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Nurses and midwives now eligible for LMI waiver

Nurses and midwives now eligible for LMI waiver

Nurses, midwives and other important healthcare professionals can now qualify for a lenders mortgage insurance (LMI) waiver policy. Here’s how it could save them thousands and fast-track their journey into home ownership.

Are you a nurse or a midwife? Or do you know someone who is?

There was a pretty big announcement recently that allows eligible nurses and midwives (who earn over $90,000 per annum) to buy a home with just a 10% deposit and avoid paying LMI with a Westpac home loan.

It’s an extension of the bank’s existing low deposit, no LMI home loan policy that’s also available to the following allied health professionals who meet the minimum income threshold:

– dentists– general practitioners– hospital-employed doctors– optometrists– pharmacists– veterinary practitioners– medical specialists– audiologist– chiropractors– occupational therapists– osteopaths– physiotherapists– podiatrists– psychologists– radiographers– sonographers, and– speech pathologists.

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RBA lifts cash rate for the sixth month in a row to 2.60%

RBA lifts cash rate for the sixth month in a row to 2.60%

The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) has hiked the official cash rate by another 25 basis points to 2.60%. How much will this rate hike increase your monthly mortgage repayments, and when will it kick in?

It’s hard to believe that at the beginning of May the cash rate was just 0.10%. Today it was increased for the sixth straight month to 2.60%.

The 25 basis point increase surprised many economists who were predicting a fifth straight 50 basis point rise.

However, it’s worth noting the cash rate hasn’t been this high since July 2013; almost ten years ago.

RBA Governor Philip Lowe said in a statement further increases were likely to be required over the period ahead.

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How to escape renting and get into the property market

How to escape renting and get into the property market

The recent decline in rental properties has caused many to feel uncertain about their housing situation. Here’s how you can leave renting in the dust and make homeownership a reality.

Dwindling rental supplies in many parts of the country and soaring rental prices have many tenants looking for an escape.

Terms like “housing crisis” are being bandied about, and in many ways, homeownership has never looked more enticing.

The government has brought forward the regional first home buyer guarantee by three months to October 1, meaning regional Australians will soon have additional assistance to buy their first home.

But that doesn’t mean city slickers can’t get in on the action, too.

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How long does it take for an interest rate rise to kick in?

How long does it take for an interest rate rise to kick in?

Household budgets around the country are feeling the brunt of five back-to-back rate hikes. And we’ve been warned more are on the way. But just how long does it take for each rate rise to impact your monthly mortgage repayments?

As you’re probably aware, in early September the RBA raised the cash rate to 2.35%.

It was the fifth cash rate hike in a row and the fourth straight double rate increase of 50 basis points.

In response, many lenders have increased their variable interest rates.

But thankfully, lenders don’t slug you with a mortgage repayment hike straight away – there’s always a little bit of lag time to help you prepare.

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Is now a good time to buy?

Is now a good time to buy?

Recent back-to-back interest rate hikes have led to a cooling of the property market, and with more rate rises predicted, you may feel like pumping the brakes on purchasing. But could the current climate offer opportunities?

With the predictions of coming rate rises and falling house prices, it’s not surprising many potential buyers are holding off.

But if you’re ready to buy, now could be an ideal time to strike – with other buyers holding back you could have more homes to choose from, less competition and more bargaining power against the vendor.

It’s a sentiment that’s starting to show in polling, with the Westpac-Melbourne Institute Index of Consumer Sentiment lifting by 3.9% between August and September – the first increase in the index since November last year.

Similarly, CommBank’s Household Spending Intentions index showed a 10% increase in home buying intentions this past month.

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RBA hikes the cash rate for fifth straight month to 2.35%

RBA hikes the cash rate for fifth straight month to 2.35%

The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) has hiked the official cash rate by another 50 basis points to 2.35%. Here’s how much you can expect to pay on your mortgage going forward and how we could give you a helping hand.

This is the fifth month in a row the RBA has increased the cash rate, and the fourth straight double rate increase of 50 basis points.

It’s also a seven-year high for the RBA cash rate.

RBA Governor Philip Lowe said in a statement that today’s increase in interest rates will help bring inflation back to target and create a more sustainable balance of demand and supply in the Australian economy.

“The (RBA) board expects to increase interest rates further over the months ahead, but it is not on a pre-set path,” said Governor Lowe.

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What happens when you roll off your fixed-rate mortgage?

What happens when you roll off your fixed-rate mortgage?

They say all good things come to an end, and that includes your ultra-low fixed-rate home loan period. So what can you do to ensure a smooth transition?

With the past couple of years offering historically low interest rates, many Australians have been able to lock in an ultra-low fixed-rate home loan.

In fact, in July 2021, a whopping 46% of home loans taken out that month were fixed, which the ABS says was the peak period for fixing.

That means the peak time for borrowers rolling off their fixed-rate period will be between July and December 2023, according to RBA research.

And that time is fast approaching.

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Property prices are predicted to dip: 5 ways you can prepare to buy

Property prices are predicted to dip: 5 ways you can prepare to buy

Property prices are predicted to fall over the coming year, but it’s always hard to know exactly when they’re going to start trending back up again. So if you’re interested in taking advantage of the dip, it could pay to start preparing now.

Earlier this year, Domain’s June 2022 Quarterly House Price report showed national property prices were starting to slightly dip.

And ANZ economists are predicting a 15-20% drop by the end of next year, before starting to recover in 2024 (prices never seem to dip for too long!).

So how can you prepare to take advantage of lower prices if you’re in the market to buy?

Here are our top five tips to help you get ahead of the curve.

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Could an eco reno boost your property’s value?

Could an eco reno boost your property’s value?

You’ve probably heard that interest rates are on the rise and national property prices are on the way back down. Here’s how you can kill two birds with one stone: by refinancing to unlock equity and giving your home an energy-efficient makeover at the same time.

Did you know that energy-efficient homes generally attract premium prices and sell faster than non-eco listings?

That’s according to the 2022 Domain Sustainability in Property Report, which found an energy-efficient house in the median range sells for $125,000 more (+17.1%) on average than a non-sustainable house.

The results are quite good for apartment owners too, with energy-efficient units selling for $72,750 more (+12.7%) than non-energy-efficient apartments.

Dr Nicola Powell, Domain’s chief of research and economics, says more and more sellers are addressing the demand for eco-friendly homes, as online listings with popular eco features attract 8.7% more views on average.

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Why you might want to refinance sooner rather than later

Why you might want to refinance sooner rather than later

Thinking about refinancing? As interest rates rise, so do the hurdles you need to clear. Here’s why you might want to look at refinancing soon to avoid potentially missing out.

When was the last time you refinanced?

If the answer is “never”, or you can’t actually remember, there’s a good chance you’re paying a higher interest rate than you could be due to the “loyalty tax”.

You see, the banks don’t think you’re paying attention, and as such, they only offer their lowest rates to new customers in a bid to win them over – as proven by the RBA.

In fact, a recent RateCity analysis found that customers who stay loyal to their bank could be hit with an extra $5,101 in interest over the next three years alone (based on a $500,000 loan taken out with CBA in 2019).

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Interest rates to keep climbing as RBA hikes cash rate to 1.85%

Interest rates to keep climbing as RBA hikes cash rate to 1.85%

The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) has increased the official cash rate by another 50 basis points to 1.85%. Here’s how to hang in there and keep up with all these monthly cash rate hikes.

Another month, another RBA cash rate hike – that’s four months in a row now!

It’s hard to believe that at the beginning of May the cash rate was just 0.10%. Today, it was increased to 1.85%.

RBA Governor Philip Lowe said in a statement that today’s increase was a further step in the normalisation of monetary conditions in Australia.

“The increase in interest rates over recent months has been required to bring inflation back to target and to create a more sustainable balance of demand and supply in the Australian economy,” said Governor Lowe.

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Keep calm and carry on: 5 ways you can absorb interest rate rises

Keep calm and carry on: 5 ways you can absorb interest rate rises

We’ve seen interest rates bounce back up over the past three months, and most economists are predicting more increases to come. If you’re starting to worry about your finances, rest assured there are several steps you can take now to get on the front foot.

The days of ultra-low interest rates are officially over (it was nice while it lasted!).

And while all the talk of doom and gloom you see in the media about rapidly rising interest rates can be a bit spooky, now’s not the time to panic.

Check out this Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) graph here, for example. It shows interest rates are currently lower (as of July 2022) than they ever were prior to May 2019.

So the current cash rate is nothing extraordinary – although it might come as a shock to newer borrowers, as we previously hadn’t had a cash rate hike since November 2010.

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Renovate or invest? How 7-in-10 Aussies are using their equity

Renovate or invest? How 7-in-10 Aussies are using their equity

Seven in 10 homeowners have recently used the equity in their home to renovate, invest in property or shares, or boost their superannuation. Have you thought about how you could take advantage of last year’s property price spike?

You might have heard that property prices spiked 23.7% in 2021, yeah?

That’s quite the growth spurt!

So how do you take advantage of that growth without (or before) selling your home?

Well, one way to do so is to cash out equity while property prices are high (which we’ll explain in a little more detail below).

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The tax on luxury cars just got a little cheaper

The tax on luxury cars just got a little cheaper

Got your eye on a luxury car that’ll make your mates jealous? Or perhaps something that’s a little more fuel-efficient and environmentally friendly? Today we’ll run you through a new tax change that could help you buy something a little more la-de-da.

Have you heard about the luxury car tax (LCT) threshold?

Basically, if you buy an imported car with a GST-inclusive value that’s above the LCT thresholds, the tax man slugs you with an extra 33% tax on the exceeded amount (minus the GST component).

But the good news is the LCT thresholds have just been given a pretty decent boost – the third one in a row.⁣From July 1, the threshold has been boosted by $5,257 to $84,916 for fuel-efficient vehicles, and by $2,697 to $71,849 for other regular vehicles (all inc. GST).

According to the ATO, a fuel-efficient vehicle is one with fuel consumption that doesn’t exceed 7.0L/100km on the combined cycle.

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Single and under 30? You’re a great fit for the 5% deposit scheme

Single and under 30? You’re a great fit for the 5% deposit scheme

Single Australians under 30 snare the lion’s share of spots in the federal government’s 5% deposit first home buyer scheme, according to new data. Here’s how to secure one of the highly coveted 35,000 scheme spots released on July 1.

Long gone are the days when you had to scrimp and save for a 20% deposit to buy your first home (that’s so 2019).

These days, you can crack the property market with just a 5% deposit and pay no lenders’ mortgage insurance (LMI), thanks to the federal government’s First Home Guarantee (FHG) scheme.

NAB – which is one of two major lenders (alongside dozens of non-majors) that provides finance under the scheme – recently released some pretty insightful data on just who is jagging the limited spots each year.

The data shows almost two-thirds of people (63%) who purchased a house under the scheme were single buyers – whereas for non-scheme purchases, single buyers only made up 49% of borrowers.

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RBA lifts cash rate for the third month in a row to 1.35%

RBA lifts cash rate for the third month in a row to 1.35%

The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) has increased the official cash rate by another 50 basis points to 1.35% amid continuing inflation pressures. How much will this third consecutive rate hike increase your monthly mortgage repayments?

At the beginning of May, the cash rate was 0.10%.

Today, it was increased by the RBA to 1.35% – the second double-barrel 0.50% hike in a row.

RBA Governor Philip Lowe said in a statement that the cash rate rise was the result of high inflation, both in Australia and around the world.

“Global factors account for much of the increase in inflation in Australia, but domestic factors are also playing a role,” said Governor Lowe.

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Want a first home buyer scheme spot? Here’s how to get the inside lane

Want a first home buyer scheme spot? Here’s how to get the inside lane

We’re just days away from 35,000 first home buyer scheme spots becoming available on July 1. If you’re keen to snare a place in the scheme – and buy your first home sooner – here’s how to get ahead of the pack.

Have you heard about the federal government’s Home Guarantee Scheme? (previously called the First Home Loan Deposit Scheme).

It allows you to buy your first home with just a 5% deposit and pay no lenders’ mortgage insurance (LMI)

First home buyers who use the scheme fast-track their property purchase by 4 to 4.5 years on average, because they don’t have to save the standard 20% deposit.

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Financial hardship arrangement reporting is about to change

Financial hardship arrangement reporting is about to change

With interest rates on the way back up, there’s no doubt some households around the country are starting to do it a bit tough. Coincidentally, some big changes kick in on July 1 when it comes to recording financial hardship arrangements.

In the past, if you were unable to meet your loan repayments, you could enter into a financial hardship arrangement with your lender and it couldn’t be reported in official credit reporting systems.

In many cases, the repayment history in your credit report would show a blank month or possibly a missed payment during the hardship arrangement period.

Neither of these two approaches told the full story about your credit history and that a financial arrangement had been agreed upon with your lender.

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Bridging Loan or Deposit Bond?

Bridging Loan or Deposit Bond?

When selling one property and purchasing another, the funds from the sale may not be available in time to use for the purchase deposit. There are typically two options in this scenario: a bridging loan or a deposit bond.

Bridging loan

A bridging loan is a short-term home loan designed to allow you to initiate the purchase of a property before you have sold your previous one.

Loan terms are often between six and 12 months and bridging loans generally have a higher interest rate than traditional home loans.

This can be a great option but carries some risk. It’s important to know that you will be able to make the repayments even in a worst-case scenario where your old house doesn’t sell as quickly as you’d hoped or where property values may change unexpectedly.

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How to buy without a 20% deposit

How to buy without a 20% deposit

 

When you consider that a small flat in Sydney could set you back half a million dollars at the moment, saving a 20% deposit to buy that flat – $100,000 – can seem an insurmountable task. That’s where insurance can help.

Lenders mortgage insurance (LMI) may be an added expense, but it offers buyers the opportunity to dive into the property market earlier, without saving up an entire 20 per cent of the property’s purchase price as a deposit.

What is it?

LMI protects the bank or lender, should a home loan go into default, guaranteeing that the lender will get its money back if the property needs to be sold and there is a shortfall in repaying the loan.

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