Finance advice
Marie Mortimer

Is chasing the lowest interest rate worth the effort?

By Marie Mortimer

With lending rates at record lows, it's important to ensure you're getting the best deal – but is refinancing to a ‘cheaper’ home loan all it's cracked up to be? 

Blogger: Marie Mortimer, managing director, loans.com.au

A low home loan interest rate seems to be the holy grail of sound financial management. At the very least, it gives the borrower who’s bagged one that satisfied feeling of being good with their money. But what does it do for you, really? And is it worth all the research, paper shuffling and late-night decision-making?

Does it matter if your home loan interest rate is a couple of basis points – or even quite a few – higher than the market’s most competitive? What if it came with a tasty sweetener at the beginning, like a honeymoon rate or a holiday, or a gift card? 

Ultimately, the home loan you choose is a matter for you. You know what loan features you are looking for, what interest rate you are happy to settle for and how much priority you might place on any promotional incentives that could be on offer from particular lenders. But the long and the short of it is, low interest rates do matter. A lot. 

Research from comparison site finder.com.au shows the average mortgage is eight times bigger than it was for Australian households 30 years ago. The current average mortgage is $334,000 on an average annual income of $79,000.

In 1984, the average mortgage size was $37,542 on an average annual salary of about $19,000. The proportion of repayments to income was 23 per cent, and now it’s 29 per cent. 

With ever-greater numbers of Australians managing their money carefully with a view to getting into the property market, and willing to allocate a bigger slice of their household income to achieving their goal, every basis point counts when it comes to your home loan interest rate. 

Every 0.25 percent is worth about $50 a month in higher repayments on a home loan of $300,000. That means, for every 0.25 higher your interest rate, it will cost about an extra $600 each year and potentially more than $18,000 over the life of the loan.

This is real money, not just numbers on a page. This is extra cash you will have to find every month. Or not. Low home loan interest rates are very important.

It is a good rule of thumb to investigate a loan product’s interest rate using the comparison rate, which will factor in any fees associated with the loan to give you the true cost, as well as the loan’s flexibility and features. Don’t be tempted to compromise on a low interest rate for a promotion or gift. This is just a marketing tactic and the cost of the campaign will have been engineered into the value of your loan.

If you fancy a holiday down the track, perhaps you could use some of the $18,000 or so you will have saved on every 0.25 percent off your interest rate.

 

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podcast

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With the softening market impacting property values in many parts of Australia, Sally Dale, Opteon state director for NSW, ACT and Qld joins us to discuss the importance of valuations in the current property market

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Joining host Phil Tarrant, Sally will draw on her 25 years of experience in valuation and discuss the processes involved in arriving at a value for a particular property. She will also share how that process differs between commercial and residential properties and the difficulties which regional property valuations can present.

Sally will unpack the importance and cost of regular valuations on your properties, discuss whether presentation and owner input can sway a valuation and share what you should look for when seeking a reputable property valuer.

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!

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Sydney
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Adelaide

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A softening market can be a difficult time for a property investor with finance approval tightening and property capital growth slowing, and while many real estate agents are also feeling the squeeze McGrath Brighton Le Sands' Bill Tsounias claims it is simply the market returning to normal.

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In this episode of the Smart Property Investment Show, Bill joins host Phil Tarrant to share his thoughts on the current Sydney property market, and to share the shifts that he has seen in house and unit sale prices following their worst quarter in the past decade.

Bill will unpack why properties are spending longer on market, share what he believes property investors are doing wrong when trying to sell their properties and share the secrets to getting the best out of a real estate agent and an auction in the current softening market.

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!

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Gavin Kemp and his now-fiancé bought their first property together after only six months of dating. They weren’t even living together at the time. Now, two years on, the pair have bought five properties, sold two and have a solid plan in place for their ongoing property journey. 

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In this episode of the Smart Property Investment Show, Gavin joins host Phil Tarrant to discuss how he chose the locations where he decided to invest and how, due to the initial lack of education (something that he now values highly), he lost money on his first two investments.

Gavin will share his thoughts on the current property market, reveal the people who he has leaned on throughout his property journey and discuss why his strategy employs a zero procrastination rule.

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!

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A joint property portfolio before they were even living together

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