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.

Construction costs just rose at the fastest annual pace since 2005. So why is it getting so expensive to build your own home? Today we’ll look at the materials that are becoming more expensive and why all homeowners should take note – not just renovators and builders.

“Your grandpa built this place with his own two hands”, or so your dad used to boast.

So if Pop could do it with his trusty hammer, some nails, and a bit of hard yakka, why is it so expensive to build a home of your own these days? (Your own handiwork inadequacies aside…)

Well, for starters, national construction costs increased 7.3% in the 2021 calendar year alone, which was the highest annual growth rate since March 2005.

And the not-so-great news is that property market data company CoreLogic is expecting growth in residential construction costs to remain above average over the coming quarter as supply chain disruptions persist.

“There is a significant amount of residential construction work in the pipeline that has been approved but not yet completed,” explains CoreLogic research director Tim Lawless.

So what materials are getting more expensive and harder to source?

Data shows that cost increases are being driven primarily by timber (mostly structural timber).

In fact, in the final quarter of 2021, the value of select wood imports reached their highest level on record, says Housing Industry Association (HIA) economist Thomas Devitt.

“Timber is predominantly produced domestically but excess demand, such as in a boom year like 2022, is largely sourced from overseas markets,” says Mr Devitt.

Other segments of the market also remain volatile, with increasing pressure currently on metal costs.

“With some materials such as timber and metal products reportedly remaining in short supply, there is the possibility some residential projects will be delayed or run over budget,” adds Mr Lawless.

And with building approvals for detached housing recording their strongest year on record in 2021 (with 150,000 approvals), demand isn’t expected to slow down anytime soon.

“This boom is set to keep builders busy this year and into 2023,” adds Mr Devitt.

Mr Lawless says: “With such a large rise in construction costs over the year, we could see this translating into more expensive new homes and bigger renovation costs, ultimately placing additional upwards pressure on inflation.”

Why current homeowners should also take note

Higher construction costs are likely to add to affordability challenges in the established housing market, making it harder for homeowners to upgrade.

And CoreLogic Head of Insurance Solutions Matthew Walker warns that higher building costs mean homeowners and property investors should also review their insurance cover.

“In these times of rapidly rising home and construction costs, under insurance can quickly become a real threat to what is a most valuable asset,” says Mr Walker.

“It’s important that homeowners keep track of their sum insured and annually check that it is sufficient should the worst occur by using their insurer’s rebuild calculator or giving them a call.”

How to get the right kind of finance for a construction project

Finding the right kind of finance for a construction project can be tricky at the best of times – let alone when building supplies are becoming more expensive and wait times are blowing out due to supply constraints.

That’s why it’s important to team up with a professional like us when looking for a construction loan.

Not only can we help you secure a great rate, but we can also help you select a loan that allows flexibility for any unforeseen contingencies.

So if you’d like to explore your options for your next building or reno project, then get in touch today – we’d love to help you map out a plan for your 2022 building and property goals.

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.

What measures do you have in place to help protect your family home or business? If life insurance through your superannuation account is one of them, then it’s a good time to give it a quick review – especially if you work in a high-risk environment.

We’ve all switched off mentally during those sombre daytime life insurance ads on TV.

But stay with us, because there’s a good reason we’re writing this article today: new superannuation laws have passed parliament and will come into effect on November 1.

And if you have a super account, there’s a better than even chance you have a life insurance policy attached to it that could be impacted – especially if you work in a hazardous or high-risk industry such as construction, truck driving and mining.

What are the new laws?

So, the federal government recently passed the Your Future Your Super legislation.

The measure, which will tie workers to a single super fund from November 1, has been praised for its potential to put an end to people having numerous super accounts that are eaten away by multiple sets of fees.

But concerns have also been raised that workers in hazardous industries, such as construction, truck driving and mining, will be left without suitable life insurance and/or total and permanent disability insurance due to policy exclusions for high-risk occupations.

Now, some super funds that were created for specific industries automatically sign their members up for insurance tailored to their specific professions.

But others don’t.

“Quite often, members only discover they have been paying for a product that is effectively useless when they become disabled and make a claim,” Maurice Blackburn principal Hayriye Uluca explained to Sydney Morning Herald (SMH).

This means if you originally signed up to a fund that is tied to an insurer that uses occupation exclusions, you might end up paying for insurance that’s essentially worthless if you start work in a high-risk industry.

What to do?

The Federal Treasury says it’ll be conducting a review into it all.

But you can quickly and easily conduct your own review to see if you’re properly covered by suitable insurance.

Here’s a straightforward MoneySmart guide on consolidating your super through MyGov. And here’s another guide on things to be mindful of when choosing a super fund.

“The best thing to do is talk to your fund, ask them specifically. Tell them the type of work you do, your occupation and what it involves, and ask them if their policy covers it,” SuperConsumers director Xavier O’Halloran told SMH.

And while you’re at it, don’t forget to review the amount you’re insured for to determine whether your cover is enough to help you – or your loved ones – make loan repayments and protect important assets like your business or family home if need be.

If you’re not sure if your insurance cover is sufficient, call us today and we can put you in touch with a financial planner who can review your situation and provide feedback on your coverage.

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, we’ve seen a big increase in homeowners wanting to refinance this year. So this week we’ll look at some of ASIC’s top tips for refinancing, plus some of our own for good measure.

More and more mortgage holders are looking for a better deal on their home loan.

According to ABS data, the total number of home loan customers who switched providers last year increased by 27% – from 143,664 in 2019 to 182,016 in 2020.

And a further 200,000 Australian families are expected to switch lenders and save in 2021.

But there’s switching lenders the wrong way, and switching lenders the right way.

Fortunately, Laura Higgins, ASIC’s Senior Executive Leader Consumer Insights and Communication, recently shared some important tips with ABC radio, which we’ve compiled for you below.

1. See if your current lender can cut you a better deal

Here’s the thing about the big banks and home loans: customer loyalty is rarely rewarded.

In fact, the RBA found that for loans written four years ago, borrowers were charged an average of 40 basis points higher interest than new loans.

For a loan balance of $250,000, that could cost you an extra $1,000 in interest payments per year.

“Many times, new customers are offered a better deal than existing borrowers, so if you have a home loan that is a few years old you could potentially get a better deal that saves you thousands of dollars over time,” explains Ms Higgins.

“Even if you’re happy with your current lender, it’s worth checking you’re not paying for features or add-ons you’re not using.”

2. Don’t jump at the easy money: do the maths

There are a lot of incentives out there to entice you to switch mortgages quickly, such as cashback offers or very low-interest rates.

But Ms Higgins urges borrowers to closely compare these offers with the long term costs.

“For example, it’s worth doing the maths to ensure a cashback offer still puts you ahead over the long term when considered against other aspects of the loan, like interest rates and fees,” she explains.

“If you decide to switch lenders, you may end up with a longer-term loan.

It’s also important to consider whether lenders mortgage insurance or other costs, like discharge and loan arrangement fees, may be payable.

“These additional costs can outweigh the benefit of a lower interest rate,” she adds.

“A mortgage broker can also help you compare loans and decide whether to switch.”

Which is very true, if we do say so ourselves!

3. Consider switching to an offset account or redraw facility option

With interest rates so low, many borrowers are aiming to pay off their mortgage faster by making extra repayments.

“Interest rates may be low now, but probably won’t be this low forever. Making some extra repayments now can benefit customers in the long term,” says Ms Higgins.

But if you’re worried about tying up all your funds in your home loan, then you can consider switching to a mortgage redraw facility or offset account, which can allow you to make extra repayments but withdraw them if you need to.

“Either of these options might work for you depending on your goals,” Ms Higgins adds.

“Not all home loans can be linked to an offset account, and often those that can may have a fee charged or a slightly higher interest rate, so it’s worth making sure you’d be saving enough in there to warrant any extra costs.”

4. To fix the rate or not? Or both?

Last but not least, a refinancing tip that we think is worth considering in this climate of record-low interest rates (which probably won’t be around forever).

One of the most common ‘big decision’ questions we get asked when it comes to refinancing is: should I fix my home loan rate or not?

But did you know a third option exists?

Yep, you can fix the rate on some of your mortgage, but not all of it.

This allows you to lock in a low rate for a portion of your home loan, while also taking advantage of some of the flexibility that a variable rate can offer, such as the ability to make extensive additional payments.

If you’d like to know more about it – or any of the other refinancing tips in this article – then get in touch today.

We’d be more than happy to help you refinance your home loan, whether that be renegotiating with your current lender or exploring your options elsewhere.

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.