Summer is here and Christmas is just around the corner. Our last newsletter for 2016 focuses on maximising those New Year car sales, investment loans and becoming a good landlord, and how you can apply some damage control to your Christmas spending.

The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) has met for their final meeting for 2016, and announced the official cash rate will remain unchanged at 1.5 per cent. We last saw rates fall in May and August this year, which brought the official cash rate to its lowest level in Australian history. The RBA will not meet again until February 2017, so the cash rate will stay at this record breaking low level at least until then.

There is a great deal of speculation about what the RBA’s next move will be. Some forecasters anticipate that rates will now stay on hold until later in 2017 and then start to rise as inflation improves. Others are predicting continuing low inflation and soft wages growth may influence another RBA cash rate cut to as low as 1.0 per cent next year, with the first cut coming as early as February next year. Either way, we can expect to see these very competitive home loan rates in the market for some time.

Regardless of what the RBA decide to do, lenders have been varying their rates outside of the RBA’s rate movements. Over recent weeks we have seen quite a few lenders increase their fixed rates, so if you are considering fixing some or all of your loan, now might be a good time to talk to us.

We are also seeing a more noticeable variance in the rates that are being offered by different lenders in the market. So if you have a current home loan, it’s worthwhile getting in touch to determine if your loan product is still right for your needs.

2016 has been a fascinating year. Global economic influences and developments in the US, such as the election of Donald Trump to the presidency, have caused a bit of uncertainty in the market. But overall it has been a strong year for home values here in Australia. From January to October this year, capital city home values grew by 9.1 per cent. Perth and Darwin are the only cities where values have fallen slightly for the first 10 months of the year.

Compared to the same time last year, combined capital city home values have increased by 7.5 per cent. This is trending up from 6.1 per cent at the end of July this year, with house values growing slightly higher than unit values across the country.

Summer is usually a slower time for Australian property markets, with much activity coming to a standstill over the Christmas period. However, the market activity in most of our capital cities is still quite strong.

According to Australian Property Monitors (APM), Melbourne listed 1173 auctions on Saturday 3 December alone, with a clearance rate of 80 per cent. Sydney also had a strong clearance rate of 76 per cent from 874 auctions on the same day. Other cities with strong auction numbers included Adelaide (160 auctions), and Brisbane (148 auctions), and even Canberra (with 81 auctions).

2016 has been a positive year in our property markets, and this looks set to continue into 2017! With the low interest rates we are seeing at the moment, it’s a great time for those in the market to purchase property, whether you’re a first home buyer, investor or refinancing an existing loan.

As this is our last newsletter for 2016, we’d like to take this opportunity to wish you and your family Merry Christmas and a safe and happy festive season. Thank you for your support throughout 2016, it’s been a big year for everyone, and we’re sure you’re looking forward to the break as much as we are! Thank you once again for your ongoing support, and we look forward to connecting in the New Year.

Information sources:
Home values:

An interest-only home loan is a product that allows you to obtain a loan and only pay the interest for a set period of time, without paying off any of the loan principal.

Many people think that interest-only home loans are only for serious property investors with aggressive purchasing strategies. However, all kinds of property buyers can apply for an interest-only loan and there are a lot of clever ways you can use them to your advantage.

As your mortgage and finance broker, we’re here to make sure you understand the different uses of loan products and how they may apply to your personal financial strategy and purchasing goals. In this article we talk about the pros and cons of interest-only products to help you decide if it’s time to say hello to interest-only.

The Pros

Smaller loan payments.

During the interest-only period of the home loan, your monthly loan payments would be lower than with a principal and interest loan. This is because your payments only need to cover the interest on the loan. Great if you want to reduce your expenses!

Free up cash.

Lower loan payments mean you could use your available cash for other purposes that may be financially beneficial. You could use the money to pay off debts to help save money on interest, make other investments to build wealth for your future, fund a loan to purchase another property or to make home renovations to increase your property value and equity position.

Tax deductible for property investors.

Want to save money on tax? The interest on an investment property debt is usually tax deductible for property investors, as long as you follow the ATO rules. That means an interest-only loan could very beneficial if you are a property investor because it could help you to maximise your tax deductions and cash-flow. Unfortunately, if you are using an interest-only loan product to purchase a home as an owner-occupier, you will not receive any tax deduction for interest.

Benefits are ongoing for the life of the interest-only term.

With an interest-only home loan, you can often choose an interest-only term from 1, 3, 5 or 10 years. This can be very beneficial for tax minimisation strategies and financial planning purposes. It could also be very beneficial for people buying a home on a tight budget as it can help you to plan your finances for the first few years you own the property as well as keep your loan payments lower.

Make payments on the principal when you have extra cash.

Many interest-only home loans allow you to make payments on the principal of your loan if you want to. This means that you can still build equity in your property by making a repayment on the principal of the loan when you have the extra cash.

The Cons

It’s possible that you may not build any equity.

Interest-only loan payments do not help you to build equity in your property because your loan payments do not pay down the loan principal. That means you will be relying on property prices to rise to gain equity (unless you make extra payments as mentioned above).

When the interest-only period ends, the loan will revert to a principal and interest loan and your loan payments will increase unless you make other plans.

If you decide to take out an interest-only loan, you should be careful to plan ahead for what you will do at the end of your interest-only period. At that time, you will have to decide whether to renegotiate another interest-only term, allow the loan to revert to a principal and interest loan, refinance the loan, or sell the property to pay off your debt.

An interest-only loan will cost more in interest over the life of the loan than a principal and interest loan.

Very few people keep a loan for the full 25 years, but you should be aware that the cost differentials between an interest-only loan and a principal and interest loan can be quite significant when calculated over the entire life of the loan. For example:

  • With a normal principal and interest loan for $500,000 at 4.78% p.a. based on an LVR of 80% over 25 years, the total cost of interest on the loan would be$357,766 over the 25 year period.
  • On an interest-only loan for $500,000 at 4.78% p.a. based on an LVR of 80% over 25 years with an interest-only period of 10 years, the total cost of interest on the loan would be $440,443 over the 25 year period. This means that the interest-only loan could cost you an additional $82,676 in interest compared to a 25 year principal and interest loan.

You may miss out on a golden opportunity to pay down the principal while interest rates are low.

Is a principal and interest the right loan for you considering that interest-rates are now at all time lows? Sometimes it can be worth paying more now to save money later. Paying down as much as you can off the loan principal now could mean that when interest rates do rise, you will be paying those higher interest rates on a reduced loan amount. Of course, a reduced loan size could mean lower loan repayments and/or paying less interest in the long-term.

Ask us if an interest-only home loan could help you to achieve your goals.

As your professional mortgage and finance brokers, we know about the pros and cons of all home loan and finance products. We’re here to help you understand the different financing options available and give you expert advice on how you can be clever about applying them to help you achieve your goals. Everyone’s personal financial circumstances and goals are different and you can be sure we’ll take the time to listen and understand what you want to achieve. If you’re considering using an interest-only home loan, please get in touch. We’ll help you decide if it’s the right option for you.

Buying a property can be a very detailed and complicated process that takes a great deal of effort to complete successfully.

If you have no experience with buying a property, you may find it difficult to know if you have done everything right. The good news is there’s no need to do it on your own. With the right team of business professionals on your side you can make the whole process go a lot more quickly and smoothly, prevent expensive mistakes and maximise the full financial benefits of making your property purchase.

So what kind of professional support might you need? Here are five business professionals that can be worth their weight in gold to every property buyer, whether you’re buying your first home, your next home or a property investment.

Building & Pest Inspector

When you’ve chosen the area that’s right for your property purchase, you should take the time to find a Building & Pest Inspector who knows the area well before you even start your property selection process. When you find a property that you’re interested in buying, having your experienced Building & Pest Inspector lined up will help you to move on it quickly and with the appropriate caution.

The word ‘caution’ is an important word to use here because not every property is as good as it looks to the untrained eye. The rule of thumb when purchasing a property is always to take a good look before you leap. Many unwary home buyers have fallen in love with what they think is the perfect home, only to find out later that it has expensive maintenance issues.

Solicitor / Conveyancer

A solicitor or conveyancer is required to attend to the legal formalities and prepare all of the documents you need to transfer a property into your name and ensure your settlement day goes smoothly. Their role is to be the champion of your legal interests during the purchase process and that’s why choosing a good one is important to your success.

First of all, your solicitor will be invaluable in helping you to understand the terms, conditions and contents of any contract that you will be required to sign. If you are intending to purchase at auction, they can explain the auction rules and conditions. If you are building a new home, or if you are purchasing off the plan from a developer, an experienced solicitor will know what you need to be careful about, what to include in the contract of sale to protect your interests and help to ensure that you end up getting exactly what you are paying for.


A good accountant can be a huge bonus when purchasing a property, particularly if you’re a property investor but also if you’re a first home buyer or an owner occupier. That’s because understanding your own financial position is the most important part of the property purchasing process. It helps you determine your buying power, identify and plan for any potential cash-flow difficulties and ensures you understand and can cover all the expenses.

A good accountant who is experienced with property purchases will help you to maximise any tax benefits you may be entitled to receive. If you are planning to invest in property, it is a good idea to consult an accountant about what the tax benefits will be in your particular case and get advice about how to maximise them before you even begin.

Real Estate Agent/s

It’s a great idea to find out who are the best real estate agents servicing your chosen property market. Even though a real estate agent’s primary purpose is to represent a seller in a property transaction, the really good ones will also be willing to lend you their expertise in locating the right property for you – even if they don’t have it on their books right now.

As a buyer, you will not pay a real estate agent for any services they provide to you, as the seller is responsible for paying their fees. However, good real estate agents will want to meet you and keep in touch with you because you may be a prospective buyer for one of their future customer’s properties. They will take the time to discover your needs and take an interest in what kind of property you are looking for, making a note of your approximate price range and when you want to buy. When an appropriate property becomes available, they will contact you to see if you are interested. This can help you stay on top of new properties coming on to the market in the areas that are of interest you.

Mortgage & Finance Broker

There are thousands of home loan products available and finding the one that is exactly the right fit for your personal financial circumstances and goals can be a confusing process. If you approach a bank directly, they will only tell you about their own products. If you go online to do your own research on all the options, you could be there for days and still be in the dark about which finance product is the best one for you.

Some people just pick the loan with the lowest interest rate they can see and never even find out if a different type of loan product could have saved them more money in other ways.

A professional mortgage and finance broker is here to help you sort through all of these aspects of choosing a loan. Our job is to find a loan that is exactly the right fit considering your short and long-term goals, how much you can actually afford to borrow and what you need to get out of your loan in terms of features and benefits.

Consulting a mortgage and finance broker is usually free of charge. We’re even happy to have an informal chat with you if you just want to test the waters about getting a loan. Expert credit advice could make a big difference to your financial well-being both now and in the future – it’s not only about your finance needs right now.

If you need help meeting the right professionals for your property purchasing team, we’ll be happy to provide you with some referrals. As mentioned, we’re also happy to give you whatever information you may need about loan products and their uses. So please feel free to call and chat with us today.

Conditions are great for home buyers and borrowers! Are you ready to tackle all the excitement of our very busy Spring property markets?

Last month, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) appointed a new Governor, Dr Philip Lowe. After his very first meeting as the RBA Governor, Dr Lowe announced the RBA would be keeping the official cash rate on hold at 1.50 per cent during October. But everyone was well ahead of Dr Lowe’s announcement after he made comments to the press about the lack of effectiveness of further rate cuts in stimulating economic growth when he was first appointed in September.

The RBA last cut rates in August, bringing the official cash rate to all-time lows. However the cut did not have the desired effect of reducing the level of the Australian dollar against other currencies that the RBA intended. Analysts now appear to be undecided regarding the prospect of further rate cuts this year and the RBA is taking a wait and see attitude before indicating its next move.

Spring is traditionally the busiest time of the year in Australia’s property markets, however Grand Final Weekend slowed the market for the last week of September, particularly in Victoria where there were only 133 scheduled auctions for the week ending October 02. However these auctions did achieve a very high clearance rate of 92%. The NSW market was a bit more active with 628 auctions achieving a clearance rate of 80%.

Elsewhere around the country, the QLD market had a lot of activity with 253 auctions, but the clearance rate was very low at just 36%. SA scheduled 47 auctions with a clearance rate of 75%, ACT had 50 auctions with a clearance rate of 72%, WA had only 15 auctions with a clearance rate of 33%, NT held 14 auctions with a clearance rate of 23% and Tasmania had only 5 auctions with a clearance rate of 25%.

With increased activity in the Spring property market, home values are also on the rise in most markets. Sydney saw a rise in home values of 0.81% for the month of September, Melbourne saw a rise of 2.30%, Brisbane/Gold Coast rose 0.22%, Adelaide rose 2.11%, Canberra 2.38% and in Hobart home values also rose by 0.14%.

In the north and west of the country, home values have been trending downward during the first 10 months of 2016. Darwin’s home values fell by 2.21% and Perth’s by 2.37% during the month of September alone. It should also be noted that rental rates are also showing a downward trend in these markets.

Interest rates are currently at all-time lows and following the RBA rate cut in August, lenders are offering some great deals for all kinds of property buyers. If you’re considering purchasing a property or refinancing an existing home loan, it is a great time to see us to discuss your plans or get loan pre-approval. If also a good time to talk to us if you’ve been considering a switch to a fixed rate product to lock in a low rate for a fixed term. Whatever your financing needs we’d love to help, so please get in touch today.

Getting a mortgage locked in can be a major hurdle when buying a property, whether you’re a home buyer or an investor.

For some, it can be a very anxious time and it’s easy to understand why you might try to avoid the stress of doing it again for as long as you can. However, sticking with the same loan for too long can be a mistake. In this article we talk about some of the benefits of refinancing your mortgage and some of the strategic reasons why you should regularly consider making a switch.

#1. It pays to change with the times.

Mortgage products can become outdated very quickly and it’s important to check regularly to make sure your home loan product hasn’t become a bit of a dinosaur. It really can pay to take the time just to see what’s out there in terms of mortgage features.

Some products offer features that could save you money outside of your mortgage. For example, fee free transaction accounts or low-rate credit cards. Other mortgage products may offer rewards, incentives or even more flexibility. Or perhaps you could be benefiting from more features on your home loan like the ability to make extra repayments and redraw them if you need to, or an offset account that helps you maximise your savings and saves you money on interest.

#2. Minimise your interest bill.

Interest rates also change frequently, with lenders making adjustments in response to economic influences, RBA rate movements and policy directives from industry bodies such as the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA). And smaller lenders and new lenders in the market place often offer lower interest rates than the big banks, just to attract new business. So it really does pay to compare your interest rate against a range of other options from time to time.

A recent study showed that borrowers who held the same home loan for more than ten years could easily have paid thousands more in interest than borrowers who monitored their interest rate and switched mortgage products every two to three years. You might wonder how that can be true but consider this, if you have a $500,000 mortgage and can manage to reduce the interest by just one percent, over 30 years you could save $100,000 in interest repayments. Switching regularly could potentially help you achieve results like these for yourself.

#3. Capitalise on rises in home values.

The interest rate you may be eligible to receive depends on a number of different criteria and these can change over time. A great example of this is your loan to value ratio (LVR). Your LVR is calculated by dividing the amount of your home loan by the current value of your property. (This is effectively a measure of how much equity you have in the property.)

Generally speaking, the higher your LVR, the greater the risk to the lender and that’s why they usually apply a higher interest rate to loans with an LVR above 80%. As you make your regular home loan repayments and the value of your property grows over time, your LVR constantly improves. If your property has risen in value or you have made significant headway on paying down your loan, you could find your LVR has improved considerably and you could now be eligible for a better interest rate.

#4. Maximise improvements to your circumstances.

An improvement in your personal circumstances could also make you eligible for a better interest rate. Perhaps your credit score has improved over time. Maybe you have had a significant salary increase since you purchased your home, or you have paid off other debts and loans and your financial commitments have been reduced.

Everyone’s circumstances are different and there are lots of ways that time can cause them to change. A consultation with your mortgage and finance broker will soon reveal how any changes to your personal circumstances may influence your interest rate on a new loan.

#5. Make your investment work harder for you.

Purchasing a home can be a very emotional experience and it’s easy to forget that your home is more than just the cosy haven where you live. It’s a valuable asset and an important investment that can help you build wealth.

When you pay down your mortgage and at the same time, the value of the property increases, you build equity in the property that you may be able to access by refinancing. You can use these funds to invest in another property, make another form of investment such as stocks and shares, or to increase the value of your home through renovation. These are just some of the popular wealth building strategies that refinancing can help you to achieve.

Another way you can use refinancing to save money on interest and improve your financial situation is by consolidating your debts. The interest rate you pay on your mortgage is the lowest interest rate available – much more attractive than the interest rate offered on credit cards, car loans, personal loans and store credit.

If you’re interested in refinancing your home loan, just give us a call. We’ll help you decide if it’s the right move for you and work out the numbers to ensure the costs don’t outweigh the benefits. We’ll also help you to find a new loan that has the right features for your needs and offers you the best interest rate available for you considering your current personal financial circumstances. Call us today.

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