We hope you had an amazing Easter long weekend and the Easter Bunny was very generous! March was an exciting month in the property world. In the week prior to Easter, we saw the highest volume of auctions ever recorded across the combined capital cities, and by Melbourne individually. Meanwhile, most capital city home values are continuing their gradual decline, which could mean market conditions are finally turning in favour of buyers.

Interest Rate News

While the Reserve Bank of Australia decided to leave the cash rate on hold at 1.5% this month, lenders have been changing their interest rates outside of the RBA’s movements. Suncorp, for example, increased interest rates on all variable home loans in March, including those for owner-occupiers on principal and interest loans, quoting the rising costs of funding as the reason for the move.

Last month, we also saw the US Federal Reserve raise their official cash rate from 1.5% to 1.75% – the first time in 18 years the cash rate in the USA has been higher than Australia’s. The move has set chins wagging about whether the RBA will follow suit, but most economists don’t predict a cash rate rise for us just yet.

Property Market News

Over the month to March 31, the combined capital city home value average dropped -0.19%. Sydney saw the highest decline of -0.29%, while Melbourne saw prices drop -0.24%. In Adelaide, home dwelling values were down -0.26% over the month. However in Brisbane, home values increased by 0.07%, in Darwin they were up by 0.98%, Canberra 0.24%, Perth saw 0.31% growth and Hobart recorded the highest growth in dwelling values for the month at 1.68%.

Auction activity was through the roof in the week prior to Easter. CoreLogic recorded the highest level of auctions over the year-to-date as at March 25, as well as the highest volume of auctions ever recorded across the combined capital cities. Overall, 3,967 auctions were held (the previous record was 3,908 for the week ending November 30, 2014), with a preliminary clearance rate of 65.5%.

Melbourne led the way with a record busy week in which 2,078 properties went to auction, and 67% sold. Sydney held 1,359 auctions and achieved a clearance rate of 66.2%. In Brisbane, there were 194 auctions and almost half of the properties went under the hammer (49.2%). Adelaide held 143 auctions, and cleared 67.3% of stock. In Canberra, there were 129 auctions and 73.8% of properties sold. Perth held 57 auctions (achieving a 24% clearance rate) and Tasmania had seven auctions (66.7% of properties sold).

With interest rates remaining low, record levels of properties going to auction and prices coming down, now could be a fantastic opportunity to make your next property purchase! Speak to us about your finance options, and we’ll find you a loan that ties in with your financial situation and goals. And if your existing home loan interest rate rose in March and you’d like us to compare the market for a more competitive option, please don’t hesitate to give us a call at Element Finance Fremantle and Joondalup.

Christmas is just over the horizon and decorations are already starting to appear at the local shops. It’s a time of year where it’s almost common practice to splurge! Marketers are all working hard to encourage you to buy, buy, buy and you may have already picked up a few things for yourself and to put under the tree for family and friends.

It’s easy to resort to “retail therapy” when you need a bit of a pick-me-up, and it’s also easy to overspend on gifts amidst all the excitement of Christmas. But what will really give you a thrill and a sense of satisfaction is reaching your savings goals and using the money to buy an asset that will help you grow your nest egg even further (like a house). Here are our tips for beating the urge to splurge this Christmas.

Establish a budget

The most valuable thing you can do for your bank balance this silly season is to create a budget and stick to it. This is especially important if you are buying Christmas gifts.

Write down all of your income and expenses and set an amount for regular savings. Once you have a budget in place, you’ll know your spending limits, and how much you can afford to spend on things like Christmas presents or summer holidays. You’ll also be able to establish good savings habits – something that’s vitally important when the time comes to apply for a home loan. When creating your budget, set yourself short-term savings goals to stay motivated, plus long-term goals to set your sights on where you want to be financially.

There are plenty of online tools to help you create a budget. You could use a simple Excel spreadsheet or a budgeting app. Wally, for example, allows you to manually log your expenses and store pictures of receipts in a virtual budget journal. The app alerts you when you hit your savings goals or when a bill is due. TrackMyGOALSallows you to set, plan, track and manage your savings goals (we’re thinking a new home could be a goodie!).

Think outside the box

If you want to avoid splurging, you need to think outside the box and make a fun game out of finding ways to save money. The key is to challenge yourself to find ways to feel good without buying stuff you don’t really need. If you’re feeling blue and needing some “retail therapy”, do some exercise instead or head to your local park. The endorphins and fresh air will do you a world of good!

When it comes to Christmas gifts, simple home-made presents can potentially save you a load of cash. Get creative! Make some yummy treats and jazz them up with some pretty wrapping. Get a professional photo done and buy some frames in bulk at wholesale prices. Don’t be shy about ‘re-gifting’ anything you don’t need, just give it to someone else who may enjoy it. The options are endless!

Avoid temptation

It’s important to know your spending triggers and to keep them in check to avoid impulse shopping. If you’re a fan of online shopping and find yourself gravitating towards those advertisements on Facebook, perhaps take a hiatus from social media during the silly season and ‘unlike’ your favourite shopping sites.

Similarly, if you find yourself being tempted to buy things for yourself when you’re out and about buying Christmas presents for your family, it’s wise to avoid shopping centres. After all, if you don’t see those killer shoes in the shop window, you won’t know what you’re missing out on. If you have to go out to buy Christmas gifts or essentials like groceries, write yourself a shopping list and take cash with you. By keeping your credit cards safe from yourself (and locked in a drawer at home), you’ll spare yourself a spending hangover.

If you’d like to explore your home loan options, we’d love to hear from you. Even if you don’t have a huge deposit saved, we may still be able to help you, so please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Remember, you’ll need a good savings history if you are planning to buy a property, so resist the urge to splurge this Christmas! Make some savings goals, change your spending habits and set the wheels in motion for a splurge-free future today!How to beat the urge to splurge

Saving a 20% deposit for your first home is no easy task – particularly if you want to buy your home in Melbourne or Sydney where home values seem to be rising faster than most people can save. But the good news is that there could be ways to get around the problem. Here’s a few little-known strategies and suggestions from your friendly mortgage broker that could potentially help you secure your first home sooner. We hope you find them handy!
Buy what you can afford right nowAs a first-time buyer, it’s important to know what you can afford to purchase right now. Why wait when you could opt for a cheaper entry point into the market and work your way up the property ladder? As your mortgage broker, we’re here to help you work out your current borrowing capacity, so it’s worth getting in touch.

Borrow up to 95% with Lenders’ Mortgage Insurance

Did you know you may not need a 20% deposit to buy a property? Under some circumstances, you may be able to qualify for a loan for 95% of the purchase price. You would have to pay Lenders’ Mortgage Insurance and strict eligibility criteria will apply, but if it allows you to achieve the dream of homeownership sooner, it may be worth it. Talk to us – we’ll explain whether this option could work for you.

Borrow up to 100% with a Guarantor Loan

A guarantor is someone who will provide a guarantee for your home loan, usually a family member (better known as the ‘bank of mum and dad’). This guarantee is usually secured against the equity in their own property. Once you have paid off part of your home loan, or your property has increased in value, you can apply to have the guarantee removed.

Guarantor Loans are a great idea for first home buyers who do not have a full 20% deposit as they save you from having to pay Lenders’ Mortgage Insurance. Some lenders even allow you to consolidate some of your debts – such as credit cards – when you buy your home. Talk to us if you’d like to find out more.

Delay paying your deposit 

If you can’t come up with the cash deposit for your home right now, you may be able to use a deposit guarantee. This is a type of insurance that guarantees the funds will be paid upon settlement. Your money may be tied up in a fixed-term deposit or other assets that you’re waiting to sell. Maybe you’ll be eligible to receive the First Home Owners’ Grant after settlement, but you’d like to use the money from the grant as part of your deposit? A deposit guarantee could help! Talk to us to find out if this strategy could work for you.

Use your super to save your deposit

If you’re trying to save a deposit for your first home, you may be able to use your super to help you save faster. Earlier this year, the Government announced plans to introduce a new scheme that, from July 1, 2018, will allow first home buyers to withdraw any voluntary contributions you make to your super after July 1, 2017. You can potentially withdraw up to $30,000 of voluntary contributions, plus any associated deemed earnings, and put the money towards your deposit. The amount withdrawn will be taxed at marginal rates, less a 30 per cent offset – which means the government will effectively be helping you save your deposit! If you’re a couple, you can both withdraw that $30,000 amount, so it could provide you with a significant deposit for your first home.

But before you start whacking your extra money into your super, be sure to ask your financial planner, accountant, or super provider whether or not you could benefit from this new scheme. As yet, the full terms and conditions of the scheme have not been published, but you can find out more here.

Have someone with experience on your team!

Our final suggestion is to have someone in your corner who knows the game and how to play it. As your mortgage broker, we’ll do everything we can to help you secure finance for your first home. We know all the lender requirements for every loan and can help keep the application process simple, so please get in touch and have a chat with us about your property purchasing plans and financial goals. We’ll also be here to support you after you make your first home purchase – our long term goal is to help you build wealth for your future through property – so rest assured you’ll always be in safe hands with us as your credit and finance partner!6 little-known strategies for first home buyers

There’s a certain buzz in the air at this time of year, as the weather warms up and the property market gets into full swing. Buyers continue to come out of hibernation and snap up properties during the spring selling season. If you’re one of the lucky ones about to make an exciting property purchase, we’d love to help you find a home or investment loan that suits your financial circumstances and goals. Please get in touch!
Interest Rate News

This month, the Reserve Bank of Australia kept the official cash rate unchanged at 1.5%. The RBA’s decision to hold the cash rate was widely anticipated by economists. In September, some of the major banks lowered interest rates on fixed rate loans, so it could be a good time to speak to us to see if this option works for you. Overall, interest rates remain low and there are some very competitive products out there, so call us if you’d like us to check your home loan features and rate!

Property Market News

Dwelling values increased in all capital cities except Sydney and Darwin last month. Hobart led the way, with a month-on-month change in dwelling values of 1.71%. In Melbourne, values rose 0.86%, while in Canberra they were up 0.56%. Brisbane saw increases of 0.28%, and Perth experienced 0.08% growth. Adelaide was slower, with an increase of 0.03%. In Sydney, home values decreased by 0.13% and in Darwin they fell 0.68%.

While auction activity was strong earlier in September, it dropped off during the final week of September (week ending October 1). In Victoria, there were only 137 scheduled auctions, with 89% of properties selling, while in New South Wales, 690 auctions were held and only 67% of properties sold. That’s a big drop in volume compared to the previous week (ending September 24), when both states had a combined 2,672 properties go to auction and clearance rates of 74% for Victoria and 70% for New South Wales. Perhaps everyone was just too busy watching the footy Grand Finals!

In South Australia, 78% of the 45 properties scheduled for auction went under the hammer in the week ending October 1. The ACT held 45 scheduled auctions and achieved a clearance rate of 76%. Western Australia had 17 scheduled auctions (67% clearance rate) and Queensland had 306 scheduled auctions, with a 39% clearance rate. The Northern Territory had 6 scheduled auctions (25% clearance rate), while Tasmania only had one property go to auction, and it sold!

Spring is traditionally the most popular time of year for vendors to sell, and with more competition out there, you may score an attractive deal on the property of your dreams! So please give us a call to talk about your spring property plans, we’re here to help you find you a mortgage that is tailored to suit your financial circumstances and goals, and we’d love to help!Welcome to our October Newsletter

If you’ve been putting all your extra cash into your home loan, well done. Paying your loan off sooner could potentially save you a lot of money on interest. However, owning a safe and reliable car is just as important, particularly if you have a family or need to travel a distance to work. So if you need a new car, how can you afford it if your home loan has been your priority? Is there a way to get the best of both worlds? The answer is yes!

How does it work?

If the equity in your home has grown significantly because you have been paying off your loan for a while, have made extra repayments, or the value of your home has increased, then you may be in a position to refinance your home loan to access your equity. This could give you enough cash to go down to a dealership and buy that new car. Having cash-in-hand may even give you a little extra bargaining power!

Whilst refinancing may mean that your home loan repayments increase somewhat, the increase could potentially be less than the cost of a car loan repayment and your mortgage repayment combined. Car loans and personal loans tend to carry a much higher interest rate than your mortgage. Depending on where you get your car or personal loan, you could pay anything from 6.5% p.a. up to 14.5% p.a. in interest. (Always talk to us before taking out any kind of loan to be sure you’re getting a suitable loan for your needs at a competitive rate.)

Talk to us and we’ll help you to assess your financial position on your loan to see if it is the right move for you.

What are the drawbacks?

It’s important to be aware that if you take some equity out of your home loan, your home loan repayments are likely to increase. You probably won’t be paying as much as you would if you had a separate car loan and a home loan as well, but if you take the full 30-year term to pay it off, it may cost you more in interest over the life of the loan. So if you decide to access your equity to buy a car, we recommend that you make additional repayments and pay it back as quickly as you can. This will help you to maximize the benefit of the lower interest rate you get by using your mortgage rather than a car or personal loan.

Talk to us first

Before you make any large purchase that may require a loan, it’s important to talk to us about your finance options so we can help you find a solution that’s right for you. We’ll help you decide whether refinancing and using your equity to buy what you need is a viable option, or if another type of finance could be more suitable. And above all, remember that car dealerships only offer one type of finance, whereas we offer a variety of finance options that can be tailored to suit your personal financial circumstances and goals – so always talk to us first. We’re here to help you achieve your financial goals, so call us today.Could the equity in your house buy you a new car?


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