Hold onto your hats, things are about to get a little bumpy. Economists from Australia’s biggest bank are predicting the Reserve Bank will raise the official cash rate as early as June – and we’re already seeing fixed interest rates increase significantly.

Commonwealth Bank (CBA) economists have brought forward their forecasted Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) cash rate hike from August to June, making it the earliest prediction amongst the big four banks.

We’ll go into more detail on why CBA has brought forward their prediction below, but first something a little more concrete: we’ve definitely noticed fixed rates trending up in recent months.

Fixed rate hikes

For example, back in November, for a $700,000 loan at 80% loan-to-value ratio, a two-year fixed rate with one particular lender was 1.84%.

That rate has since gone up to 3.04% – a staggering increase.

While not every lender has increased fixed rates so significantly, we are seeing them go up across the board.

So if you have been umming and ahhing about fixing your rate lately, you’ll want to get in touch with us sooner rather than later.

Because while most lenders have recently reduced their variable rates to compensate a little, with news now that the cash rate is being tipped to increase mid-year, you can expect variable rates to increase with the cash rate.

So why has CBA brought forward their forecast to June?

Ok, so back to CBA’s June cash-rate hike prediction and why they’ve brought it forward from August.

In a nutshell, CBA senior economist Gareth Aird is anticipating inflation to be a lot stronger than the RBA is forecasting.

As a result, Mr Aird believes this will lead to a rise in the cash rate to 0.25% at the June board meeting (currently it’s at a record-low 0.1%).

“We are very comfortable with our expectation that the quarter-one 2022 underlying inflation data will be a lot stronger than the RBA’s forecast,” explains Mr Aird.

And here’s the thing: it’s not the only cash rate hike CBA is predicting the RBA will make over the next 12 months.

Mr Aird is expecting a further three rate increases over 2022 to take the cash rate to 1%, with another move to 1.25% in early 2023.

That’s five cash rate hikes over 12 months!

Get in touch today to explore your options

Believe it or not, there are more than 1 million mortgage holders out there who have never experienced a rate rise (the last RBA cash rate hike was in November 2010).

And if the CBA’s prediction of five rate hikes over the next 12 months proves right, then some households will be in for a bumpy ride as they face hundreds of dollars in extra mortgage repayments each month.

So if you’re keen to act before the RBA increases the official cash rate, get in touch with us today. We’d love to sit down with you and help you work through your options in advance.

Disclaimer: The content of this article is general in nature and is presented for informative purposes. It is not intended to constitute tax or financial advice, whether general or personal nor is it intended to imply any recommendation or opinion about a financial product. It does not take into consideration your personal situation and may not be relevant to circumstances. Before taking any action, consider your own particular circumstances and seek professional advice. This content is protected by copyright laws and various other intellectual property laws. It is not to be modified, reproduced or republished without prior written consent.

Open banking is here and it’s charging full steam ahead. So just how are lenders and fintechs using your shared data in this brave, new, data-fuelled world? A new report has shed some interesting insights.

With all that’s gone on over the past two years, one of the nation’s biggest banking overhauls in recent memory has slipped under the radar.

It’s called ‘open banking’, and it aims to allow you to easily and securely share your banking data with your bank’s competitors to make it more convenient for you to switch banks when you think you’ve found a better deal on a financial product.

For example, instead of spending hours and hours gathering documentation (such as bank statements, expenses, earnings and identification documents) to refinance your home loan, you could simply request that your current bank sends the info across for you.

But, like most things, it comes with a trade-off: you’ve got to share your banking data with the prospective lender, fintech or allied professional to make it happen.

So just how do they use your data?

Australian open banking provider Frollo has just published the second edition of its yearly industry report, The State of Open Banking 2021, which surveyed 131 professionals representing banks and lenders, fintechs, technology providers, and brokers across the country.

The report shows open banking data availability has accelerated dramatically.

In the first 10 months of 2021, 70 banks started sharing consumer data and 14 businesses became accredited data recipients – including three of the four big banks.

This is an increase from just five data holders and five data recipients in 2020.

And more financial institutions are getting ready to jump on board.

The industry survey shows 62% of respondents plan to use open banking data within the next 12 months, and 38% within the next 6 months.

So what are they using the open banking data for?

Well, the most popular uses can be grouped into three categories:

– Lending: income and expense verification is highly valued by 59% of survey respondents.

– Money management: multi-bank aggregation and personal finance management were highly valued by 50% of respondents.

– Verification: customer onboarding (49%), identity verification (38%), account verification (34%) and balance checks (30%) were all highly valued.

For open broking, get in touch

Now, it’s important to note that open banking isn’t the only way you can make life easier on yourself when it comes to switching up financial products.

That’s what we’re here for!

We’re an open book – always happy to check whether you can apply for a better deal on your home loan somewhere else.

And as you know, we pride ourselves on taking on the vast majority of the legwork, whether we’re harnessing the power of open banking or not.

So if you’d like to explore your options, get in touch today – we’d love to help you out!

Disclaimer: The content of this article is general in nature and is presented for informative purposes. It is not intended to constitute tax or financial advice, whether general or personal nor is it intended to imply any recommendation or opinion about a financial product. It does not take into consideration your personal situation and may not be relevant to circumstances. Before taking any action, consider your own particular circumstances and seek professional advice. This content is protected by copyright laws and various other intellectual property laws. It is not to be modified, reproduced or republished without prior written consent.

Are the days of ultra-low fixed interest rates over? It’s looking increasingly so, with two major banks increasing their fixed rates this week. So if you’ve been thinking about fixing your mortgage lately, it could be time to consider doing so.

Do you know how when one tectonic plate shifts, others around it soon follow?

Well, in the past week, the Commonwealth Bank (CBA) and then Westpac hiked the interest rates on their 2-, 3-, 4- and 5-year fixed-rate home loans by 0.1% (for owner-occupiers paying principal and interest).

Meanwhile, ING also lifted its fixed rates on 2- to 5-year terms by 0.05% to 0.2%.

For mortgage-holders, it’s a clear ol’ rumbling sign that the days of super-low fixed interest rates are coming to an end.

So why are banks increasing fixed interest rates?

The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) has repeatedly insisted the official cash rate isn’t likely to rise until 2024 at the earliest.

But it seems the banks don’t believe them. The banks think it’ll happen sooner.

CBA, for example, is currently predicting the RBA will increase the official cash rate in May 2023, while Westpac is predicting a rate hike in March 2023 – both well before the RBA’s 2024 timeline.

Given that’s about 18 months away, the major banks are now adjusting the fixed rates on fixed terms of 2-years and longer, in order to head off the expected rise in their funding costs.

“Lenders are scrambling to lift fixed rates before they start to feel the margin squeeze,” explains Canstar finance expert Steve Mickenbecker.

“Borrowers shouldn’t be so complacent as they must expect rises inside two years, and the closer they get to that point, the less attractive the fixed rates alternative will be.

“They may want to consider fixing their interest rate for three years or longer, while the going is still good.”

Variable interest rates cut

Interestingly, a number of the banks – including CBA and ING – simultaneously slashed interest rates on some of their variable-rate home loans this week.

And CBA even cut their 1-year fixed rate by 0.1% (for owner-occupiers paying principal and interest).

So why did they do this when (longer-term) fixed rates are going up?

Well, aggressively competing for customers on variable-rate mortgages (and 1-year fixed) makes sense for lenders when a cash rate hike is predicted to be at least 18 months away.

They can always increase their variable rates when needed, but they can’t do the same for borrowers locked in on longer-term fixed-rate mortgages.

So what’s next?

As mentioned above, when the big banks make a move, it’s not uncommon for other lenders to follow suit – as seen with ING this week.

So if you’ve been on the fence about fixing your rate, it’s definitely worth getting in touch with us sooner rather than later.

We can run you through a number of different options, including fixing your interest rate for two, three, four or five years, or just fixing a part of your mortgage (but not all of it).

If you’d like to know more about this – or any other topics raised in this article – then please get in touch today.

Disclaimer: The content of this article is general in nature and is presented for informative purposes. It is not intended to constitute tax or financial advice, whether general or personal nor is it intended to imply any recommendation or opinion about a financial product. It does not take into consideration your personal situation and may not be relevant to circumstances. Before taking any action, consider your own particular circumstances and seek professional advice. This content is protected by copyright laws and various other intellectual property laws. It is not to be modified, reproduced or republished without prior written consent.

With interest rates at record low levels, the number of homeowners refinancing skyrocketed to an all-time high in July. Today we’ll run you through why so many people are refinancing, and why you should consider doing so too.

We’re currently seeing more people refinance their home loans than ever before, and the latest ABS figures out this week prove we’re not imagining things.

Refinanced home loans reached an all-time high of $17.2 billion in July, which is a 6% increase on June.

It’s also more than double the value that was refinanced exactly two years prior in July 2019.

So why are homeowners refinancing in record numbers?

For starters, the RBA cash rate is at an all-time low of 0.1% following six rate cuts in three years.

As such, competition amongst lenders is fierce, with many offering record-low home loan rates in a bid to win over as many customers as possible.

In fact, RateCity reports the number of variable rates under 2% on its database has jumped from 28 to 46 in just two months.

Borrowers are also opting to lock in their interest rate too, says the ABS, following reports that lenders have started increasing the rates on 3-5 year fixed-rate loans.

“Borrowers are seeking out lower interest rates, particularly for fixed-rate loans, and cashback deals across a large number of major and non-major lenders,” says ABS head of Finance and Wealth, Katherine Keenan.

COVID-19 is likely increasing the number of homeowners refinancing, too.

With many households and businesses around the country doing it tough right now, one simple way to reduce your monthly mortgage repayments is by refinancing.

How we help you refinance the right way

Now, fixed-rate loans and cashback deals might look super appealing at first glance, but they might not always be the best fit for your situation.

And that’s why it helps to have someone like us in your corner.

We can help you go through the fine print, fees and limitations that might exist within these loan options.

We can also help you determine whether a fixed, variable or split loan is better suited to your needs.

The other thing we’re great at is negotiating with your lender.

Your current lender won’t automatically give you their lowest rate going. You’ve got to ask them for it.

And you’ve also got to make it clear that if they don’t reduce your interest rate, you’re willing to find another lender who will.

This can be both intimidating, not to mention time-consuming and frustrating if they don’t want to play ball.

But lucky for you, we can do the leg-work for you.

So if you haven’t refinanced in the past few years, get in touch with us today and we could help you save thousands of dollars in interest repayments on your mortgage.

Disclaimer: The content of this article is general in nature and is presented for informative purposes. It is not intended to constitute tax or financial advice, whether general or personal nor is it intended to imply any recommendation or opinion about a financial product. It does not take into consideration your personal situation and may not be relevant to circumstances. Before taking any action, consider your own particular circumstances and seek professional advice. This content is protected by copyright laws and various other intellectual property laws. It is not to be modified, reproduced or republished without prior written consent.

With many people around the country doing it tough right now, this week we’ll look at a way you can take some pressure off your monthly finances through debt consolidation.

Here’s a quick experiment.

Go pick up three balls and try to juggle them. Most people, besides those who ran away to join a circus, will likely drop at least one of them within a few tosses.

Now put two of the balls aside and throw the remaining ball up and down (with one or both hands).

Much easier to manage, right?

Well, it’s not too dissimilar to the concept of debt consolidation.

If you have more than one loan – be that a credit card, car loan and/or a personal loan – you can help reduce the stress of juggling multiple debts, payment dates and interest rates by rolling them into one easy-to-manage loan.

There are other benefits, too

One common debt consolidation method is to take out a new personal loan and use the funds to pay off your other existing debts.

Now, if the interest rate on the new personal loan is lower than the rate on your existing debts (for example, a credit card with a 17.99% interest rate) this can help you pay less interest each month – not to mention avoid the nasty late payment fees that come with those kinds of cards.

And by rolling all your debts into one, you can get a clearer timeline of when you can be debt-free.

Debt consolidation can also make it easier for you to manage your household budget, as you only need to factor in repayments for one debt per month instead of many.

Refinancing your home loan for debt consolidation

Another method people use for debt consolidation is rolling it into a refinanced home loan, because mortgages offer comparatively low-interest rates.

So if you’re really struggling with multiple debts right now – such as a car loan or a number of credit cards – consolidating your debts into your home loan will, in most cases, reduce your overall monthly repayments.

However, here’s a big word of warning.

While this option can reduce your monthly repayments now, debt consolidation through your mortgage can turn a short-term debt (like a personal loan) into a much longer-term debt.

As such, unless you aim to make a lot of extra repayments as soon as possible, you could end up paying significantly more interest than you would have otherwise.

One way to address this issue is to create a loan split for the debt consolidation, giving you the ability to pay off all the short term debts within a few years, rather than, for example, over a 25-year home loan period.

So if you’re in need of breathing space now, debt consolidation is an option to consider – especially with mortgage rates so low at present due to the RBA’s official cash rate being at record low levels.

Get in touch today

If you’d like to explore your debt consolidation or refinancing options, then get in touch with us today and we can help you look at ways to take some financial pressure off your shoulders.

It’s also worth noting that lenders are providing mortgage holders impacted by COVID with a range of hardship support measures, including loan deferrals on a month-by-month basis.

Whatever your circumstances, we’re here to support you however we can through these times.

Disclaimer: The content of this article is general in nature and is presented for informative purposes. It is not intended to constitute tax or financial advice, whether general or personal nor is it intended to imply any recommendation or opinion about a financial product. It does not take into consideration your personal situation and may not be relevant to circumstances. Before taking any action, consider your own particular circumstances and seek professional advice. This content is protected by copyright laws and various other intellectual property laws. It is not to be modified, reproduced or republished without prior written consent.