RBA cuts cash rate to 0.10%, extraordinary new low not seen in 30 years

RBA cuts cash rate to 0.10%, extraordinary new low not seen in 30 years

The nation’s central bank has made it possible for lenders to lower interest charges on mortgages by cutting the cash rate to an extraordinary new low, but it’s unclear if banks will pass the savings on.

The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) reduced the cash rate by 15 basis points to 0.10 per cent today, a move intended to free up money for households who would otherwise be spending it on mortgage interest charges.

“With Australia facing a period of high unemployment, the Reserve Bank is committed to doing what it can to support the creation of jobs,” Philip Lowe said, Governor of the RBA.

“Encouragingly, the recent economic data have been a bit better than expected and the near-term outlook is better than it was three months ago.

“Even so, the recovery is still expected to be bumpy and drawn out and the outlook remains dependent on successful containment of the virus.”

The RBA cash rate is a guardpost financial institutions use to set interest rates on both their mortgage and savings products. It typically moves in quarter-of-a-per cent increments, but the RBA had already lowered it to 0.25 per cent in March -- at the time, a record low.

The atypical cut by 0.15 per cent offers families struggling financially during the COVID-19 pandemic some relief, without completely eradicating banking interest margins.

What does this mean for mortgage holders

How much money mortgage payers can expect to save depends on two things.

The first is whether the bank they’re with passes the savings on by reducing their interest rates. The second concerns the balance owing on their loan.

For instance, on a $500,000 mortgage with interest at 3.19 per cent being repaid over 30 years, the rate cut would lead to a monthly saving of $41. This works out to be an annual saving of $489.

  0.15 cut  
Loan size Monthly savings Annual savings

$400,000

$33 $391

$500,000

$41 $489

$750,000

$61 $734

$1,000,000

$82 $979

Source: RateCity

The cut could give families struggling a little more breathing room, while those coping well financially would simply pocket the savings.

  • Curious how much you may save if your lender passes on 15 basis points cut? Use a mortgage calculator now to project your repayment savings.

Will banks pass it on this time?

Banks don’t always pass on mortgage rate cuts. When the RBA cut the cash rate to 0.25 per cent in March, only ANZ bank passed it on to existing variable rate customers.

The RBA has cut the cash rate by 1.25 per cent since June 2019, but according to a RateCity analysis, the banks have passed only 0.86 per cent on average to existing customers.

Date CBA Westpac NAB ANZ RBA
Jun-19

0.25%

0.20%

0.25%

0.18%

0.25%

Jul-19

0.19%

0.20%

0.19%

0.25%

0.25%

Oct-19

0.13%

0.15%

0.15%

0.14%

0.25%

3-Mar-20

0.25%

0.25%

0.25%

0.25%

0.25%

19-Mar-20

0%

0%

0%

0.15%

0.25%

Total cut

0.82%

0.80%

0.84%

0.97%

1.25%

Between the extraordinary rate cut initiated by the RBA and most big banks choosing not to pass the last one on, there’s pressure on them to cut mortgage interest rates and pass the savings on, Sally Tindall said, research director at RateCity.

“Governor Lowe believes a rate cut now will help reduce the number of problem loans, but this will only work if the banks pass it on,” she said.

“Record-low rates have been a shot in the arm for the tens of thousands of mortgage holders who have been able to refinance their loan during COVID.”

The lower interest rates have led to a surge in refinancing. About 165,000 loans were refinanced in the six months to September, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

But many customers struggling aren’t in a position to refinance. About 937,000 people have lost their job since the beginning of the year, according to ABS October figures. Meanwhile, it is estimated hundreds-of-thousands of people have deferred their mortgage repayments.

For these people who are struggling, refinancing with a different bank may not be an option.

These are the people who would benefit from a cut to their interest rates the most, Ms Tindall said.

“Many people who have had to defer their mortgage or switch to interest-only repayments aren’t being offered the best rates from their lender,” she said.

“Banks should do the right thing by these customers by passing any RBA cut on to them as quickly as possible.”

Interest on savings accounts has been dropping

There is a downside to having the cash rate reach never before seen lows. Banks don’t just look to it to set mortgage interest rates -- they also use it to guide interest rates on savings accounts.

This means the money sitting in a savings account is going to earn less.

And banks have been slashing interest rates on their savings accounts. Of the 101 banks in the RateCity database, 50 have lowered the earning potential on their savings accounts by cutting interest rates last month.

 

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How do I get a Suncorp home loan pre-approval?

Getting home loan pre-approval helps you work out a budget to help you search for a suitable property and make an offer with confidence. Once you put in an application, you should get your pre-approval outcome within two business days. To help get a fast turnaround time of your pre-approval application, ensure all the information and documentation that Suncorp requires. This includes proof of identification, recent payslips, bank account and credit card statements.

You can submit the home loan pre-approval application online. You’ll be asked for information about your income, expenses, assets, and debts. It should take you about 10 minutes to fill out the application, and you can do it free of charge. A Suncorp lending specialist will review your application and contact you within 24 hours or the next working day. Suncorp will not run a credit check until you have heard from this lending specialist.

Once you get Suncorp home loan pre-approval, it’s valid for 90 days. If you don’t find a property you wish to buy in this time you may be able to apply for an extension, speak to your Suncorp lending specialist about this.

Where can I get all the information about an ANZ first home buyer’s loan?

As a first home buyer, you may require help and hand-holding, and as such ANZ has the buying your first home section on its website full of important information. ANZ also has a form in this section you can fill out to get a free consultation from an ANZ First Home Coach and create your own plan for buying your first home. This coach will help you understand where your current income is being spent and plan for your home loan repayments. You’ll get a clear picture of the costs involved in purchasing a property and how to budget or save for these costs. The coach will help you understand different deposit options and manage your accounts to enhance your savings.

There are three types of ANZ first home loans - Standard Variable, Fixed, and Equity Manager. The features, interest rates, and terms for each are different, and you can compare them here.

When they apply for an ANZ home loan, first home buyers can also get guidance on applying for the First Home Owner Grant (FHOG). This is a one-off government grant that may be available to you when you’re buying your first home. The eligibility criteria for FHOG differs between the different states and territories, which is why it’s helpful to have expert advice when applying.

Can I apply for an ANZ non-resident home loan? 

You may be eligible to apply for an ANZ non-resident home loan only if you meet the following two conditions:

  1. You hold a Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa or its predecessor, the Temporary Skilled Work (subclass 457) visa.
  2. Your job is included in the Australian government’s Medium and Long Term Strategic Skills List. 

However, non-resident home loan applications may need Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) approval in addition to meeting ANZ’s Mortgage Credit Requirements. Also, they may not be eligible for loans that require paying for Lender’s Mortgage Insurance (LMI). As a result, you may not be able to borrow more than 80 per cent of your home’s value. However, you can apply as a co-borrower with your spouse if they are a citizen of either Australia or New Zealand, or are a permanent resident.

Why should I get an ING home loan pre-approval?

When you apply for an ING home loan pre-approval, you might be required to provide proof of employment and income, savings, as well as details on any on-going debts. The lender could also make a credit enquiry against your name. If you’re pre-approved, you will know how much money ING is willing to lend you. 

Please note, however, that a pre-approval is nothing more than an idea of your ability to borrow funds and is not the final approval. You should receive the home loan approval  only after finalising the property and submitting a formal loan application to the lender, ING. Additionally, a pre-approval does not stay valid indefinitely, since your financial circumstances and the home loan market could change overnight.

 

 

How do I get a pre-approved home loan with Aussie?

Getting Aussie home loan pre-approval means receiving conditional support from Aussie Home Loans to borrow the money you need to buy a home. 

It’s an indication of the approximate amount Aussie may offer you, subject to some terms and conditions. Keep in mind, having a pre-approved home loan does not guarantee an actual approval of your loan when it comes time to buy.

Aussie home loan pre-approval often involves speaking to one of the lender’s brokers. You can make an appointment online. You’ll often have to submit your personal details and other information about your assets, income, liabilities and expenses.  It’s worth remembering that a pre-approved loan is usually valid for a few months.

Does UBank offer home loan pre-approvals?

If you’re applying for a home loan with UBank, you can first get an approval in principle. You’ll need to provide information about your job and earnings, your household expenses, the assets you own and the debts you owe. 

UBank will assign a home loan specialist to discuss these details over a phone call, which can take about 30 minutes. 

The bank will then confirm if you’ve received in-principle approval for your home loan. Depending on how you submit your documents, this could take a few days or a few weeks. If successful, the approval will be valid for 60 days. 

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

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 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.

How much are repayments on a $250K mortgage?

The exact repayment amount for a $250,000 mortgage will be determined by several factors including your deposit size, interest rate and the type of loan. It is best to use a mortgage calculator to determine your actual repayment size.

For example, the monthly repayments on a $250,000 loan with a 5 per cent interest rate over 30 years will be $1342. For a loan of $300,000 on the same rate and loan term, the monthly repayments will be $1610 and for a $500,000 loan, the monthly repayments will be $2684.

How long should I have my mortgage for?

The standard length of a mortgage is between 25-30 years however they can be as long as 40 years and as few as one. There is a benefit to having a shorter mortgage as the faster you pay off the amount you owe, the less you’ll pay your bank in interest.

Of course, shorter mortgages will require higher monthly payments so plug the numbers into a mortgage calculator to find out how many years you can potentially shave off your budget.

For example monthly repayments on a $500,000 over 25 years with an interest rate of 5% are $2923. On the same loan with the same interest rate over 30 years repayments would be $2684 a month. At first blush, the 30 year mortgage sounds great with significantly lower monthly repayments but remember, stretching your loan out by an extra five years will see you hand over $89,396 in interest repayments to your bank.

What is the average length of a home loan?

Most Aussie lenders offer home loans with a 30-year term, meaning that you should pay back the full loan amount and the interest you owe on the amount in 30 years. 

However, home loans can also have a shorter or longer term. They may be as low as ten years or up to 45 years, depending on the product and lender. 

It’s worth remembering that a longer loan term usually means you’ll end up paying a lot more interest in total, but your scheduled repayments may be more manageable. In contrast, you could opt for a shorter loan term if you are comfortable making large repayments in exchange for paying less interest over the term of the loan.

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.

How do I calculate monthly mortgage repayments?

Work out your mortgage repayments using a home loan calculator that takes into account your deposit size, property value and interest rate. This is divided by the loan term you choose (for example, there are 360 months in a 30-year mortgage) to determine the monthly repayments over this time frame.

Over the course of your loan, your monthly repayment amount will be affected by changes to your interest rate, plus any circumstances where you opt to pay interest-only for a period of time, instead of principal and interest.