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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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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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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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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