Lenders adjusting mortgage rates

Lenders adjusting mortgage rates

As speculation builds that a cut to Australia’s cash rate could be arriving in the near future, several of Australia’s lenders have been adjusting their home loan interest rates over the past week.

Beyond Bank has slashed fixed rates across a range of mortgage products, including its Total Home Loan Packages and Pinnacle Plus Packages.

Fixed rates were slashed as low as 3.79% p.a. (comparison rate 4.88% p.a.) for Beyond Bank’s Total Home Loan Package 3-year special, though the most substantial cuts were for its Total Home Loan Package investment loans, which fell 20 basis points to as low as 4.19% p.a. for selected loans (comparison rates: 5.34% p.a. for 1-year fixed, 5.26% for 2-year fixed, and a 5.19% p.a. for 3-year fixed).

Loan New interest rate New comparison rate Old interest rate Old comparison rate Change Monthly repayment*
Beyond Bank Australia Total Home Loan Package Home Loan Fixed Special 3 Years 3.79% 4.88% 3.83% 4.45% -0.04 $1629
Beyond Bank Total Home Loan Package Investment Loan Fixed 1 Year 4.19% 5.34% 4.39% 4.87% -0.20 $1710
Beyond Bank Total Home Loan Package Investment Loan Fixed 2 Years 4.19% 5.26% 4.39% 4.86% -0.20 $1710
Beyond Bank Total Home Loan Package Investment Loan Fixed 3 Years 4.19% 5.19% 4.39% 4.86% -0.20 $1710

QBANK also cut fixed rates on a selection of its home loans for owner occupiers and investors, going as low as 3.62% p.a. (comparison rate 4.32% p.a.) for its 3-year Fixed Rate Home Loan Special after a fall of 13 basis points.

The deepest rate cuts from QBANK were for its 4 and 5 year Fixed Rate Home Loans, whose fixed rates fell by 35 basis points to 4.24% (comparison rate 4.46% for 4 year fixed, and 4.43% for 5-year fixed).

Loan New interest rate New comparison rate Old interest rate Old comparison rate Change Monthly repayment*
QBANK Fixed Rate Home Loan Special (QLD only) (New Customer) 3 Years (LVR < 95%) 3.62% 4.32% 3.75% 4.36% -0.13% $1595
QBANK Fixed Rate Home Loan 4 Years (QLD only) 4.24% 4.46% 4.59% 4.59% -0.35 $1720
QBANK Fixed Rate Home Loan 5 Years (QLD only) 4.24% 4.43% 4.59% 4.59% -0.35 $1720

But not all lenders have been cutting rates – IMB Bank has recently raised variable interest rates on selected principal & interest and interest-only mortgage offers by 10 basis points, going as high as 6.39% (comparison rate 6.28%) for an interest-only Standard Variable Investment Loan.

IMB Bank also cut its fixed interest rates by as many as 85 basis points, going as low as 3.59% per annum for 1, 2 and 3 year fixed principal and interest loans (comparison rates: 4.72% for 1-year fixed, 4.62% for 2-year fixed, and 4.53% for 3-year fixed). 

If the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) decides to cut the nation’s official cash rate at its next meeting in June 2019, certain lenders could end up dropping their mortgage rates to 3.20% or even lower.

*Assumes a $350,000 home loan paid monthly over a 30 year term. Repayments for fixed-rate loans will change when their fixed rate terms end and revert to the lender’s variable rate. Source: MoneySmart

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Learn more about home loans

What is the difference between fixed, variable and split rates?

Fixed rate

A fixed rate home loan is a loan where the interest rate is set for a certain amount of time, usually between one and 15 years. The advantage of a fixed rate is that you know exactly how much your repayments will be for the duration of the fixed term. There are some disadvantages to fixing that you need to be aware of. Some products won’t let you make extra repayments, or offer tools such as an offset account to help you reduce your interest, while others will charge a significant break fee if you decide to terminate the loan before the fixed period finishes.

Variable rate

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.

Split rates home loans

A split loan lets you fix a portion of your loan, and leave the remainder on a variable rate so you get a bet each way on fixed and variable rates. A split loan is a good option for someone who wants the peace of mind that regular repayments can provide but still wants to retain some of the additional features variable loans typically provide such as an offset account. Of course, with most things in life, split loans are still a trade-off. If the variable rate goes down, for example, the lower interest rates will only apply to the section that you didn’t fix.

What is a fixed home loan?

A fixed rate home loan is a loan where the interest rate is set for a certain amount of time, usually between one and 15 years. The advantage of a fixed rate is that you know exactly how much your repayments will be for the duration of the fixed term. There are some disadvantages to fixing that you need to be aware of. Some products won’t let you make extra repayments, or offer tools such as an offset account to help you reduce your interest, while others will charge a significant break fee if you decide to terminate the loan before the fixed period finishes.

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.

What is a comparison rate?

The comparison rate is a more inclusive way of comparing home loans that factors in not only on the interest rate but also the majority of upfront and ongoing charges that add to the total cost of a home loan.

The rate is calculated using an industry-wide formula based on a $150,000 loan over a 25-year period and includes things like revert rates after an introductory or fixed rate period, application fees and monthly account keeping fees.

In Australia, all lenders are required by law to publish the comparison rate alongside their advertised rate so people can compare products easily.

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.

What is the difference between a fixed rate and variable rate?

A variable rate can fluctuate over the life of a loan as determined by your lender. While the rate is broadly reflective of market conditions, including the Reserve Bank’s cash rate, it is by no means the sole determining factor in your bank’s decision-making process.

A fixed rate is one which is set for a period of time, regardless of market fluctuations. Fixed rates can be as short as one year or as long as 15 years however after this time it will revert to a variable rate, unless you negotiate with your bank to enter into another fixed term agreement

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 however fixed rates do offer customers a level of security by knowing exactly how much they need to set aside each month.

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 a honeymoon rate and honeymoon period?

Also known as the ‘introductory rate’ or ‘bait rate’, a honeymoon rate is a special low interest rate applied to loans for an initial period to attract more borrowers. The honeymoon period when this lower rate applies usually varies from six months to one year. The rate can be fixed, capped or variable for the first 12 months of the loan. At the end of the term, the loan reverts to the standard variable rate.

What is the best interest rate for a mortgage?

The fastest way to find out what the lowest interest rates on the market are is to use a comparison website.

While a low interest rate is highly preferable, it is not the only factor that will determine whether a particular loan is right for you.

Loans with low interest rates can often include hidden catches, such as high fees or a period of low rates which jumps up after the introductory period has ended.

To work out the best value for money, have a look at a loan’s comparison rate and read the fine print to get across all the fees and charges that you could be theoretically charged over the life of the loan.

Who has the best home loan?

Determining who has the ‘best’ home loan really does depend on your own personal circumstances and requirements. It may be tempting to judge a loan merely on the interest rate but there can be added value in the extras on offer, such as offset and redraw facilities, that aren’t available with all low rate loans.

To determine which loan is the best for you, think about whether you would prefer the consistency of a fixed loan or the flexibility and potential benefits of a variable loan. Then determine which features will be necessary throughout the life of your loan. Thirdly, consider how much you are willing to pay in fees for the loan you want. Once you find the perfect combination of these three elements you are on your way to determining the best loan for you. 

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.

What is a split home loan?

A split loan lets you fix a portion of your loan, and leave the remainder on a variable rate so you get a bet each way on fixed and variable rates. A split loan is a good option for someone who wants the peace of mind that regular repayments can provide but still wants to retain some of the additional features variable loans typically provide such as an offset account. Of course, with most things in life, split loans are still a trade-off. If the variable rate goes down, for example, the lower interest rates will only apply to the section that you didn’t fix.

Will I be paying two mortgages at once when I refinance?

No, given the way the loan and title transfer works, you will not have to pay two mortgages at the one time. You will make your last monthly repayment on loan number one and then the following month you will start paying off loan number two.

Does Australia have no cost refinancing?

No Cost Refinancing is an option available in the US where the lender or broker covers your switching costs, such as appraisal fees and settlement costs. Unfortunately, no cost refinancing isn’t available in Australia.