Why has my Investment Loan interest rate increased?

I’ve had many discussions with clients over the past few months about the increases to investment loan or interest only loan rates, in many cases where the increases have been substantial.

In short this has occurred because APRA, the banking regulator has placed limits on the amount of investor lender and interest only lending that the Banks can provide.

The Banks have implemented this in a few ways:

  • Tighter Lending Criteria
    Stricter assessment of applications to make it more difficult for customers to obtain finance.
  • Higher Interest Rates
    The old Demand & Supply lever – raise your rates and demand will soften. Interestingly, this has been applied to the Banks existing loans as well as new lending whereas the APRA controls relate to new lending.

The result has been marked differences between the interest rates charged for Owner Occupied lending and rates charged for Investment Loans – in some cases more than 1% difference.

So why isn’t the Government or the Reserve Bank doing something about it?

Quite simply, it’s what they want to happen. The Banks are doing some of the dirty work that the Reserve Bank (who control monetary policy) and the Federal Government (who control fiscal policy) don’t want to do.

The Reserve Bank doesn’t want to lift rates across the board because many parts of Australia are not seeing the prosperity and growth that households are enjoying in Sydney and Melbourne. Unfortunately they can’t have one policy for regional Australia and another one for the major cities.

The Government wants to be able to say that investors are paying their fair share, and that there is no need to wind back Capital Gains concessions or Negative Gearing. For them it’s political as much as economical. Perversely, the higher interest rates will only result in higher deductions against rental income and bigger tax returns for investors.

So what should I do about it?

1) Check to make sure that your Owner-Occupied Home Loan is classified as such and not classified as an investment loan. You’ll save a lot by making that change. There are other tips and techniques you can use to pay down that loan faster.

2) Check to see that any increases, top ups or variations to your loan have been priced and classified correctly. If you are unsure best to check with a Broker

3) If you are paying interest only and can afford to change it to Principal & Interest, it may be worth doing so, particularly if the loan is in relation to your main home. If the interest is not providing you with a tax deduction you should strongly consider switching to Principal repayments as well.

Finally, let a Broker have a look and see whether you have the optimal set up and rate structure across your Owner Occupied and Investment Lending. Savings are likely available. There are options available to have your investment loan priced as if it were a owner occupied loan. You just need to know where to find it.

Douglas Piening is a Mortgage and Finance Broker with Choice Home Loans and is passionate about providing advice you can trust. Whether it’s buying a home, refinancing a loan, investing, building or renovating, Doug brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to assist with your lending needs. 

You can contact Doug at (e) douglas.piening@choicehomeloans.com.au or (m)  0408 671 524.

Want to hear what clients have said about working with Doug? Take a look at these reviews from LinkedIn and Facebook.

This information is of a general nature only and does not constitute professional advice. You should always seek professional advice in relation to your particular circumstances.

Tips for saving for a deposit

For first home buyers, saving a deposit can be tough, here are three winning tips to help set you on your way to home ownership.

 

Put your goals in writing

Setting a financial goal will make it much easier to plan and save successfully. Make a conscious effort to track your expenses so you can see where your money’s going and cut back where you can. Small sacrifices, such as taking the bus instead of a taxi, cutting back on buying coffee or bringing your lunch to work can also go a long way towards helping you save.

 

Beat the credit monster

Credit card debt, unpaid bills and personal loan repayments can be major setbacks to your saving efforts. As part of your saving strategy get these debts paid off. Start by paying off debts with the highest interest rate – typically your credit card. If you can’t pay it off in one lump sum, ensure that you pay more than the minimum monthly repayment. You’ll not only slash your debt, you’ll also have extra funds to channel into other debt commitments or savings.

 

Make your savings work harder for you

Making cutbacks on your lifestyle is one thing, but putting that money to use is another. Remove the temptation to spend your savings by arranging a set amount to be taken out of your pay each month and put directly into a savings account. Shop around, and seek a high interest rate savings account to get the best returns – many banks offer an online high interest account that you can squirrel those savings in to.

 

If you are looking at buying a first home, be sure to get in touch to talk through your options. You can contact Doug at (e) douglas.piening@choicehomeloans.com.au or (m)  0408 671 524.

Douglas Piening is a Mortgage and Finance Broker with Choice Home Loans and is passionate about providing advice you can trust. Whether it’s buying a home, refinancing a loan, investing, building or renovating, Doug brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to assist with your lending needs. 

Want to hear what clients have said about working with Doug? Take a look at these reviews from LinkedIn and Facebook.

This information is of a general nature only and does not constitute professional advice. You should always seek professional advice in relation to your particular circumstances.

 

Home Loans 101: Understanding loan options

Loan options can be confusing to those new to mortgages, or sometimes even those that have had home loans for years.

Here’s a 101 to get you up to speed on loan types:

1) Basic home loans

Basic home loans or ‘no frills’ loans offer borrowers a loan with a low interest rate. This interest and principal repayment loan can be popular with first home buyers. A basic home loan’s interest rate can be half to one per cent below the standard variable rate, which is sometimes combined with minimal ongoing fees. Potential drawbacks can include limited features, less flexibility, and additional charges if you decide to switch loans or pay the loan off sooner.

2) Fixed-rate home loans

Worried about rising interest rates? A fixed-rate home loan will allow you to fix your interest rate for a specific period, usually from one to five years. It can be a sound option when interest rates are on the rise, or in times of economic uncertainty. Should interest rates plummet, however, you’ll still have to pay off your mortgage at the fixed-rate until the end of the agreed fixed-rate period. Additionally, keep in mind that you may be charged a fee commonly called a break cost or economic cost, should you decide to break your fixed term or switch to another product. You may also be limited in making extra repayments.

3) Standard variable-rate home loans

A popular mainstream choice, standard variable-rate interest and principal home loans allow you to borrow money for a set period of time, during which you make regular repayments. The interest rate can vary depending on fluctuations in the official cash rate, so it is likely to go up or down depending on the market cycle.

4) Split-rate home loans

Want the best of both worlds? A split-rate home loan offers both flexibility and security. A good product for both first time and existing borrowers, split loans allow you to customise your loan’s interest rate as you see fit: fixing a portion of your interest rate to give certainty to your monthly repayments during the fixed-rate term should rates increase, but also flexibility through taking out a variable-rate portion.

5) Interest-only home loans

Interest-only loans offer borrowers lower repayment options, while maintaining many of a traditional loan’s features. This type of loan allows you to pay only the interest component on a mortgage; it does not reduce the principal component. They are a popular choice for investors seeking good capital appreciation on their investments.

6) Low-doc home loans

If you’re self-employed, a contractor or a seasonal worker and do not have a regular income, a low-doc loan may best suit your situation.

 

Different home loan options may or may not suit you depending on your circumstances. It may also be a matter of personal choice, whether you prefer to fix in your rates for certainty, or prefer to stick with the market rate with a standard variable loan.

If you have any questions about loan types don’t hesitate to ask.

 

Want trusted advice on which loan type best suits your needs and circumstances? You can contact Doug at (e) douglas.piening@choicehomeloans.com.au or (m)  0408 671 524.

Douglas Piening is a Mortgage and Finance Broker with Choice Home Loans and is passionate about providing advice you can trust. Whether it’s buying a home, refinancing a loan, investing, building or renovating, Doug brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to assist with your lending needs. 

Want to hear what clients have said about working with Doug? Take a look at these reviews from LinkedIn and Facebook.

This information is of a general nature only and does not constitute professional advice. You should always seek professional advice in relation to your particular circumstances.

 

Understanding first home owner grants and concessions

 

Clients of mine recently purchased an apartment off the plan for $550,000 in Melbourne. As (1) they had never owned property in Australia (2) the property they were purchasing had never previously been lived in and (3) the property was valued at under $750,000, they were entitled to a $10,000 First Home Owners Grant from the Victorian State Government. In addition to the First Home Owners Grant, they were also entitled to a Stamp Duty Concession – a 50% reduction. As they had purchased the property off the plan, the Stamp Duty was approximately $3,000, so with a 50% reduction, they saved around $1,500 in Stamp Duty. 

Before you start searching for your first home, it pays to know where you stand on any government concessions that might help you out. These concessions tend to vary state by state and situation by situation, so if you need an explanation, please get in touch and we can discuss how they work.

First Home Owner Grant

The First Home Owner Grant (FHOG) scheme was introduced on 1 July 2000 to offset the effect of the GST on home ownership. Under the scheme, a one-off grant is payable to first home owners that satisfy all the eligibility criteria. Although it is a national scheme, it is funded by the states and territories and administered under their own legislation.

For information on the FHOG in your specific state you can visit firsthome.gov.au .

Stamp duty breaks and concessions

Some of Australia’s state governments have concession waivers of the stamp duty associated with a property purchase.

Stamp duty is a tax applied to certain property transitions. When land is sold, transferred or leased, for example, stamp duty is generally payable. It is usually the buyer, not the seller, who is liable to pay stamp duty. Payment must generally be made within three months of entering into the contract for purchasing the property. The amount of stamp duty payable depends on the value of the property and the amount for which it is sold, transferred or leased. It is calculated on its market value or the price paid by the buyer.

Each state government has its own rules surrounding stamp duty on property purchases. For this reason, the exemptions and concessions available differ from state to state.

Some first home buyers, vacant land holders, and farm buyers may be entitled to some exemption or discount on stamp duty. You can check out whether any apply to you by contacting the revenue office in your state or territory (see the list below for details).

More information

You can also find further information on the First Home Owner Grant or details on stamp duty breaks on your state’s relevant government office website.
ACT – revenue.act.gov.au
NSW – osr.nsw.gov.au
NT – nt.gov.au/ntt/revenue
QLD – osr.qld.gov.au
SA – revenuesa.sa.gov.au
TAS – sro.tas.gov.au
VIC – sro.vic.gov.au
WA – osr.wa.gov.au

 

Don’t worry if you find eligibility criteria for First Home Owners Grants and Stamp Duty Concessions confusing – you are not alone! Get in touch and we will let you know (in an jargon free way!) how these might apply to the purchase of your first home. You can contact Doug at (e) douglas.piening@choicehomeloans.com.au or (m)  0408 671 524.

 

Douglas Piening is a Mortgage and Finance Broker with Choice Home Loans and is passionate about providing advice you can trust. Whether it’s buying a home, refinancing a loan, investing, building or renovating, Doug brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to assist with your lending needs. 

Want to hear what clients have said about working with Doug? Take a look at these reviews from LinkedIn and Facebook.

This information is of a general nature only and does not constitute professional advice. You should always seek professional advice in relation to your particular circumstances.

*Note: Details are current as at publish date and should be confirmed with your local Office of State Revenue or equivalent body.

Understanding Lenders Mortgage Insurance (LMI)

Clients of mine who are first home buyers have saved a $50,000 deposit and are looking to buy a property for around $550,00. Given that their deposit is around 9% of their purchase price, they are required to pay Lenders Mortgage Insurance (LMI). Based on their deposit amount and property purchase price, the LMI is approximately $13,450, which they will add to the total cost of their loan and pay off over the life of the loan. 

 

As a general rule, if your deposit is less than 20 per cent of the value of the property, you will need to pay for Lenders Mortgage Insurance (LMI). There are also some specific cases that require a higher than 20% deposit, depending on the type and style of property you’re purchasing – for example, some inner-city apartments or rural land.

Why do lenders insist on LMI?

The lower your deposit as a percentage of the purchase price of the property, the higher the lender views their risk in the event that you fail to meet mortgage payments and the property needs to be repossessed and resold. It is important to be aware that LMI only covers the lender if you default on your loan payments (and the lender is unable to secure the full outstanding debt still owing, when they sell your property). LMI does not provide you with any cover.

How much does LMI cost?

The bigger the percentage of the property’s purchase price you have to borrow, the greater the amount you’re likely to pay for insurance.

A handy site that offers an approximate guide on how much LMI may cost is the LMI Premium Estimator on the Gemworth website. For a more exact calculation on LMI, it is best to get in touch to work through what it might be for your specific situation.

 

How is LMI paid?

LMI is usually paid as a one-off lump sum at the time of settlement but in many cases it can also be added into the loan amount and paid off over the life of the loan – a term known as capitalising the LMI. LMI is always paid directly to the lender as part of the settlement and the lender then uses their preferred insurer.

Why would you pay LMI? Why not wait until you have 20% deposit?

Lenders Mortgage Insurance (LMI) allows some buyers to enter the market earlier than they could if they had to wait until they have the required deposit to ‘avoid’ LMI. For first home buyers, particularly those struggling to save a deposit in an environment of rising house prices, but more than comfortable to meet their mortgage repayments, it can be a key tool to break free from renting and get into the property market.

 

If you need any information on Lenders Mortgage Insurance, or are looking at buying a first home, be sure to get in touch. You can contact Doug at (e) douglas.piening@choicehomeloans.com.au or (m)  0408 671 524.

Douglas Piening is a Mortgage and Finance Broker with Choice Home Loans and is passionate about providing advice you can trust. Whether it’s buying a home, refinancing a loan, investing, building or renovating, Doug brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to assist with your lending needs. 

Want to hear what clients have said about working with Doug? Take a look at these reviews from LinkedIn and Facebook.

This information is of a general nature only and does not constitute professional advice. You should always seek professional advice in relation to your particular circumstances.

 

 

 

Will interest rates increase in 2017?

Interest rates have been at historical lows for such a long time, home owners could be forgiven for forgetting what it is like for rates to rise.

 

In recent weeks though, major lenders have increased their fixed term rates, across several loan terms (two, three and five year terms). A rise in fixed rates usually signals a rise in the cost of funding, which may translate into rises in variable interest rates as well. Westpac, Bank of Melbourne, Ubank and Commonwealth have all increased some of their fixed loan products, some up to 60 bases points higher.

 

While you probably need a crystal ball to accurately predict if rates will rises or fall, there is increasing noise from some industry experts that variable interest rates will rise in the back half of 2017.*

If this the case, it will be the first time the market will have had a rate rise since November 2010.

Predicting whether the RBA will change the official interest rate requires complex consideration of the Australian economy in terms of inflation, industry sector growth or decline and unemployment or wages growth and the impact of the global economy. Against this backdrop though, there is the school of thought that there is significant risk in a continued lending boom which fuels housing growth and negatively impacts housing affordability.

 

So if interest rates rise what does it mean for you?

 

The impact of rate rises really comes down to your individual circumstances. Some of the things you could do to prepare for possible interest rate rises:

 

 Mini house with money on blue

Build yourself a buffer

One of the best things you can do to minimise the impact of a rate rise, is to pay off your mortgage faster than your required repayments and build yourself a buffer. That way if rates rise, you are paying less interest from either a reduced principle, or the impact of more money in your offset account. And if you find yourself in need of extra cash to make repayments, you have this available to you. It also gets you used to paying at a higher rate so you don’t feel the impact of any rate rises.

 

Interest Rates

Lock in a fixed rate

This may be an option for you if you want certainty and to hedge your bets against any rises. There are some disadvantages to locking in a fixed rate which you need to be aware of though, you can read more here on fixing loans. Given that fixed rates have already gone up though for many lenders, the horse may have already bolted. I am not the biggest fan of fixed rates but they can provide certainty for a locked in period of time.

 

Plan ahead

It can help to plan ahead to determine the impact on you if rates were to rise on your current loan. Look for an online calculator to see the impact on your repayments if interest rates were to go up, or ask your broker to calculate this for you. Would this amount cause issues with your current budget? Or are there are things that are changing for you in the future that might impact on your ability to pay your mortgage, like a new baby, or a change to your work circumstances? If you think there are things that might impact on your ability to service your mortgage you might want to look at possible strategies, like restructuring your loan.

 

We will have to wait and see if the predictions are true on rate rises. If you have any questions or need any information on current rates, please get in touch.

 

You can contact Doug at (e) douglas.piening@choicehomeloans.com.au or (m)  0408 671 524.

Douglas Piening is a Mortgage and Finance Broker with Choice Home Loans and is passionate about providing advice you can trust. Whether it’s buying a home, refinancing a loan, investing, building or renovating, Doug brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to assist with your lending needs. 

Want to hear what clients have said about working with Doug? Take a look at these reviews from LinkedIn and Facebook.

This information is of a general nature only and does not constitute professional advice. You should always seek professional advice in relation to your particular circumstances.

 

Sources:

  1. http://www.domain.com.au/news/the-five-things-on-the-agenda-for-sydneys-property-market-in-2017-20161211-gt8v8g/
  2. http://www.afr.com/news/economy/get-ready-for-2017-reserve-bank-of-australia-rate-hikes-says-oecd-20161128-gsz5k4
  3. http://www.afr.com/real-estate/residential/syd-melb-house-prices-to-rise-but-building-boom-to-end-hsbc-20170110-gtopcs
  4. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-12-09/interest-rates-on-mortgages-likely-to-rise/8106180

5 simple financial New Year’s resolutions

The new year is here and after an indulgent holiday break most of us are happily fixated on health goals. Kale sales will no doubt sky rocket in the next couple of weeks, along with gym memberships, as we all vow to lose five kilos. But what about ‘financial health’ resolutions for 2017?

With a little focus and thought (while jogging at the gym in the first couple of weeks of January?) we can also get our finances in great shape.

Here’s 5 simple ways that each take 15 mins or less.

 

  1. Calculate your net worth

The new year is a good time to get a clear picture of where you are at financially. Calculating your net worth is the financial equivalent of putting yourself on the scales. Add up your assets and liabilities and get yourself to a net worth figure as the starting point for your financial resolutions for 2017. And by assets I mean your house, investments, shares, superannuation (we are not talking assets of the genetic variety unless you happen to be a Victoria Secret model). Debts are thing such as credit card debt, personal loans, mortgages and investment loans.

Time = 10 minutes

 

  1. Work out what it’s all for

Many Australians put financial goals in the too hard, or ‘I’ll get around to that’ basket. If you don’t have clear financial goals, sit yourself down for 15 minutes, alone, or with a partner or your family and work out what it is that you want. Do you want to own your home by 50? Head to Europe for 6 weeks next year? Build a new house by 2020? Take a year off work? Write down your short and long term goals. If you do have financial goals already set, the new year is a great time to review these and see if they still apply and how you tracked against them in 2016.

Time = 15 minutes

 

  1. Get the credit card under control

How are the credit cards looking? Were they hit hard pre Christmas, or the boxing day sales?! We all know credit card debt has significantly higher interest than residential mortgages and repayment minimums are set low. It is easier than ever to rack up credit card debt.

If you have $4,400 of credit card debt and only make the minimum repayments, it will take you 31 years to pay it off and cost you around $14,900 in interest.*

Set yourself a goal to get any credit card debt paid off as soon as possible. If it is all looking a bit difficult, you can look at consolidating debt to make it one payment at a lower interest rate. If you need any advice or assistance with debt consolidation please get in touch.

Time = 10 minutes

 

  1. Pay extra off your mortgage

In the classic ‘pay yourself first’ way of saving, can you make additional payments on your mortgage in 2017? For example, a couple with a $400,000 mortgage could save around $50,000 and pay off their debt almost four years earlier by contributing $200 extra monthly,’ If you decide you want to make extra repayments, consider automating your payment, that way you’ll be saving without much thought, and have no excuse for not making payments.

Time = 10 mins to set up automatic payment

 

  1. Start planting some ‘investment’ trees

In the words of billionaire investor Warren Buffet “Someone’s sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.” If you don’t currently have investments, you could start thinking about or researching investing. While there is no guarantee on any investment asset type, whether that’s property investment, shares, having either equity (cash) or debt (loan) funded investments can be a significant way to build wealth over time. If you already have investments, take the time to stop and review your current investment strategy – are you happy with your current leverage? (debt to equity ratio), investment mix and amount of investments? And don’t forget, your Mortgage Broker can also assist with investment loans for property or shares.

Time = 15 minutes

 

So skip the Netflix binge for a night and set yourself up for a financially healthy 2017! A small investment of your time can pay big dividends.

 

Douglas Piening is a Mortgage and Finance Broker with Choice Home Loans and is passionate about providing advice you can trust. Whether it’s buying a home, refinancing a loan, investing, building or renovating, Doug brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to assist with your lending needs. 

You can contact Doug at (e) douglas.piening@choicehomeloans.com.au or (m)  0408 671 524.

Want to hear what clients have said about working with Doug? Take a look at these reviews from LinkedIn and Facebook.

This information is of a general nature only and does not constitute professional advice. You should always seek professional advice in relation to your particular circumstances.

*Source: ASCI Moneysmart https://www.moneysmart.gov.au/borrowing-and-credit/credit-cards/credit-card-debt-clock

 

 

Want to knock down and build multiple dwellings?

As the population in our major cities continues to grow and with the centralisation of the workforce there is an increasing trend toward greater density of population and smaller households. What does this mean? It means where there used to be warehouses there are now blocks of apartments and where there used to be a single family home, now there are quite often two or more dwellings on the site.

If you are thinking of knocking down an old house and re-building multiple dwellings, there are a number of considerations that should be taken into account.

 

Where do I start?

It is important to get a few good people in your corner.

  • A property surveyor or town planning consultant should be able to guide you through the initial stages and help you navigate approvals and town planning
  • A good Mortgage Broker will be able to provide guidance on the best options to finance your project.
  • A reputable builder who has experience with this type of construction will help you avoid some pitfalls.
  • A Real Estate Agent with expertise in the local market will know what price your property can achieve

There will no doubt be some challenges (there nearly always is!) but it can be a worthwhile and profitable exercise if undertaken properly.

 

Size does matter

The size and dimension of a block will be a major determinant on what type of multi dwelling structure (if any) can be built on the block. Setbacks (how far back from the street a dwelling must be) as well as Easements (property clear ways) and Covenants (restrictions on use) must all be well understood. Council Planners will have guidelines on exactly what can and cannot be done on a particular block.

The location of driveways, height restrictions and limits on size per dwelling will all have a major impact on the viability of the project.

 

Do the economics stack up?

Some back of the envelope number crunching will be able to tell you whether or not what you are looking at is viable. Know your costs and build in a buffer. Do your research into what Townhouses and Units are selling for and it is essential to know what your land is worth.  A Real Estate Agent will be able to help you estimate the selling price for the property once it is built or you can engage the services of a Property Valuation service.  Winston Lo from Hot Spot Property agrees “There can be a great deal of value created with the right kind of build and the right location, but it can be a costly mistake if you don’t get it right.”

 

Quality considerations

Depending on whether you want to live in or sell a particular dwelling will influence the decisions you make in relation to the property fit out. If you have a passion for pink, then by all means fit out your pad in the shades that you desire, however if you are selling, then maybe neutral tones are a bit wiser.  Same theory applies for your choice of fittings, blinds, flooring and the like – generally steer away from the more divisive styles and stick with more popular ones, even if they aren’t necessarily to your own taste!

 

Standard build or custom designer?

Your budget and quality considerations will influence whether or not you engage an architect to plan and design the property of your dreams or select from designs that are already in existence. Builders such as Metricon and Porter Davis have options for builders which offer standardized designs and supporting service, however with minimal modifications at a relatively low cost compared to alternatives that are custom designed.  If you are targeting a higher end sale, then a more custom designed property with all the bells and whistles may be more what you’re after.

 

Is the Taxman going to be interested in this?

If you have previously lived in the property before knocking it down, part of your project may be exempt from Capital Gains Tax.  Narelle Pasavento from Prosper Advisory advises clients on these matters “There are a range of income tax, capital gains tax and GST issues that need to be considered when thinking about building/developing. In many circumstances some profits can be subject to income tax.   It is important to speak to an Accountant early as everyone’s circumstances are different.”

 

Getting approvals

Every council will have rules and regulations around what can and can’t be done with your knockdown and multiple dwelling. This includes building permits, demolition permits, dual occupancy permits and sub-division permits.  A building surveyor or planning consultant will be able to guide you through the process, or your builder if you have engaged one will be able to assist.

 

Will I be able to get Finance?

Unless you are in the fortunate position of not needing it, you will need to go through the process of obtaining finance for your build. Some lenders specialize in lending for these kinds of projects and your Mortgage Broker will be able to help you find the best lender and the best rate for your project.  The valuation for the project is key to determining the funding available and will depend on the value of the land, the cost of the build and the quality of the fittings used.

 

 

Interested in a knock down and build?

If you want to talk through options you can get in touch for a free, no obligation chat.  

You can contact Doug at (e) douglas.piening@choicehomeloans.com.au or (m)  0408 671 524.

 

Douglas Piening is a Mortgage and Finance Broker with Choice Home Loans and is passionate about providing clients with lending advice they can trust. Whether it’s re-financing an existing property, buying a new or next home, or investing, he brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to assisting clients with their lending needs. 

Want to hear what clients have said about working with Doug? Take a look at these reviews from LinkedIn and Facebook.

This information is of a general nature only and does not constitute professional advice. You should always seek professional advice in relation to your particular circumstances.

What is a good interest rate? How do you know if you have one?

Your mortgage is likely to be your single biggest monthly expense and yet you might (like many people) struggle to know what interest rate you are paying, let alone whether or not you are getting a ‘good deal’.

The difference in interest rates can be significant. The best rate in the market at the moment (after the recent rate cut) is around 3.8% and the highest rate (for low doc loans) are over 6.0%. A whopping variation of 2.4% ($12,000 in interest per year on a $500,000 loan – cash you would much rather have in your back pocket!!).

What impacts on the interest rate of your home loan?

There are several factors that will impact on the interest rate you have from your lender;

  1. The features you want
  2. The total amount you are borrowing
  3. The Loan to Value Ratio (LVR)
  4. Principle and Interest or Interest Only
  5. Owner Occupied or Investor

 

1) Features

As with many things in life, when it comes to a Home Loan you generally get what you pay for. If you want to buy a new car, you can choose to pay a little extra for DVD players, leather seats, carpet and window tint. With a Home Loan, it is no different except the sort of features that you will be looking at include Offset, Redraw and Fee Free Credit Cards.

And the reality of Home Loan pricing is that consumers tend to pay a premium for convenience. If you want to have all of your banking within the same institution, seamlessly linked as much as possible you will generally be getting a Home Loan package and this may come with a slightly higher interest rate to cover these features.

For example, a no frills home loan only available through a broker could be as low as 3.88% and a full package loan through the big lenders will be somewhat more expensive, anywhere from 4.2% upwards.

 

2) Total borrowing amount

Generally the higher the amount of money you are borrowing, the larger the discount the big banks will be willing to offer you off their standard variable rates (subject to their other criteria, more on that later). The non-bank lenders don’t tend to offer these same discounts as their advertised rates already incorporate a discounted rate. 

For example, with a recent home loan over $1.0 m, I negotiated a discount of 1.3% off the standard variable rate, reducing the standard variable rate down to 4.26%. Another client, with a total borrowing of $400,000 the discount negotiated was 1.1%, taking the standard variable rate down to 4.38%.

 

3) The Loan to Value Ratio (LVR)

The smaller the loan in relation to the value of the property the better the price generally available. The best discounts will be available for LVR’s that are 80% or below. The higher your LVR gets, the higher the risk to the lender, so the lower the discount. And in some cases, if the LVR is too high (over 95%) the banks won’t lend at all, let alone offer discount.

 

4) Principle and Interest or Interest Only

Principle and Interest loans will attract higher discounts than Interest Only Loans. The regulator (APRA) sees interest only loans as somewhat risky and fueling speculative investment. They want to see borrowers paying down loans and have put pressure on lenders in recent years to reduce the availability of interest only loans.

For example, a client recently wanted to change over their investment loan from Interest Only to Principle and Interest in order to reduce interest payments and the discount increased by 0.2%. 

 

5) Owner Occupied or Investor

In July 2015, the regulator (APRA) imposed guidelines on lenders to take the heat out of the property market by restricting the growth in investor lending to under 10% a year. This now means that borrowing for investment purposes now attracts a premium, and most lenders have separate rates for investment loans to owner occupied loans.

For example, the current standard variable rate for ANZ is 5.56% for Owner Occupied and 5.83% for Investors (a difference of 0.27%).

 

 And the impact of set and forget!

And a final word – borrowers who don’t regularly review their lending will also pay a premium as discounts offered years earlier may now be well below that available in the market today. Banks have relied on people to ‘set and forget’ and it’s the age old saying “don’t ask, don’t get”.

One of my clients had been paying 4.93% on an investment loan (with a discount of 0.9% that had been put in place 3 years ago). With additional negotiation I was able to reduce the rate to 4.58% (a total discount of 1.25%) saving over $3,000 per year in interest.

What rate do you have currently? Do you think it is a ‘good rate’?

If you aren’t sure, the best way to know if you have a ‘good rate’ is to get in touch for a free, no obligation, 30 minute home loan health check. 

You can contact Doug at (e) douglas.piening@choicehomeloans.com.au or (m)  0408 671 524.

 

Douglas Piening is a Mortgage and Finance Broker with Choice Home Loans and is passionate about providing clients with lending advice they can trust. Whether it’s re-financing an existing property, buying a new or next home, or investing, he brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to assisting clients with their lending needs. 

 

Want to hear what clients have said about working with Doug? Take a look at these reviews from LinkedIn and Facebook.

This information is of a general nature only and does not constitute professional advice. You should always seek professional advice in relation to your particular circumstances.