Has your lender passed on the savings?

Has your lender passed on the savings?

Even if they didn’t back a winning horse in the race that stops a nation, Australian homeowners still scored a victory on Melbourne Cup Day, with news that the Reserve Bank dropped the official cash interest rate by 0.25 percent, to 4.50 percent.

Before the cut, the rate had been on hold at 4.75 percent since Melbourne Cup Day 2010, when the RBA dampened spirits with a 25 basis point increase. But it had been more than two and a half years since the RBA last dropped interest rates, back in April 2009.

According to RateCity CEO Damian Smith, the reduction in rates is welcome news for homeowners with variable rate mortgages, and he has urged Australia’s lenders to pass on the rate cut in full.

Indeed, Westpac was the first of the major banks to deliver the 0.25 percent rate cut to its customers, closely followed by the Commonwealth Bank and later ANZ. NAB has since announced it will reduce some of its variable rates by 20 basis points. At the time of writing, other lenders to serve up interest rate reductions included the Bank of Queensland, the Bank of Melbourne, Bankwest, ING Direct and ME Bank.

If your lender cuts rates

For homeowners, an interest rate reduction means potential repayment savings of around $46 per month, or $550 per year, on the average 25-year mortgage of $288,300.

However, despite the temptation to pocket this unexpected windfall, Smith says borrowers should use the rate reprieve as an opportunity to get ahead on their mortgage. RateCity’s calculations show that homeowners who maintain their current level of repayments ($2058 per month on a $288,300 home loan) could save more than $21,000 in interest over the life of their loan.

For a better idea of how interest rate cuts will affect you and your mortgage, you can head to RateCity’s mortgage calculator.

If your lender doesn’t cut rates

Interestingly, the National Australia Bank did not follow the other major banks by delivering a full rate cut, instead passing on only a 0.20 percent reduction. This works out at a saving of $37 per month for NAB customers, which is still significant, with the bank justifying its decision on the basis that it has the lowest mortgage rates among the major banks. Even so, Smith says customers of lenders who don’t pass on the full interest rate reduction should consider shopping around for a better deal because by switching to a cheaper lender you could potentially save thousands of dollars.

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Learn more about home loans

What happens to my home loan when interest rates rise?

If you are on a variable rate home loan, every so often your rate will be subject to increases and decreases. Rate changes are determined by your lender, not the Reserve Bank of Australia, however often when the RBA changes the cash rate, a number of banks will follow suit, at least to some extent. You can use RateCity cash rate to check how the latest interest rate change affected your mortgage interest rate.

When your rate rises, you will be required to pay your bank more each month in mortgage repayments. Similarly, if your interest rate is cut, then your monthly repayments will decrease. Your lender will notify you of what your new repayments will be, although you can do the calculations yourself, and compare other home loan rates using our mortgage calculator.

There is no way of conclusively predicting when interest rates will go up or down on home loans so if you prefer a more stable approach consider opting for a fixed rate loan.

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.  image002

Mortgage Calculator, Deposit

The proportion you have already saved to go towards your home. 

Mortgage Balance

The amount you currently owe your mortgage lender. If you are not sure, enter your best estimate.

Mortgage Calculator, Repayments

The money you pay back to your lender at regular intervals. 

Mortgage Calculator, Repayment Frequency

How often you wish to pay back your lender. 

How can I get a home loan with no deposit?

Following the Global Financial Crisis, no-deposit loans, as they once used to be known, have largely been removed from the market. Now, if you wish to enter the market with no deposit, you will require a property of your own to secure a loan against or the assistance of a guarantor.

What happens to your mortgage when you die?

There is no hard and fast answer to what will happen to your mortgage when you die as it is largely dependent on what you have set out in your mortgage agreement, your will (if you have one), other assets you may have and if you have insurance. If you have co-signed the mortgage with another person that person will become responsible for the remaining debt when you die.

If the mortgage is in your name only the house will be sold by the bank to cover the remaining debt and your nominated air will receive the remaining sum if there is a difference. If there is a turn in the market and the sale of your house won’t cover the remaining debt the case may go to court and the difference may have to be covered by the sale of other assets.  

If you have a life insurance policy your family may be able to use some of the lump sum payment from this to pay down the remaining mortgage debt. Alternatively, your lender may provide some form of mortgage protection that could assist your family in making repayments following your passing.

What is a valuation and valuation fee?

A valuation is an assessment of what your home is worth, calculated by a professional valuer. A valuation report is typically required whenever a property is bought, sold or refinanced. The valuation fee is paid to cover the cost of preparing a valuation report.

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. 

Mortgage Calculator, Loan Purpose

This is what you will use the loan for – i.e. investment. 

What is a construction loan?

A construction loan is loan taken out for the purpose of building or substantially renovating a residential property. Under this type of loan, the funds are released in stages when certain milestones in the construction process are reached. Once the building is complete, the loan will revert to a standard principal and interest mortgage.

What is a specialist lender?

Specialist lenders, also known as non-conforming lenders, are lenders that offer mortgages to ‘non-vanilla’ borrowers who struggle to get finance at mainstream banks.

That includes people with bad credit, as well as borrowers who are self-employed, in casual employment or are new to Australia.

Specialist lenders take a much more flexible approach to assessing mortgage applications than mainstream banks.

Who offers 40 year mortgages?

Home loans spanning 40 years are offered by select lenders, though the loan period is much longer than a standard 30-year home loan. You're more likely to find a maximum of 35 years, such as is the case with Teacher’s Mutual Bank

Currently, 40 year home loan lenders in Australia include AlphaBeta Money, BCU, G&C Mutual Bank, Pepper, and Sydney Mutual Bank.

Even though these lengthier loans 35 to 40 year loans do exist on the market, they are not overwhelmingly popular, as the extra interest you pay compared to a 30-year loan can be over $100,000 or more.