How to get a head start in the property market

How to get a head start in the property market

As lenders loosen the purse strings and house prices take a dive, first-time buyers are more likely to be able to buy than at any time since the credit crunch. But the average down payment needed remains above $45,000, locking potential new homeowners out of the market (based on a 10 percent deposit and using RP Data’s median capital city house price as at January of $450,000).

Given the right circumstances; a stable income, little-to-no outstanding debt, and a sensible budget; saving for a large sum can be achieved within a few years. But first you’ll need to determine the best saving method for your situation, whether it is using the first home saver scheme, a high-interest savings account or term deposit account.

Online saver versus first home saver accounts

The government’s First Home Saver scheme is very attractive if you are planning to enter the housing market for the first time in the next few years.

For example, assuming you start with a $20,000 sum and deposit $1000 per month for the next four years at a base rate of 4.8 percent, (taking into account interest earned and tax saved) a first home saver could potentially have a final balance of just over $81,000. By contrast, the best online savings account available at the moment would leave you with a balance of $77,000 after that time; so you’d be over $4000 better off with the First Home Savers Scheme because of the rate boost and the lower tax rate.

As the name suggests, these accounts are only open to people saving for their first home. They have two main benefits. First, any interest you earn on the account is taxed at 15 percent, so if you earn more than $37,000 you’ll save at least half the tax you would have paid on a normal savings account. Second, to encourage savers to make regular deposits, the government will add a bonus that’s equal to 17 percent up to a maximum contribution of $5500 each year.

There are a number of conditions that must be met to earn the bonus contribution. First, you have to deposit at least $1000 each year for four financial years before you can withdraw your savings. Second, the house must be your principal place of residence, not an investment property. Finally, once your account balance hits $85,000 you can’t make any more contributions, though interest will still be credited to the account.

Fixed term accounts

Fixed term deposits can be a smart option for future home buyers with rates above 6 percent available on three-year terms. But because these types of accounts don’t allow regular deposits, even with a lump sum of $20,000 fixed for three years at 6 percent p.a., interest earnings are capped at $3933 (compounded).

The best savings option will depend on your circumstances, however, so take the time to do plenty of research to maximise your home deposit; because the long term savings could be significant.

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Learn more about term deposits

What should I know about ING’s business term deposit rates?

ING Direct offers several term deposit options for businesses looking to save over some time. 

The business term deposit rates ING offers are compounded annually, meaning that the interest earned after the first year is added to the amount you originally deposited. 

During the second year, the interest is calculated on the new amount. If you close the term deposit once it matures, you can ask for the money to be transferred to your business account either with ING or another bank. You can also renew the term deposit and choose to reinvest the total amount earned through the earlier term deposit. Alternatively, you can opt to renew with just the sum you originally deposited, and withdraw the interest earned.

You’ll need to deposit a minimum of $10,000 for at least 90 days if you open a term deposit with ING. In the current low-interest environment*, the annualised interest rate for a 90-day deposit is 0.05 per cent. This means you’d earn $1.25 over a three-month term if you deposit $10,000. 

If you opted for a longer time frame, such as two years, you’d get an annualised interest rate of 0.30 per cent on your deposit. If you deposited $10,000, in two years the interest accrued would amount to approximately $60. Again, this is an estimate only based on current rates.

* Rates correct as of January 2021

What is a term deposit?

A term deposit is an investment savings account. A term deposit usually pays a higher rate of interest than a regular savings account, with the interest rate fixed for the term (or duration) of the deposit.

You can open a term deposit account for one month or up to five years depending on your investment goal, and invest as little as $500 to start earning a profit.

With a term deposit, you get to decide how much you want to invest (the principal or deposit), for how long (the term or duration) and the frequency of interest payments.

A term deposit represents a secure form of investment, unlike trading in shares or purchasing real estate. And a term deposit up to $250,000 is protected by the government guarantee.

What is the best interest rate for a fixed term deposit?

The best interest rate for a fixed term deposit changes all the time, as interest rates move up and down and banks compete with each other to win market share.

To find the best interest rate for a fixed term deposit, it’s helpful to understand how interest rates are applied to term deposits.

There are three factors that determine the fixed interest of term deposits:

  1. The size of your deposit
  2. The duration of the term
  3. The frequency of interest paid

Term deposits vary in duration from one month to five years or more. Interest rates generally work on a sliding scale; shorter terms get a lower rate, longer terms get a higher rate.

Here are a couple of examples of how interest is applied to term deposits.

  • A $10,000 term deposit taken out over 12 months, with interest paid at maturity, might receive a fixed interest rate of 2.20 per cent.
  • A $10,000 fixed term deposit taken out over 12 months, with interest paid quarterly, might receive a fixed interest rate of 2.00 per cent.

Using the size of your deposit, the duration of the term and how often you want to be paid interest, you can shop around for the best interest rate for a fixed term deposit.

How do you calculate term deposit interest?

If you’re ready to open a term deposit, there’s a lot you’ve already figured out. You’ve decided on the length of your term and found the best interest rate, but there’s something you still might be wondering. How do you calculate term deposit interest?

One of the easiest ways to calculate term deposit interest is by using a term deposits calculator. However, you can also estimate your total earnings on your own.

A fixed interest rate signifies what percentage of your original balance your term deposit will earn annually. For example, a deposit of $1,000 at an interest rate of 3 per cent will earn three per cent of $1,000 annually – meaning you’ll earn $30 of interest each year.

You can estimate your interest using three variables. Multiply together your deposit amount, interest rate, and term length and you’ll approximate the interest a deposit will earn. For example, if you invest in a term deposit for $5,000 at an interest rate of 3 per cent for two years, your interest would total $300.

How safe is a term deposit?

You may have heard that a term deposit is a type of investment, different to a traditional savings account. All investment comes with inherent risk, so it’s important to know how safe a term deposit is before committing.

Term deposits offer a fixed interest rate which is guaranteed, so you do not have to worry about rising or falling interest rates when investing. You can add up how much interest you will earn over your fixed term, and this will be paid into your account per the conditions of your term deposit.

Term deposits with authorised deposit-taking institutions are also guaranteed for up to $250,000 by the Financial Claims Scheme, so you don’t have to worry about the bank collapsing either.

The only inherent risk of a term deposit is if you may need to break it early. If this happens, you will need to pay a breakage fee and possibly sacrifice some of your interest as a penalty. But if you know you can invest a certain amount of money for a fixed period of time, you can rest assured that a term deposit is a safe investment option.

What is a term deposit account in a bank?

A term deposit account in a bank is a type of investment where you lock away a portion of your savings for a fixed period in return for earning a set amount of interest.

Opening a term deposit account in a bank is a safe way to earn a stable return on your investment of cash.

Term deposit accounts can be a good way to give your savings an extra boost without the need to actively watch or manage your funds during the term of the deposit.

Term deposit accounts in a bank are a popular type of investment because they’re safe and there’s very little risk that you could lose your money.

If you make a term deposit of up to $250,000 with an authorised deposit-taking institution, it’s guaranteed by the Australian government, which means there’s virtually no risk of losing your money and you’re guaranteed return.

Interest rates vary depending on the length of the term, the amount you deposit and the bank you choose.

Can students make term deposits?

If you are a student who has managed to save some money and are looking for a safe investment option, you may be considering a term deposit. Most term deposits (and other bank accounts) are open to anyone who is at least 18 years old.

There are also some term deposits open to younger students, some even without an age limit. These term deposits are usually opened on the student’s behalf, by their parent or guardian.

A term deposit is generally a safe investment option, especially if you want to make sure you can’t touch your savings for a set period of time. If you are 18 or older, shop around for a competitive interest rate before committing. If you are under 18, speak to your parent or guardian to get started.

How do term deposits work?

Term deposits are flexible, low-risk, and earn you interest over time. But before you apply to open a term deposit, you might be wondering: how do term deposits work?

A term deposit is an agreement you make with a financial institution. This agreement will specify a certain amount of money that you will give the bank for a certain amount of time. In return, you’ll earn a fixed amount of interest on your deposit throughout your term.

Term deposits work as an exchange between a financial institution and an individual. You can think of your term deposit as a loan to the bank. Because you’ve loaned the bank your money, they’re willing to pay you interest on your deposit.

Will term deposit rates increase?

While there’s no definite way to predict when term deposit rates will increase, it may help to understand some of the factors that influence term deposit interest rates.

The official cash rate is set by the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA). When the RBA either increases or cuts interest rates, it influences the interest rates set by banks.

The other factor that determines when term deposit rates will rise is competition between banks. Banks may increase their term deposit rates or offer higher rates as an incentive to win new customers over or increase their market share.

Term deposit interest rates will also change, depending on how much you invest and how long you invest.

Can children have term deposit accounts?

It’s many parents’ wish to invest money for their child early, so you might be asking the question, “Can children have term deposit accounts?”

The short answer is yes. You can open a term deposit with funds that will be used to support your child. There are two options when it comes to opening a term deposit for your child. The first is that you open the term deposit in your name rather than theirs. Opening the deposit in your name means that you have full control over the deposit and can withdraw money by signing a request.

You can also open a deposit in your child’s name, but you should consider waiting until your child can sign his or her name, as well as understand their term deposit account. If your child isn’t old enough to sign a request for withdrawal, you won’t have access to withdraw the funds if you need to.

Can you take a term deposit out early?

If you are considering a term deposit, you may be wondering if you can take out your money early. It is possible to break a term deposit, but it will cost you both time and money.

Many banks require 31 days’ notice if you wish to break a term deposit. This means that if you need money urgently for an unexpected expense, it may not be worth breaking your term deposit. Make sure to read the fine print to see if this wait period applies to the term deposit you are considering.

You will also most likely need to pay a breakage fee in order to access your funds, and you may also incur a reduced amount of interest. All of this information – including the fee amounts – should be available in the term deposit product disclosure statement (PDS), so ensure that you read the fine print before committing.

How long is a term deposit?

A term deposit refers to when you lock your money in an account for a certain period of time and at a specified interest rate. You will not be able to access your money for the length of the agreed term without incurring a penalty fee.

A long term deposit generally refers to a term deposit that lasts for more than 12 months – which in some cases may be as long as 10 years.

Usually, the longer you store your money, the better the interest rate you’ll get, so a long term deposit will tend to pay higher interest than a short term deposit.

At the end of the term, you can roll over the money (plus the interest you’ve made during the term), or you can withdraw it all.

Can I negotiate a fixed term deposit rate with the bank?

“Can I negotiate a fixed term deposit rate with the bank?” you may be wondering.

Many banks welcome negotiation when it comes to term deposit rates, especially with deposits of over $100,000. Even if your deposit is lower than $100,000, it may be worth a discussion with your bank.

Negotiating with your bank could secure you a higher fixed rate, which will earn you extra interest over your term. You may also discover bonuses or special offers you can acquire through your bank.

Securing the highest interest rate possible is the key to making the most of your term deposit. You may have compared deposits online or discussed your options with a financial adviser, but you also might be wondering about negotiation in order to get a better rate.

Are term deposits safe?

Term deposits can be a great way to build your savings, but before you invest, you might have one important question. Are term deposits safe?

When it comes to investing your money, you can choose between high-risk and low-risk options. High-risk options tend to have a better potential payout, but you also risk earning no profit at all or even losing your original investment.

Low-risk options tend to earn less profit than high-risk options, but they’re also safer, with little to no risk of losing money. Term deposits fall into the low-risk category.

Term deposits are safe because they’re low-risk, but they’re also protected by the Australian government’s Financial Claims Scheme. This government guarantee will insure your deposit for up to $250,000 per person, per institution, meaning that even if the bank collapses, the government will reimburse you for your deposit.