Finance advice

Comparison rates – a true comparison?

By Reporter

When it comes to assessing home loan products, just which rate should home buyers consider and is a comparison rate a genuine comparison?

 

Choosing a home loan is no simple task, and just comparing interest rates, though it might sound simple enough, can prove to be a real challenge.

The real cost of a home loan lies not just in its interest rate, but also its associated fees and charges.

Furthermore, a home loan usually offers more than one interest rate, for example, a standard variable rate of 6.69 per cent as well as comparison rate of 6.74 per cent.  Confused?

This comparison rate, introduced under the Uniform Consumer Credit Code in 2003, aims to help borrowers understand the true cost of their mortgage, including the interest rates as well as fees and charges.

However the helpfulness of comparison rates, not to mention accurateness, remains rather hazy.

According to a review of comparison rates conducted by Hawkless Consulting for the Uniform Consumer Credit Code Management Committee in 2008, the benefits of comparison rates remain theoretical at best, yet it has remained compulsory for all lenders to use them.

Michael Russell, CEO of brokerage Mortgage Choice, says he would welcome a review into the ongoing relevance of comparison rates.

“Our customers are not placing a huge amount of relevance in the comparison rate anymore," he says.

Furthermore, according to Mr Russell, comparison rates do not include all costs associated with a mortgage, particularly exit fees, and therefore they cannot be considered to be a true reflection of the cost of a mortgage.

James Boyle, CEO of non-bank lender Liberty Financial, is also sceptical of their relevance.

"They are expensive to maintain and in our experience borrowers neither refer to nor rely on them,” he says.

“In fact, with recent changes in regulation placing higher emphasis on the assessment and suitability of loans I’d be surprised if a review didn’t find comparison rates redundant," Mr Boyle said.

For property buyers shopping around for a home loan, the best policy to adopt in order to ensure you know the true cost of your loan would be to take the time to understand any product yourself. You can do this  simply by requesting an outline of all associated fees – now compulsory under the new National Consumer Credit Protection laws (NCCP) before signing any home loan contracts.

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  ["title"]=>
  string(51) "Boost for investors as app sets up off-site bidding"
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  string(55) "boost-for-investors-as-new-app-sets-up-off-site-bidding"
  ["introtext"]=>
  string(144) "

Property investors are now able to identify and bid on auctions remotely using a new live-streaming functionality launched by Gavl.

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Called “Request an Auction”, the new functionality enables users to watch and bid on any Sydney or Melbourne auction remotely.

Through Gavl, prospective buyers are now able to register to bid on their preferred auction. The platform will obtain permission from the listing agent and confirm within 48 hours.

Vendors can also request to have their auctions broadcast to a larger buyer audience.

Co-founder Joel Smith said that auctions streamed on Gavl attract 47 per cent more viewers than traditional ones.

He said that Request an Auction will be valuable for remote buyers.

“Buyers are able to have Gavl attend any auction they nominate, so they will never have to miss out on an opportunity due to logistical complications in physically attending the auction.

“Vendors, too, have the opportunity to directly book an auction with us, so they can open up their event to buyers all around the world. With more potential buyers, they’re giving their property the chance to receive more bids and maximise their sales result.”

Mr Smith said that prior to the Request an Auction app, buyers were limited to what they could achieve through the Gavl technology.

Gavl is a live-streaming and bidding platform for real estate auctions.

Mr Smith said that it has streamed more than 6,000 auctions, which have achieved 3.5 million views from 50 countries.

Gavl’s Request an Auction function is currently being offered in Melbourne and Sydney only.

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Boost for investors as app sets up off-site bidding
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Having to split her time between Hong Kong and her original base of Sydney has not slowed Julia Tita’s goal of building a high-performance Australian property portfolio. Instead the resulting alterations to her strategy have positively impacted her investing success.

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Having recently purchased her 6th property, Julia joins host Tim Neary to discuss her journey, share her ups and downs over the years, and reveal her thoughts on why some properties are better than others.

Julia also explains why she no longer makes a move without the help of a buyer’s agent, why working with a strong team of specialists is extremely important and discloses her long-term property ambitions.

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:

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Going global
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AREAS MENTIONED:

Eagleby
Charters Towers
Townsville
Brisbane
Paddington
Sydney
Orange
Melbourne 
Glen Iris
Bondi

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How a move to Hong Kong impacted Julia’s Australian property goals
object(stdClass)#1223 (52) {
  ["id"]=>
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  ["title"]=>
  string(88) "‘Common’ referrer practice of being paid on both sides of the fence coming to an end"
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The practice of property investment firms sharing undisclosed kickbacks among the supply chain involved in development sales will be outlawed in NSW on 1 July this year under the Real Estate Reform being handed down by regulators in NSW.

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Property commentator and valuer, Suburbanite’s Anna Porter, said the reform will address conflicts of interest.

She said they arise when a mortgage broker, accountant or financial planner receives part of the commission from the property firm, who receive their fees from the developer or seller.

“This puts the broker into a position by which they are being paid on both sides of the fence,” she said.

“Until now this has been a grey area and there was nothing stopping this practice.” 

Ms Porter said this has been a common practice in the industry.

"Some well-known mortgage broking firms openly admit to receiving $5,000–$10,000 per referral in their pocket.”

She also said this process has been going on for decades.

"Property investment firms commonly pass some of their commission on to the mortgage broker, accountant or financial planner as a reward to them for passing on the referral. This means that many brokers or financial service providers are making significant amounts of money just to refer on to a property firm, often totalling hundreds of thousands of dollars a year," Anna Porter said.

Ms Porter said the Property, Stock and Business Agents Amendment (Property Industry Reform) Bill 2017 will be in force from July this year, and will prohibit this practice unless the broker or referring partner also holds a real estate industry license.

"Under the new laws, if the broker takes a referral fee from the property firm, they will have to be a licensed real estate agent and also hold a corporation’s license,” she said. 

“Subsequently, every transaction that they receive a referral fee from, they will be putting their license up against the transaction and taking full liability for the conduct, practices and outcome of that transaction, even if they have little to do with the transaction; they are a party to it financially and therefore take as much risk as everyone else in the transaction.”

Mr Porter said where a referrer holds a real estate license, and receives a part of the sale commission, they may find themselves in breach of the ethical requirements under the act.

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‘Common’ referrer practice of being paid on both sides of the fence coming to an end

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