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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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4 tips for self-employed home loan applications

4 tips for self-employed home loan applications

Applying for a mortgage when you’re self-employed may have you jumping through more hoops. But it needn’t deter you from getting into the property market. Here are 4 tips to help you apply for a mortgage like a boss.

Being your own boss sure has its advantages: the flexibility of setting your own hours, building your own business to represent your values, having someone else fetch you coffee…

But when it comes to home loans, you may have more to prove than the average applicant.

You see, lenders may view you as a little more risky. That’s because, in their eyes, you may not have a steady paycheck to make those all-important repayments.

But being self-employed needn’t stop you from getting your slice of the great Australian dream.

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First home buyers charge back into the market

First home buyers charge back into the market

Hats off to Australia’s first home buyers! The latest lending data shows they’re refusing to let last year’s rate hikes and rising property values dampen their goal of buying a home. Here are five tips to help you buy your first home in 2024.

You’ve gotta hand it to first home buyers in the current market.

Not only were they faced with 13 cash rate hikes in just 18 months – which can obviously affect borrowing capacity – but property prices still rose 8.1% in 2023, according to CoreLogic.

Still, they won’t be deterred.

The latest lending data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows a massive 20.3% jump in the number of loans to first home buyers last year.

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How your deposit size can shape the rate you pay

How your deposit size can shape the rate you pay

It’s commonly known that the bigger your deposit, the smaller your home loan, and thus, the lower your monthly repayments. But today we’ll look into another way your deposit size could reduce your repayments: by potentially reducing your interest rate.

A question we’re commonly asked (believe it or not!) is “how can I get a lower interest rate?”

There’s no straightforward answer to this one as it usually depends on a myriad of factors, including whether lenders see you as high risk or low risk, the competition in the market at the time and, as we’ll discuss today, how big your deposit is – or more technically, your ‘loan to value’ (LVR) ratio.

What’s LVR?

To cut through the jargon, LVR refers to how much of your home’s value you’re borrowing.

If you plan to buy a home priced at, say, $600,000 using a deposit of $120,000, you’ll need to borrow $480,000, or 80% of the property’s value. For lenders, this means you have an LVR of 80%.

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The pros of having a mortgage broker on your side

The pros of having a mortgage broker on your side

What exactly can a mortgage broker do for you? Well, we don’t mean to toot our own horn, but we can make your home loan journey a whole lot easier, letting you focus on the fun part: planning for your new home!

The words “home loan application process” can strike fear in the hearts of many.

Trawling through different loan products is a time drain. The bureaucratic tape can be a headache. And let’s not forget banks scrutinising your finances.

But it doesn’t have to be a drag.

The majority of home loan seekers have now cracked the code: turning to mortgage brokers to help them land a loan.

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5 New Year’s resolutions for your home loan

5 New Year’s resolutions for your home loan

Thought of a New Year’s resolution yet? Or perhaps you’ve broken one already? Either way, check out our list of possible mortgage goals for 2024 – try one, or have a go at them all – to save a bundle in the year ahead.

It’s that time of year when Aussies love to set resolutions.

According to Commonwealth Bank research, as we dive into 2024, three out of four Australians will make at least one financial resolution, often involving plans to follow a budget or spend less.

But when it comes to New Year goals, it’s worth shining a spotlight on your mortgage.

After all, it’s likely to be your largest debt, and setting (and achieving) a few goals for the year ahead can help you pocket savings and become mortgage-free sooner.

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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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What’s tipped for house prices in 2024?

What’s tipped for house prices in 2024?

If buying a home is at the top of your wish list for 2024, don’t miss our rundown on how the property market has fared in 2023 – and why the new year is shaping up as potentially another big year for real estate.

As we turn the page on 2023, let’s take a quick rear mirror look on how home values moved over the past 12 months.

In a year that saw five official rate hikes, and a cost of living squeeze thanks to high inflation, home prices still jumped by 7% nationally.

Several cities eclipsed those gains, with double-digit price growth in Sydney (up 10.2%), Brisbane (10.7%) and Perth (13.5%).

But it wasn’t just price growth that took everyone by surprise.

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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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