What you should be doing now to take advantage of record-low interest rates

What you should be doing now to take advantage of record-low interest rates

Home loan interest rates in Australia are currently at all-time lows and they may go even lower.

Rates are dropping because the Reserve Bank has cut the cash rate not once but twice, lowering costs for banks. In response, many lenders have announced cuts to their variable rate home loans.

These record low rates are great news for people who currently have mortgages or those intending to get a mortgage.  Unfortunately for those relying on bank interest from savings the news is not that good.

Here’s 4 ways you can make the most of the low mortgage rates.

  1. Don’t change anything

Doing nothing only makes sense if you have a variable rate mortgage and your lender is passing on the cash rate cut. You’re fortunate if this is the case because you’ll already be enjoying lower repayments without you having to do anything.

However, you still might want to consider the following options.

  1. Compare your rate and if you should refinance to a lower one

Even if your lender has passed on the rate cut it makes sense to compare your rate with what else is in the marketplace. With literally hundreds of lenders and thousands of mortgage products available you should at least be checking and keeping your bank honest.

Switching to a lower rate mortgage on the right terms could save you a considerable amount of money.  If you have a look at the marketplace now, some lenders are offering rates in the low 3.0% range.

To get a sense of just how low rates are right now you can check out our monthly lowest mortgage rates page.

  1. Make extra repayments with your lower rate savings

When your rate is reduced you benefit from lower minimum required monthly mortgage repayments. To maximise the benefit simply keep making the same monthly repayments as you were prior to your rate being reduced. The difference between what you need to pay vs what you pay if you maintain repayments will result in you paying back your loan faster and reducing your overall interest expense.

Let’s use an example to demonstrate how the extra repayments work. Say you borrowed $450,000 over 30 years @ 3.89% p.a.

  • Monthly repayments = $2,119

If your lender passed on the last two cash rate cut’s your rate would fall to 3.39% p.a.

  • Monthly repayments at 3.39% = $1,993

The interest you will save is $29,440 and you will be mortgage free two years and 11 months sooner.  How good is that.

  1. Accumulate savings to account for possible rate rises in the future

What goes down will inevitably go up.  Mortgages are usually repaid over a long time which would include different economic cycles. Despite current low rates, you should expect them to rise at some stage in the future. This means your repayments will rise too.

While rates are low you can use your savings from your lower repayments to build up a cash buffer to use if you need to cover higher repayments in the future. There are at two ways you can do this:

  1. Redraw

If your loan allows for extra repayments and has a redraw facility then you could follow the extra repayment strategy from tip 3 and then redraw the money if you need it later. Note that some lenders have restrictions on how much or how often you can redraw.

  1. Offset account

If your loan has an offset account you can simply add the savings to the offset and they’ll act like extra repayments, effectively helping you pay less interest. But if you need to cover higher repayments in the future you have access to the funds.

Contact your PrimeAdvisory Accountant or Financial Advisor to discuss how you can take advantage of the currently low interest rates to stay on-track.

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