Variable mortgage rates set to fall below 3 per cent

Variable mortgage rates set to fall below 3 per cent

Tuesday 2 July 2019: Variable rates could fall as low as 2.84 per cent following the Reserve Bank’s decision to cut the cash rate to yet another historic low.

If banks pass on today’s cut in full, it will translate into savings of $58 a month, that’s $692 a year for the average mortgage holder.

If the average mortgage holder is lucky enough to get a 0.50 per cent cut over June and July they will save up to $116 a month or $1389 a year.

Keep across the changes with RateCity’s live list of who is cutting, by how much and when.

Don’t bank on a full cut

RateCity.com.au research director Sally Tindall said a lot of banks will think twice before passing on this second rate cut.

“The RBA and the Treasurer have made it abundantly clear they want these cuts passed on to mortgage holders, but banks are getting jammed between the competing interests of borrowers, depositors and profit margins,” she said.

“The reality is, a lot of variable rate customers might find they get short-changed by their bank on the back of today’s cut.

“Call your bank and find out what they intend to do. If you’re an owner-occupier paying down your debt, and you’re on a rate higher than 3.50 per cent after this cut, you might not be getting value for money,” she said.

An opportunity to get ahead

Today’s rate cut, whether it is passed on in full or not, will be a chance for some borrowers to get ahead on their loan.

RateCity.com.au analysis shows if the average mortgage holder on a rate of 3.50 per cent put $58 a month back into their loan, they could save almost $15,000 in interest and shave up to 1 year, 7 months off a 30-year home loan.

“Australia’s household debt to disposable income ratio remains at a record high. This second rate cut is a chance for the nation to start chipping away at the mountain of debt casting a shadow over our economy,” she said.

Impact of 0.25% July rate cut

July cut (-0.25%)

Loan Amount

Monthly savings

Annual savings

$300,000

-$43

-$519

$400,000

-$58

-$692

$500,000

-$72

-$866

$600,000

-$87

-$1,039

$750,000

-$108

-$1,298

$1,000,000

-$144

-$1,731

Based on a 0.25% rate cut on RateCity.com.au’s current average rate of 4.14% for owner-occupiers paying principal and interest over 30 years.

Impact if both June and July rate cuts are passed on in full 

0.50% cut (June and July)

Loan Amount

Monthly savings

Annual savings

$300,000

-$87

-$1,042

$400,000

-$116

-$1,389

$500,000

-$145

-$1,736

$600,000

-$174

-$2,083

$750,000

-$217

-$2,604

$1,000,000

-$289

-$3,472

Based on a 0.50% rate cut on RateCity.com.au’s previous average rate of 4.31% for owner-occupiers paying principal and interest over 30 years.

How to ensure you get a rate cut

  1. Call your bank and ask them whether they are cutting your rate, by how much and when.
  2. Check what other lenders are offering. Even if your bank is passing on the cut, you might find a better deal from a competitor.
  3. If your bank doesn’t pass on the cut in full, or you discover you’re paying too much, consider switching. The beauty of a variable home loan rate is that you’re well within your right to take your business elsewhere.

How to put a rate cut back into your home loan

  1. Find out if your bank is passing on the rate cut, and by how much.
  2. Work out what your new monthly repayments will be and what this means for your budget.
  3. If you decide to put that money back into your mortgage, call your lender up and ask them to keep your monthly repayments the same.

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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

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.

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 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 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 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 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 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 average annual percentage rate?

Also known as the comparison rate, or sometimes the ‘true rate’ of a loan, the average annual percentage rate (AAPR) is used to indicate the overall cost of a loan after considering all the fees, charges and other factors, such as introductory offers and honeymoon rates.

The AAPR is calculated based on a standardised loan amount and loan term, and doesn’t include any extra non-standard charges.

Interest Rate

Your current home loan interest rate. To accurately calculate how much you could save, an accurate interest figure is required. If you are not certain, check your bank statement or log into your mortgage account.

Does Real Time Ratings' work for people who already have a home loan?

Yes. If you already have a mortgage you can use Real Time RatingsTM to compare your loan against the rest of the market. And if your rate changes, you can come back and check whether your loan is still competitive. If it isn’t, you’ll get the ammunition you need to negotiate a rate cut with your lender, or the resources to help you switch to a better lender.

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.

Can I change jobs while I am applying for a home loan?

Whether you’re a new borrower or you’re refinancing your home loan, many lenders require you to be in a permanent job with the same employer for at least 6 months before applying for a home loan. Different lenders have different requirements. 

If your work situation changes for any reason while you’re applying for a mortgage, this could reduce your chances of successfully completing the process. Contacting the lender as soon as you know your employment situation is changing may allow you to work something out.