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5 Great Reasons You Should Consider Refinancing Your Home Loan Now

5 Great Reasons You Should Consider Refinancing Your Home Loan Now

Refinancing your home loan can be beneficial in lots of ways. With interest rates so low at the moment, lenders are now competing on features designed to save you money. Here are my 5 top money-saving tips to consider:

1. Free Redraw: Pay extra money into your loan to reduce the interest charges while still being able to withdraw that money if you need it. Check whether your current loan charges a fee each time you do this – you could save some serious money by switching to one that lets you redraw for free.

2. Direct Salary Crediting: Keep all your money in one place by having your employer deposit your wages into your loan account and pay your loan off faster.

3. Offset Account: Like direct salary crediting, this separate account linked to your home loan helps reduce your interest payable, which in turn can reduce your loan term dramatically. Use it just like an everyday account to make purchases and pay bills.

4. Unlimited Extra Repayments: Make repayments as often as you like without incurring a fee. Even a small amount paid in regularly will reduce your loan term and save you money.

5. Portability: Keep your existing home loan when you sell your home and buy another – you save on fees to set up a new loan.

Thinking about refinancing? There’s a lot to consider, so let me guide you step by step through the fine print. I’m just a phone call away.

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Are Mortgages and Savings Mutually Exclusive?

Are Mortgages and Savings Mutually Exclusive? Of Course Not

Australians are currently less stressed about their mortgages than at any time in the past two years. That’s one of the key findings of the ING Direct “Financial Well Being Index” for the first quarter of 2013.

Compiled by Galaxy Research, the Financial Index suggests that 93% of Australian homeowners are comfortable with their mortgages and 71% of householders are comfortable with their level of savings.

The cause of this upward trend may be hard to place, but low interest rates have certainly played a big part, helping 44% of respondents to consolidate their financial positions, getting ahead in paying down their mortgages. Median average savings increased this quarter with home owning mortgage holders far more likely to have a buffer of savings than survey participants who were renting.

So, is the good news about savings being shared across the nation?

The answer is, well, not quite. While the national median sits at a relatively healthy $15, 427, the Financial Index found a large disparity between states. Victorians held the highest level of household savings with a median figure of $24,971.

In second place was Western Australia at $19,442 followed by $15,907 in New South Wales. Queensland and South Australia lagged well behind with respective medians of $8043 and $7,988 in household savings.

The Financial Index also identified inter-generational differences in saving levels. With median savings of $8,060, Generation X (35 to 49 year-olds) fared the worst with less than half the savings of their baby boomer parents who averaged $17,744. Generation Y households sat neatly in the middle with median savings of $14,377.

The findings indicate that in the current financial climate, with favourable interest rates, smart choices, and a little discipline, mortgages and savings are not mutually exclusive.

Looking to buy a new home or invest in property with minimal stress? Let’s chat. Together we’ll do a mortgage health check to find the right options for you.

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Australia’s Top Capital Cities Identified

Australia’s Top Capital Cities Identified

A recent report claims the majority of our capital cities will continue to perform well in terms of value growth, with a few notable exceptions.

Property evaluation firm, RP Data, has stated that Darwin Sydney, Brisbane and Perth’s good employment growth and strong resource sector will ensure they maintain their position as the country’s top real estate performers.

Darwin’s home value growth was predicted to be weaker than last year, although the capital city will perform well nevertheless.

Sydney will keep its top position as one of the better performing housing markets in Australia, while Perth and Brisbane’s recovery will continue apace.

RP Data also predicted Melbourne’s housing market could return to form this year following initial strong growth.

However, it’s not all good news. The property evaluation experts saw Hobart’s low growth drivers as contributing to the city’s continued underperformance. Without employment or resources to drive capital forward, Hobart would remain a potentially weak link.

Looking to buy a new home or invest in property? Call me for a mortgage health check and to check your top options.

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Predictions for 2013 interest rates

Predictions for 2013 interest rates and how they’ll affect you

The property market waits with bated breath as the big banks gather their predictions on whether interest rates will rise and fall in 2013.

According to the RBA, average three-year, fixed-rate home loans are now the cheapest on record since 1990. The “standard variable” has also dipped close to the 40-year low of 2009, when unemployment was expected to spike.

However, consumer and business confidence was polled at their lowest level late last year since April 2009 (during the GFC). And this is expected to put further pressure on the RBA to cut interest rates in 2013 to counteract the slowing economy figures.

NAB economists have predicted that the official cash rate will fall to 2.25 per cent this year, with cuts in March (“they got that wrong”), May and August. Westpac analysts have suggested that February’s cut was the last we’ll see in 2013 while ANZ recently slashed its RBA cash rate forecasts for 2013, tipping cash rates would end the year at 2 per cent. We will have to wait and see?

Of course this is very good news for property owners and buyers. House prices can often bounce back in the wake of lower interest rates and predictions are currently that Australians can expect a modest 4 per cent to 5 per cent increase in property prices/values if we continue to see the lower mortgage rates. Since November 2011, most banks have cut their standard variable rate by 1.41 per cent per annum, which means you’ll save around $285 per month on a $300,000 home loan over 30 years.

Therefore, with just a few small movements in percentage points resulting in great savings for Australian families, it’s little wonder that RBA announcements make headlines. We’ll be keeping our fingers crossed that this is one downward trend that continues!

If you’d like to make sure you’re taking full advantage of the latest variable or fixed interest rates to save more each month, call me for a mortgage health check. I can keep you up to date with the all the latest offers from lenders.

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Homebuyer Confidence Finally On The Rise

Homebuyer Confidence Finally On The Rise

According to a recent report that measures attitudes of those who own or are thinking of buying a property, it looks like homebuyer attitudes are changing for the better.

The Genworth Homebuyer Confidence index saw homebuyer confidence rise 2.1 index points to 98.4 points in September – the second highest since the survey began in 2007.

Nearly half (49%) of the 2000 respondents said now was a good time to buy a home, compared with 39% in March.

It’s believed by Genworth executives that the survey’s more positive results were closely tied to the Reserve Bank of Australia and lenders’ recent interest rate cuts.

The RBA has delivered 100 basis points worth of cuts since March, substantially decreasing mortgage stress.

Nearly a fifth of those surveyed said they expected to have difficulty meeting their repayments in the next 12 months, while 18% said they had struggled meeting repayments in the past year.

This was down from 22% in both categories from the March survey.

The percentage differences may be small but at least they’re now moving in a more positive direction.

The results are the highest recorded since the start of the GFC.

Are you feeling more confident about the property market? Ready to take advantage of the great mortgage deals available at the moment? Call me – I’ll talk you through all your options.
 

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