Finance advice
Andrew Crossley

Fixed versus variable rates

By Andrew Crossley

Rates are at record lows, but they're not expected to stay there much beyond mid-next year – so investors need to consider their options very carefully. 

Blogger: Andrew Crossley, Australian Property Advisory Group

It is often wise to go through a broker but whether a broker is used or the borrower goes straight to the lender (automatically limiting their choices and what may be best for them) they must make their own decision on whether to fix their rate or have a variable rate.

Borrowers can obtain a fixed rate at 4.99 per cent for five years. Variable rates can be down to 4.63 per cent or lower if negotiated on a larger loan. Given the commonly held belief that rates will go up with the next change (whenever that is), many believe fixing is the way to go, likewise, many people like the flexibility of knowing they can inexpensively move to a different lender should they want to and it is not cheap to do so when on a fixed rate.

Often, it may be considered handy to have part of the loan fixed and part variable, hedging the bet as it were. Whether it is wise to fix for five years or one, without the benefit of hindsight, it is difficult to say.

Fixed rates
Loan repayments will not change during this fixed-rate period. Many people have complained about break costs when leaving their lender, or wanting to reduce their interest rate. Let’s not get confused between break costs and breaking a fixed-rate term. Break costs were abolished in July 2011, so lenders cannot charge deferred establishment fees/ mortgage discharge fees on loans entered into after that date. This used to be a percentage, based on how long the individual has been with the lender. Administration fees still apply though when discharging. If a person attempts to exit a fixed-rate loan, they will usually pay heavily to do so — and this is quite fair.

Individuals obtaining fixed-rate loans want to have their repayments remain unchanged for a period, maybe because the rate they obtained was good, or maybe they just want the comfort of knowing what they have to pay every month. This is a contract they enter into. You cannot break your agreement and decide that you don’t like it anymore (especially just because interest rates are going down further.) Fixed rates are good if variable rates are increasing, but are not good if variable rates are coming down. You are gambling when choosing between fixed rates and variable rates, and it is a gamble you need to live with if it is a fixed rate you want. If it’s a variable rate you want then you can always fix it later.

Variable rates
Variable rates are affected by how greedy the lender is. They may have a front-end rate and a back-end rate (ie. if you are already a client, the rate on your loan may not be as low as the rate the lenders offer to new client) Lenders change the rate independent of the RBA in regards to the amount, more so than the timing.

In summary:
Brokers cannot advise as to whether you should fix your rate and it is unfair for them to be expected to. I know some consumers try to avoid taking responsibility for their actions and want someone else to make the decision for them, meaning they have someone to blame if it does not work out. Unfortunately for that type of individual, they must make their own decisions. This decision can be made easier though, with a good broker.

A good broker will have an understanding of the market, the economy, and what the media and different economists are saying. The broker will share that knowledge with their client to then help the client make a more informed decision.

Finally, it may be a good idea to have part of the loan fixed and part variable, but it is important to discuss this with the loan provider, so the differences, both good and bad can be considered.

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About the Blogger

Andrew Crossley

Andrew Crossley

Andrew Crossley is a property investment advisor and property advocate and the founder of Australian Property Advisory Group, specialising in representing the buyer not the seller. He is also the author of the #1 International Amazon Best Seller ‘Property Investing Made Simple’ comprising of the 7 key tips to reducing property investment risk and create real wealth. (Busybird Publishing, $24.95). For more information visit www.australianpropertyadvisorygroup.com.au

 

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podcast

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Will Magee has had ambitions to enter into the Australian property market for quite some time, but it has been more than just finances holding him back.  Having been granted permanent residency just two weeks ago, Will is wasting no time and is now in the process of signing papers and finding his first investment property.

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In this episode of the Smart Property Investment Show, Will joins host Phil Tarrant to share why he is purchasing his first property in partnership with his brother, discuss the complications that can arise from such a strategy, and unpack the ongoing plan for building a joint property portfolio with his brother.

Will will also share how they approached saving for their first property, why he is taking out the mortgage in his name exclusively, and share their savings plan for the year ahead.

If you like this episode, show your support by rating us or leaving a review on iTunes (The Smart Property Investment Show) and by following Smart Property Investment on social media: FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.

If you have any questions about what you heard today, any topics of interest you have in mind, or if you’d like to lend your voice to the show, email [email protected] for more insights!

RELATED AREAS OF INTEREST:

From property in Australia to a ski lodge in Japan
Mortgage Trusts, an alternative first step for property investors
Should a real estate title be in one person’s name only?

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A property investment plan years in the making
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Median house prices in regional Victoria outperformed that of Melbourne in the June quarter, the latest REIV figures reveal. 

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Median house prices in the regions rose 4.0 per cent to $419,500 but in Melbourne they dipped by 0.6 of a percentage point to $840,000.

The result in Melbourne was due to a 0.8 of a percentage point fall in prices achieved at auction; this was despite a lift of 2.3 per cent in private sales.

Inner Melbourne suffered due to auction prices, where median prices fell by 4.9 per cent to $1,459,000 but it was middle Melbourne that was hardest hit, with a 5.4 per cent drop to $974,500.

Outer Melbourne had a good quarter with the median rising by 0.5 of a percentage point to $681,000.

Apartment prices in regional Victoria grew by 3.7 per cent to $304,500 while the metro media was up by 0.5 of a percentage point to $604,000.

REIV President Richard Simpson said that despite fewer sales, many sectors of the market were performing well.

“2017 was a bumper year and while the trendline has flattened, despite the fall in median house prices in the June quarter, median prices are still up this calendar year for both houses and units, in Melbourne and in the regions,” Mr Simpson said. 

In particular there was been strong growth in regional centres which is probably due to the first-home buyers’ concessions said Mr Simpsons.

“The first-home buyers’ concession has been a boon for regional areas. A new entrant to the property market buying a house at the regional median will pay no stamp duty, while a first home buyer of an apartment in Melbourne at the median price would pay stamp duty of nearly $25,000,” he said.

Mr Simpson said that more prospective buyers are looking towards regional Victoria which is also having an effect in Melbourne.

“Melbourne’s outer perimeter continues to grow. Small increases in the June quarter mean that the median prices for both houses and units have risen over 10.5 per cent from a year ago.

Mr Simpson said moving forward that vendors need more realistic expectations as the highs of 2017 are now over.

“Negative chatter about the future of the sector coupled with stronger lending controls by financial institutions has created some uncertainty and vendors need to be realistic with their price expectations,” Mr Simpson said.

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Regional Victoria showing up Melbourne in price performance, new data finds
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  string(381) "

If Mark Hodge’s face looks familiar to you it could be because of his time working as a professional entertainer which saw him working with the Australian ballet, appearing on multiple seasons of Dancing with the Stars and touring in musical theatre for 17 years. What you may not know is that Mark is also heavily involved in the short-term property rental marketspace.

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Mark joins host Phil Tarrant to discuss his transition from entertainer to investor, a journey pushed forward by dance related injuries and even a hit and run which saw him needing to find alternate methods to bring in an income. Mark shares how bad long-term tenants and a gang member guided him to the short-term rental market, and how this pushed him into helping others to realise the same benefits.

Mark will also address the common concerns, discuss what his company Maisonnets specialise in and unpack how they are making the process of filling short term rentals easier for investors.

If you like this episode, show your support by rating us or leaving a review on iTunes (The Smart Property Investment Show) and by following Smart Property Investment on social media: FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.

If you have any questions about what you heard today, any topics of interest you have in mind, or if you’d like to lend your voice to the show, email [email protected] for more insights!

RELATED AREAS OF INTEREST:

The hard-to-swallow truth: The prickly points of the Airbnb reforms
Airbnb reforms unpacked for property investors
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AREAS MENTIONED:

Melbourne
Sydney
Rushcutters Bay
Maroubra
Potts Point

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From pirouettes to property investment

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