Updated on 26 October, 2020
RateCity Gold Awards 2020
Australia's best loans and lenders rated by the market leading RateCity Real Time Ratings™ system. Find out which product is worth your time with the RateCity Gold Award.
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Australia's most up-to-date product rankings
Every product is rated and ranked daily, to ensure you have the most accurate score to help you choose
Real Time Ratings™ unique to Australia
The Real Time Ratings™ are based on important deciding factors such as costs (rates and fees), features and fexibility.
Products that best match your individual needs are ranked against each other, making them easier to compare and select.
RateCity Gold Awards 2020
How RateCity works out the Gold Award
Over 4000 products were analysed and compared from a variety of lenders and providers, and only the top ten percent were deemed winners.
RateCity has been comparing financial products for more than 13 years, and this has enabled us to develop the market-leading Real Time Ratings™ system, the cornerstone of our awards.
RateCity’s Real Time Ratings™ gives every home loan in our database a score out of five, based on factors such as rate, fees, features, and flexibility.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a variable home loan?
A variable rate home loan is one where the interest rate can and will change over the course of your loan. The rate is determined by your lender, not the Reserve Bank of Australia, so while the cash rate might go down, your bank may decide not to follow suit, although they do broadly follow market conditions. One of the upsides of variable rates is that they are typically more flexible than their fixed rate counterparts which means that a lot of these products will let you make extra repayments and offer features such as offset accounts.
How can I negotiate a better home loan rate?
Negotiating with your bank can seem like a daunting task but if you have been a loyal customer with plenty of equity built up then you hold more power than you think. It’s highly likely your current lender won’t want to let your business go without a fight so if you do your research and find out what other banks are offering new customers you might be able to negotiate a reduction in interest rate, or a reduction in fees with your existing lender.
What is an ombudsman?
An complaints officer – previously referred to as an ombudsman -looks at formal complaints from customers about their credit providers, and helps to find a fair and independent solution to these problems.
These services are handled by the Australian Financial Complaints Authority, a non-profit government organisation that addresses and resolves financial disputes between customers and financial service providers.
How much of the RBA rate cut do lenders pass on to borrowers?
When the Reserve Bank of Australia cuts its official cash rate, there is no guarantee lenders will then pass that cut on to lenders by way of lower interest rates.
Sometimes lenders pass on the cut in full, sometimes they partially pass on the cut, sometimes they don’t at all. When they don’t, they often defend the decision by saying they need to balance the needs of their shareholders with the needs of their borrowers.
As the attached graph shows, more recent cuts have seen less lenders passing on the full RBA interest rate cut; the average lender was more likely to pass on about two-thirds of the 25 basis points cut to its borrowers.
How personalised is my rating?
Real Time Ratings produces instant scores for loan products and updates them based what you tell us about what you’re looking for in a loan. In that sense, we believe the ratings are as close as you get to personalised; the more you tell us, the more we customise to ratings to your needs. Some borrowers value flexibility, while others want the lowest cost loan. Your preferences will be reflected in the rating.
We also take a shorter term, more realistic view of how long borrowers hold onto their loan, which gives you a better idea about the true borrowing costs. We take your loan details and calculate how much each of the relevent loans would cost you on average each month over the next five years. We assess the overall flexibility of each loan and give you an easy indication of which ones are likely to adjust to your needs over time.
Do other comparison sites offer the same service?
Real Time RatingsTM is the only online system that ranks the home loan market based on your personal borrowing preferences. Until now, home loans have been rated based on outdated data. Our system is unique because it reacts to changes as soon as we update our database.
How does Real Time Ratings work?
Real Time RatingsTM looks at your individual home loan requirements and uses this information to rank every applicable home loan in our database out of five.
This score is based on two main factors – cost and flexibility.
Cost is calculated by looking at the interest rates and fees over the first five years of the loan.
Flexibility is based on whether a loan offers features such as an offset account, redraw facility and extra repayments.
Real Time RatingsTM also includes the following assumptions:
- Costs are calculated on the current variable rate however they could change in the future.
- Loans are assumed to be principal and interest
- Fixed-rate loans with terms greater than five years are still assessed on a five-year basis, so 10-year fixed loans are assessed as being only five years’ long.
- Break costs are not included.
Mortgage Calculator, Repayment Type
Will you pay off the amount you borrowed + interest or just the interest for a period?
What fees are there when buying a house?
Buying a home comes with ‘hidden fees’ that should be factored in when considering how much the total cost of your new home will be. These can include stamp duty, title registration costs, building inspection fees, loan establishment fee, lenders mortgage insurance (LMI), legal fees and bank valuation costs.
Some of these fees can be taken out of the mix, such as LMI, if you have a big enough deposit or by asking your lender to waive establishment fees for your loan. Even so, fees can run into the thousands of dollars on top of the purchase price.
Keep this in mind when deciding if you are ready to make the move in to the property market.
What is the flexibility score?
Today’s home loans often try to lure borrowers with a range of flexible features, including offset accounts, redraw facilities, repayment frequency options, repayment holidays, split loan options and portability. Real Time Ratings™ weights each of these features based on popularity and gives loans a ‘flexibility score’ based on how much they cater to borrowers’ needs over time. The aim is to give a higher score to loans which give borrowers more features and options.
How can I avoid mortgage insurance?
Lenders mortgage insurance (LMI) can be avoided by having a substantial deposit saved up before you apply for a loan, usually around 20 per cent or more (or a LVR of 80 per cent or less). This amount needs to be considered genuine savings by your lender so it has to have been in your account for three months rather than a lump sum that has just been deposited.
Some lenders may even require a six months saving history so the best way to ensure you don’t end up paying LMI is to plan ahead for your home loan and save regularly.
Tip: You can use RateCity mortgage repayment calculator to calculate your LMI based on your borrowing profile
What is upfront fee?
An ‘upfront’ or ‘application’ fee is a one-off expense you are charged by your bank when you take out a loan. The average start-up fee is around $600 however there are over 1,000 loans on the market with none at all. If the loan you want does include an application fee, try and negotiate to have it waived. You’ll be surprised what your bank agrees to when they want your business.
What is a cooling-off period?
Once a home loan’s contracts are exchanged between the borrower and the lender, a five-day cooling-off period follows, during which the contracts may be cancelled if needed.
What is a standard variable rate (SVR)?
The standard variable rate (SVR) is the interest rate a lender applies to their standard home loan. It is a variable interest rate which is normally used as a benchmark from which they price their other variable rate home loan products.
A standard variable rate home loan typically includes most, if not all the features the lender has on offer, such as an offset account, but it often comes with a higher interest rate attached than their most ‘basic’ product on offer (usually referred to as their basic variable rate mortgage).
What is appraised value?
An estimation of a property’s value before beginning the mortgage approval process. An appraiser (or valuer) is an expert who estimates the value of a property. The lender generally selects the appraiser or valuer before sanctioning the loan.
Mortgage Calculator, Interest Rate
The percentage of the loan amount you will be charged by your lender to borrow.
How much is the first home buyer's grant?
The first home buyer grant amount will vary depending on what state you’re in and the value of the property that you are purchasing. In general, they start around $10,000 but it is advisable to check your eligibility for the grant as well as how much you are entitled to with your state or territory’s revenue office.
How can I get a home loan with bad credit?
If you want to get a home loan with bad credit, you need to convince a lender that your problems are behind you and that you will, indeed, be able to repay a mortgage.
One step you might want to take is to visit a mortgage broker who specialises in bad credit home loans (also known as ‘non-conforming home loans’ or ‘sub-prime home loans’). An experienced broker will know which lenders to approach, and how to plead your case with each of them.
Two points to bear in mind are:
- Many home loan lenders don’t provide bad credit mortgages
- Each lender has its own policies, and therefore favours different things
If you’d prefer to directly approach the lender yourself, you’re more likely to find success with smaller non-bank lenders that specialise in bad credit home loans (as opposed to bigger banks that prefer ‘vanilla’ mortgages). That’s because these smaller lenders are more likely to treat you as a unique individual rather than judge you according to a one-size-fits-all policy.
Lenders try to minimise their risk, so if you want to get a home loan with bad credit, you need to do everything you can to convince lenders that you’re safer than your credit history might suggest. If possible, provide paperwork that shows:
- You have a secure job
- You have a steady income
- You’ve been reducing your debts
- You’ve been increasing your savings
How can I calculate interest on my home loan?
You can calculate the total interest you will pay over the life of your loan by using a mortgage calculator. The calculator will estimate your repayments based on the amount you want to borrow, the interest rate, the length of your loan, whether you are an owner-occupier or an investor and whether you plan to pay ‘principal and interest’ or ‘interest-only’.
If you are buying a new home, the calculator will also help you work out how much you’ll need to pay in stamp duty and other related costs.
What is stamp duty?