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Sign of future hikes? More banks lift 4-year fixed home loan rates
RateCity research has found that since 1 March, 16 lenders have increased 4-year fixed home loan rates. This is no doubt being influenced by comments from RBA Governor, Philip Lowe, indicating that the cash rate is unlikely to increase until inflation targets are met – potentially in 2024.
Income protection vs. mortgage insurance: What you need to know
Both income protection insurance and mortgage protection insurance are income replacement products with different types of coverage. The most significant difference is that you can only use mortgage protection to cover your mortgage repayments if you’re unable to earn an income.
What is a debt-to-income ratio, and how does it impact your mortgage application?
A debt-to-income ratio (DTI) compares the amount of money you earn to the amount of money you owe to various lenders and credit card providers. It’s used by lenders to judge whether you can repay your mortgage comfortably or not.
Mortgagee in possession sales
Are you a homeowner struggling to keep up with your payments? Are you a buyer tempted by what you’ve heard is a good way to obtain a new property at a discount price? Either way, you will need to understand just what a mortgagee in possession sale is and how it works, as this could make all the difference to your long-term financial well being.
What happens if you default on your payments?
When taking out a loan of any kind it’s advisable to leave yourself some leeway with repayments. Don’t make them as high as you can afford because you never know when your circumstances may change. Even if you’re very careful things can come out of the blue that make it impossible to keep up. When this happens you could face repossession – your lender will sell your property and you would be forced to move out.
Negotiating with your lender
If you’re worried that you might not be able to meet your payment obligations, the first thing you should do is talk to your lender. The more honest you are about your circumstances, the better they will be able to help, and it is almost always in their financial interest to find a solution other than selling your home. They may be able to give you a payment holiday or refinance the loan so that you make smaller monthly payments over a longer period of time.
What does losing your home involve?
If your payments are overdue, your lender will start sending you a series of notices asking you to discuss the situation or find a way to pay what you owe. You will normally have a few months in which to sort things out. If you fail to do so, the process will escalate and you will be asked to pay off all the rest of your loan at once. If you don’t do this, your lender will seek a court order forcing you to leave your home so that it can be sold.
How do mortgagee in possession sales work?
After taking possession of properties in this way, lenders employ sales agents that are obliged to get the best price possible for them. After a sale has been made, associated costs have been covered and the lender has reclaimed what they are owed, any remaining money will be returned to the borrower. This is unlikely because the sale of the property often does not cover the debt. It is difficult to get a good price for a property like this because of the urgency of the sale, and they typically sell for 5 per cent to 10 per cent under market value.
Why buy a mortgagee in possession property?
Buying a mortgagee in possession property can make it possible to save money, but the speed of the sale, usually conducted at auction, means that buyers will already need to have their finance in place. They will also need to pay careful attention to any unusual clauses in the contract, as this will often be more complex than in a traditional sale. The initial costs for buying a property in this way are often higher but buyers are likely to recoup their costs and save money over the long term.
Senior Financial Writer
Mark Bristow is a senior financial writer for RateCity and an experienced analyst, researcher, and producer. Working for over ten years, Mark previously wrote and researched commercial real estate at CoreLogic, and has seen articles published at Lifehacker and Business Insider, among others. Most recently, Mark has joined RateCity working across finance as a whole. Whatever the topic, Mark’s goal is always to provide simple solutions to complex problems.
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Frequently asked questions
What are extra repayments?
Additional payments to your home loan above the minimum monthly instalments, which can help to reduce the loan’s term and remaining payable interest.
What is a line of credit?
Equity is the value of your property, less any outstanding debt against it. For example, if you have a $500,000 property and a $300,000 mortgage against the property, then you have $200,000 equity. This is the portion of the property that you actually own.
This type of loan is a flexible mortgage that allows you to draw on funds when you need them, similar to a credit card.
How does a line of credit work?
A line of credit functions in a similar way to a credit card. You have a pre-approved borrowing limit and can draw on as little or as much of that sum as you need it, with interest paid on the outstanding balance.
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.
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 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.
How is interest charged on a reverse mortgage from IMB Bank?
An IMB Bank reverse mortgage allows you to borrow against your home equity. You can draw down the loan amount as a lump sum, regular income stream, line of credit or a combination. The interest can either be fixed or variable. To understand the current rates, you can check the lender’s website.
No repayments are required as long as you live in the home. If you sell it or move to a senior living facility, the loan must be repaid in full. In some cases, this can also happen after you have died. Generally, the interest rates for reverse mortgages are higher than regular mortgage loans.
The interest is added to the loan amount and it is compounded. It means you’ll pay interest on the interest you accrue. Therefore, the longer you have the loan, the higher is the interest and the amount you’ll have to repay.
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.
Remaining loan term
The length of time it will take to pay off your current home loan, based on the currently-entered mortgage balance, monthly repayment and interest rate.
How much deposit do I need for a home loan from ANZ?
Like other mortgage lenders, ANZ often prefers a home loan deposit of 20 per cent or more of the property value when you’re applying for a home loan. It may be possible to get a home loan with a smaller deposit of 10 per cent or even 5 per cent, but there are a few reasons to consider saving a larger deposit if possible:
- A larger deposit tells a lender that you’re a great saver, which could help increase the chances of your home loan application getting approved.
- The more money you pay as a deposit, the less you’ll have to borrow in your home loan. This could mean paying off your loan sooner, and being charged less total interest.
- If your deposit is less than 20 per cent of the property value, you might incur additional costs, such as Lenders Mortgage Insurance (LMI).
How much deposit do I need for a home loan from NAB?
The right deposit size to get a home loan with an Australian lender will depend on the lender’s eligibility criteria and the value of your property.
Generally, lenders look favourably on applicants who save up a 20 per cent deposit for their property This also means applicants do not have to pay Lenders Mortgage Insurance (LMI). However, you may still be able to obtain a mortgage with a 10 - 15 per cent deposit.
Keep in mind that NAB is one of the participating lenders for the First Home Loan Deposit Scheme, which allows eligible borrowers to buy a property with as low as a 5 per cent deposit without paying the LMI. The Federal Government guarantees up to 15 per cent of the deposit to help first-timers to become homeowners.
How long does ANZ take to approve a home loan?
The process of applying for a home loan usually stays the same across all lenders. On the other hand, the time it takes for a lender to approve the home loan differs from lender to lender. When it comes to ANZ, it takes anywhere between 15 to 18 business days to approve a home loan from the day of the application to approval. This timeframe is highly dependent on the credibility and availability of your documentation. You can apply for an ANZ home loan in two ways; a Quick Start home loan application or a full online application.
If you opt for the Quick Start home loan option, you’ll need to fill out a form with basic details. During this stage, you don’t need to add any supporting information. An ANZ representative will then call you within 48 hours. The representative will help take your application forward, including assessing all relevant information, documentation and conducting a credit check.
You can also submit your entire home loan application with ANZ online by filling out a comprehensive form with all the information and documentation needed.
Once ANZ has conducted the preliminary checks, you’ll be informed of the pre-approved amount they’re willing to offer. Based on this amount, you can set a budget for your property search and make sure you stay inside your budget. Pre-approval will last for three months but can be extended by applying with ANZ if you don’t find a property. But it’s best to find a property as soon as possible as ANZ may decide to change the amount if your financial situation changes.
After you find a property and have your offer accepted, ANZ may send an assessor to the property to verify it’s value. If everything is per their terms and conditions, ANZ will finalise your home loan’s approval and release the funds.
How do I apply for a home improvement loan?
When you want to renovate your home, you may need to take out a loan to cover the costs. You could apply for a home improvement loan, which is a personal loan that you use to cover the costs of your home renovations. There is no difference between applying for this type of home improvement loan and applying for a standard personal loan. It would be best to check and compare the features, fees and details of the loan before applying.
Besides taking out a home improvement loan, you could also:
- Use the equity in your house: Equity is the difference between your property’s value and the amount you still owe on your home loan. You may be able to access this equity by refinancing your home loan and then using it to finance your home improvement. Speak with your lender or a mortgage broker about accessing your equity.
- Utilise the redraw facility of your home loan: Check whether the existing home loan has a redraw facility. A redraw facility allows you to access additional funds you’ve repaid into your home loan. Some lenders offer this on variable rate home loans but not on fixed. If this option is available to you, contact your lender to discuss how to access it.
- Apply for a construction loan: A construction loan is typically used when constructing a new property but can also be used as a home renovation loan. You may find that a construction loan is a suitable option as it enables you to draw funds as your renovation project progresses. You can compare construction home loans online or speak to a mortgage broker about taking out such a loan.
- Look into government grants: Check whether there are any government grants offered when you need the funds and whether you qualify. Initiatives like the HomeBuilder Grant were offered by the Federal Government for a limited period until April 2021. They could help fund your renovations either in full or just partially.
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;
- To consolidate and repay high-interest debt like credit cards or personal loans;
- 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.
Will I have to pay lenders' mortgage insurance twice if I refinance?
If your deposit was less than 20 per cent of your property’s value when you took out your original loan, you may have paid lenders’ mortgage insurance (LMI) to cover the lender against the risk that you may default on your repayments.
If you refinance to a new home loan, but still don’t have enough deposit and/or equity to provide 20 per cent security, you’ll need to pay for the lender’s LMI a second time. This could potentially add thousands or tens of thousands of dollars in upfront costs to your mortgage, so it’s important to consider whether the financial benefits of refinancing may be worth these costs.
What are the pros and cons of no-deposit home loans?
It’s no longer possible to get a no-deposit home loan in Australia. In some circumstances, you might be able to take out a mortgage with a 5 per cent deposit – but before you do so, it’s important to weigh up the pros and cons.
The big advantage of borrowing 95 per cent (also known as a 95 per cent home loan) is that you get to buy your property sooner. That may be particularly important if you plan to purchase in a rising market, where prices are increasing faster than you can accumulate savings.
But 95 per cent home loans also have disadvantages. First, the 95 per cent home loan market is relatively small, so you’ll have fewer options to choose from. Second, you’ll probably have to pay LMI (lender’s mortgage insurance). Third, you’ll probably be charged a higher interest rate. Fourth, the more you borrow, the more you’ll ultimately have to pay in interest. Fifth, if your property declines in value, your mortgage might end up being worth more than your home.
What is a loan-to-value ratio (LVR)?
A loan-to-value ratio (otherwise known as a Loan to Valuation Ratio or LVR), is a calculation lenders make to work out the value of your loan versus the value of your property, expressed as a percentage. Lenders use this calculation to help assess your suitability for a home loan, and whether you need to pay lender’s mortgage insurance (LMI). As a general rule, most banks will require you to pay LMI if your loan-to-value ratio is 80 per cent or more. LVR is worked out by dividing the loan amount by the value of the property. If you are looking for a quick ball-park estimate of LVR, the size of your deposit is a good indicator as it is directly proportionate to your LVR. For instance, a loan with an LVR of 80 per cent requires a deposit of 20 per cent, while a 90 per cent LVR requires 10 per cent down payment.
LOAN AMOUNT / PROPERTY VALUE = LVR%
While this all sounds simple enough, it is worth doing a more accurate calculation of LVR before you commit to buying a place as there are some traps to be aware of. Firstly, the ‘loan amount’ is the price you paid for the property plus additional costs such as stamp duty and legal fees, minus your deposit amount. Secondly, the ‘property value’ is determined by your lender’s valuation of the property, not the price you paid for it, and sometimes these can differ so where possible, try and get your bank to evaluate the property before you put in an offer.
How can I pay off my home loan faster?
The quickest way to pay off your home loan is to make regular extra contributions in addition to your monthly repayments to pay down the principal as fast as possible. This in turn reduces the amount of interest paid overall and shortens the length of the loan.
Another option may be to increase the frequency of your payments to fortnightly or weekly, rather than monthly, which may then reduce the amount of interest you are charged, depending on how your lender calculates repayments.
Is a home equity loan secured or unsecured?
Home equity is the difference between its current market price and the outstanding balance on the mortgage loan. The amount you can borrow against the equity in your property is known as a home equity loan.
A home equity loan is secured against your property. It means the lender can recoup your property if you default on the repayments. A secured home equity loan is available at a competitive rate of interest and may be repaid over the long-term. Although a home equity loan is secured, lenders will assess your income, expenses, and other liabilities before approving your application. You’ll also want a good credit score to qualify for a home equity loan.
Can I get a home renovation loan with bad credit?
If you're looking for funds to pay for repairs or renovations to your home, but you have a low credit score, you need to carefully consider your options. If you already have a mortgage, a good starting point is to check whether you can redraw money from that. You could also consider applying for a new home loan.
Before taking out a new loan, it’s good to note that lenders are likely to charge higher interest rates on home repair loans for bad credit customers. Alternatively, they may be willing to lend you a smaller amount than a standard loan. You may also face some challenges with getting your home renovation loan application approved. If you do run into trouble, you can speak to your lender and ask whether they would be willing to approve your application if you have a guarantor or co-signer. You should also explain the reasons behind your bad credit rating and the steps that you’re taking to improve it.
Consulting a financial advisor or mortgage broker can help you understand your options and make the right choice.