Housing finance tumbles in December, credit cards continue to fall out of favour

Housing finance tumbles in December, credit cards continue to fall out of favour

ABS figures out today show a dramatic drop in new housing loans, while the number of credit cards are also continuing to fall, according to the RBA.

Housing finance

The new ABS Lending to Households and Business figures show the total value of new lending to households dropped 19.8 per cent from December 2017 to December 2018, in seasonally adjusted terms and excluding refinancing.

Sally Tindall, research director at RateCity.com.au said it was interesting that owner-occupiers took the biggest hit this month.

“New lending to owner occupiers fell the most this month, with a 6.4 per cent drop, compared to investors who fell just 4.6 per cent.

“Looking at the bigger picture however, investors are still leading the retreat from the market, with a 27.8 per cent drop in new loans compared to the year before.

Value of new loans

% change month on month

% change year on year

Owner occupiers

-6.4%

-16.2%

Investors

-4.6%

-27.8%

All loans

-5.9%

-19.8%

Notes: Seasonally adjusted figures. Figures exclude refinancing.

Source: ABS lending to households and businesses statistics for December 2018, released 12 Feb 2019.

Credit cards

Also released today, the RBA’s credit card statistics show the number of active credit card accounts dropped to 15.91 million in December 2018, making it the lowest number of credit card accounts since February 2015.

Credit card limits also fell since December 2017, down 0.71 per cent year-on-year.

“Today’s figures confirm that our reliance on credit cards is starting to wane as alternatives such as Afterpay become a more attractive alternative, particularly among younger Australians.

“We expect to see these figures to drop even further in 2019 when the new credit card regulations come into play, which are designed to stop people from taking out cards they can’t afford to repay.

While the number of credit cards has fallen, the value of purchases was up 3.5 per cent year on year in December, according to the RBA figures.

“The good news is Australians are making higher repayments and as a result the total debt accruing interest is coming off the boil,” she said.

Value

Monthly change

Year on year change

Number of accounts

15,913,157 accounts

Down by 60,009 accounts

Down by 781,438 accounts

Balances accruing interest

$31.40 billion

Down $122.9 million

Down $374.9 million

Total credit limits

$151.66 billion

Down $276.4 million

Down $1.08 billion

Source: RBA credit card statistics for December 2018, released 12 Feb 2019.

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Why does Westpac charge an early termination fee for home loans?

The Westpac home loan early termination fee or break cost is applicable if you have a fixed rate home loan and repay part of or the whole outstanding amount before the fixed period ends. If you’re switching between products before the fixed period ends, you’ll pay a switching break cost and an administrative fee. 

The Westpac home loan early termination fee may not apply if you repay an amount below the prepayment threshold. The prepayment threshold is the amount Westpac allows you to repay during the fixed period outside your regular repayments.

Westpac charges this fee because when you take out a home loan, the bank borrows the funds with wholesale rates available to banks and lenders. Westpac will then work out your interest rate based on you making regular repayments for a fixed period. If you repay before this period ends, the lender may incur a loss if there is any change in the wholesale rate of interest.

When does Commonwealth Bank charge an early exit fee?

When you take out a fixed interest home loan with the Commonwealth Bank, you’re able to lock the interest for a particular period. If the rates change during this period, your repayments remain unchanged. If you break the loan during the fixed interest period, you’ll have to pay the Commonwealth Bank home loan early exit fee and an administrative fee.

The Early Repayment Adjustment (ERA) and Administrative fees are applicable in the following instances:

  • If you switch your loan from fixed interest to variable rate
  • When you apply for a top-up home loan
  • If you repay over and above the annual threshold limit, which is $10,000 per year during the fixed interest period
  • When you prepay the entire outstanding loan balance before the end of the fixed interest duration.

The fee calculation depends on the interest rates, the amount you’ve repaid and the loan size. You can contact the lender to understand more about what you may have to pay. 

Cash or mortgage – which is more suitable to buy an investment property?

Deciding whether to buy an investment property with cash or a mortgage is a matter or personal choice and will often depend on your financial situation. Using cash may seem logical if you have the money in reserve and it can allow you to later use the equity in your home. However, there may be other factors to think about, such as whether there are other debts to pay down and whether it will tie up all of your spare cash. Again, it’s a personal choice and may be worth seeking personal advice.

A mortgage is a popular option for people who don’t have enough cash in the bank to pay for an investment property. Sometimes when you take out a mortgage you can offset your loan interest against the rental income you may earn. The rental income can also help to pay down the loan.

What do people do with a Macquarie Bank reverse?

There are a number of ways people use a Macquarie Bank reverse mortgage. Below are some reasons borrowers tend to release their home’s equity via a reverse mortgage:

  • To top up superannuation or pension income to pay for monthly bills;
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  • To fund renovations, repairs or upgrades to their home
  • To help your children or grandkids through financial difficulties. 

While there are no limitations on how you can use a Macquarie reverse mortgage loan, a reverse mortgage is not right for all borrowers. Reverse mortgages compound the interest, which means you end up paying interest on your interest. They can also affect your entitlement to things like the pension It’s important to think carefully, read up and speak with your family before you apply for a reverse mortgage.

What are the features of home loans for expats from Westpac?

If you’re an Australian citizen living and working abroad, you can borrow to buy a property in Australia. With a Westpac non-resident home loan, you can borrow up to 80 per cent of the property value to purchase a property whilst living overseas. The minimum loan amount for these loans is $25,000, with a maximum loan term of 30 years.

The interest rates and other fees for Westpac non-resident home loans are the same as regular home loans offered to borrowers living in Australia. You’ll have to submit proof of income, six-month bank statements, an employment letter, and your last two payslips. You may also be required to submit a copy of your passport and visa that shows you’re allowed to live and work abroad.

When do mortgage payments start after settlement?

Generally speaking, your first mortgage payment falls due one month after the settlement date. However, this may vary based on your mortgage terms. You can check the exact date by contacting your lender.

Usually your settlement agent will meet the seller’s representatives to exchange documents at an agreed place and time. The balance purchase price is paid to the seller. The lender will register a mortgage against your title and give you the funds to purchase the new home.

Once the settlement process is complete, the lender allows you to draw down the loan. The loan amount is debited from your loan account. As soon as the settlement paperwork is sorted, you can collect the keys to your new home and work your way through the moving-in checklist.

What happens if I don’t know my monthly repayments?

Your repayments should appear on your bank statements or your internet banking. If you make weekly or fortnightly repayments, make sure you convert them to monthly calculations.

How do you determine which home loan rates/products I’m shown?

When you check your home loan rate, you’ll supply some basic information about your current loan, including the amount owing on your mortgage and your current interest rate.

We’ll compare this information to the home loan options in the RateCity database and show you which home loan products you may be eligible to apply for.

 

Why do I need to enter my current mortgage information?

We use your current mortgage details to calculate the potential savings if you were to change lenders, and also to help us point you to loans that may meet your needs.

For example – if you live in the house you own, we’ll make sure we show you the owner-occupier rates, which are typically cheaper than investor rates. Or if you have less than 20% equity in your property, then we won’t show you the deals that require a greater amount of equity.

How does it work? What are the steps involved?

To check your rate, start by entering your contact details and home loan information at ratecity.com.au. We’ll compare your current home loan to other options in our database, and let you know how much you could save by refinancing.  

If we can’t beat your current rate, you can claim a $100 gift card by confirming your home loan details with us.*

How do I find out my current interest rate and how much is owing on my loan?

Your bank statements and/or your internet banking should show these details. If you are not sure, call your bank or estimate.

Who can enter?

Any Australian resident who is over 18 and currently has a personal home loan is eligible for our Home Loan Rate Promise. See terms and conditions.

What is the Home Loan Rate Promise?

The Home Loan Rate Promise is RateCity putting its money where its mouth is. We believe that too many Australians are paying too much for their home loans. We’re so confident we can help Aussies save money, if we can’t beat your current rate, we’ll give you a $100 gift card.*

There are two reasons it pays to check your rate with the Home Loan Rate Promise:

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