans work

There’s something very special about moving into a newly built home or putting the finishing touches on a major renovation. Maybe it’s the look and feel of new paint and fresh flooring, or just knowing you’ve kicked a worthwhile goal.

Whatever the motivation, plenty of Aussies are rolling up their sleeves right now, with the value of building approvals jumping 14.7% from December 2023 to January 2024.

Meanwhile, on the renovation front, we’re not just pimping our pads for looks and lifestyle.

Almost half the home renovations carried out in 2023 were designed with a ‘green’ focus to improve energy efficiency, according to Houzz Research.

The upshot is that planning a new build or renovation can be exciting and rewarding.

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Why offset accounts are hitting new highs

Why offset accounts are hitting new highs

Spare cash can be tight right now (cost of living crunch, anyone?). But if you’ve still got some savings plus a home loan, there’s a way you could make your surplus funds work harder.

Ever heard of an offset account?

They’re becoming an increasingly popular add-on feature to home loans, with new data showing that homeowners are stashing money in their offset accounts at a record pace.

In fact, balances in offset accounts have increased to 11% of credit limits, the highest share since APRA started collecting data on this particular stat in March 2019.

This essentially means that, on average, people with offset accounts are only paying interest on 89% of their mortgage each month.

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How long does it really take to get a home loan?

How long does it really take to get a home loan?

Need a home loan in a hurry? You could be in luck. Plenty of lenders are keen to crunch loan approval times at present – but there’s a lot borrowers can do to potentially speed up the process, too.

Finding a home to buy can take time, and when the right place comes along it can feel as though you need to sign the sale contract fast to stake your claim.

But from there you’re going to need a home loan, and that’s where timing becomes critical.

The good news for home loan applicants is that average turnaround times have reached new record speeds at some of the bigger banks, while processing periods for smaller lenders have also reduced, according to the latest Broker Pulse survey.

But don’t let that lull you into a sense of complacency.

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Where are the bargain homes located in your suburb?

Where are the bargain homes located in your suburb?

Location may be a big driver of property prices, but in any given suburb a few streets can be all that separates paying top dollar for a home or potentially scoring a bargain. Here’s how to use a tool to find pockets of value in any given neighbourhood.

Each suburb has its own median house price, and sites like realestate.com.au can provide a useful guide to median values for a particular postcode.

However, the median is obviously only the middle point in each suburb’s dataset – and it’s common for prices to vary widely across a single suburb.

Fortunately, there is an easy online tool that can help you identify more affordable pockets in the suburbs you’re looking to buy in.

New interactive price tool

PropTrack has developed an interactive property price tool that reveals the median values across different parts of each suburb.

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Home buyers rejoice! More listings are hitting the market

Home buyers rejoice! More listings are hitting the market

Great news for home buyers! After an extended run of low listings, the number of homes coming onto the market is skyrocketing. So could this have an impact on the property market? Let’s take a look.

Take a look around your local suburb, and chances are you’ll see freshly minted For Sale signs popping up all over the place.

That’s because a large number of homes are coming onto the market.

Research firm PropTrack says the property market is off to a strong start for the year, with the number of new listings nationally on realestate.com.au up 12% year-on-year in January.

Melbourne and Sydney had their busiest January in over a decade.

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They’re back! Why property investors account for one-in-three new home loans

They’re back! Why property investors account for one-in-three new home loans

Lending to property investors is soaring once again. We lift the lid on what’s driving investor interest – and what it could mean for the property market throughout 2024.

It looks like property investors are back … and in a big way.

The latest ABS figures show that in December 2023, banks lent over $26 billion in new home loans – and one-third of this figure, a whopping $9.5 billion, was to property investors.

That equates to 36.2% of all housing loans – the highest market share for property investors since mid-2017.

It’s also quite an uptick from December 2020, when the ABS says investors took out just 23.6% of mortgages.

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When will the next RBA cash rate call be made?

When will the next RBA cash rate call be made?

Happy days! The Reserve Bank kept rates steady in February. But a shake-up in the number of times our central bank meets each year is raising questions about how long the rate pause will last. Here’s what we could expect.

It seems fitting that in a month known for Valentine’s Day, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) has shown borrowers some love by keeping the cash rate steady at 4.35%.

In reality though, the latest rate pause has nothing to do with romance or affection.

It’s more to do with keeping a lid on rising living costs.

After months of steadily rising prices, inflation looks to be heading south – currently sitting at 4.1%, down from 7.8% in December 2022.

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