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Aug. 9

Sneaky rate hikes – is your lender behind them?

Sneaky rate hikes – is your lender behind them?

The Reserve Bank (RBA) may have kept the cash rate on hold but that hasn’t stopped some lenders from hiking their variable home loan rates. Here’s how borrowers are fighting back.

Home owners may be celebrating two months of the RBA cash rate staying on hold. But don’t pop the champagne cork just yet.

Mozo reports that some lenders have sneakily hiked their variable home loan rates in July despite the cash rate holding firm.

These hikes, known as ‘out-of-cycle’ rate rises, can fly under the radar.

So it’s important to keep an eye on what your lender is doing.

Who’s hiking rates?

Mozo says ANZ, Commonwealth Bank, Macquarie, Easy Street and Great Southern Bank are among the lenders that have topped up their variable loan rates even though the cash rate has stayed on hold.

In some cases the upticks may be as little as 0.03% – but some lenders have lifted their variable rates by as much as 0.15%.

On a $500,000 loan that could mean paying an extra $750 each year.

And right now every penny counts.

As a result, some home owners are taking matters into their own hands to help stay afloat.

One in two have changed their loan payments

Research by Canstar shows almost half of Australian mortgage holders are navigating higher rates by doing the following:

– 35% are reducing extra repayments,
– 29% are stopping extra loan repayments altogether,
– 26% are tapping into redraw or offset funds to help with repayments,
– 22% are refinancing to a lower rate loan, and
– 12% are extending their loan term.

Other changes involve switching to interest-only repayments, as well as more drastic moves such as selling a home or investment property.

Be warned though, altering repayment strategies can come at a cost

While the above strategies can help get you through a tough time, it would be remiss of us not to mention that some of them can come at a cost over the long term.

Reducing or stopping extra payments, for example, means you’ll likely have your home loan longer and therefore pay more interest.

Likewise, if you tap into your redraw or offset funds, you’ll pay more interest each month.

Last but certainly not least, by extending the term of a $500,000 loan at 6.73% from 20 to 25 years you could cut your monthly repayments by $348. But according to Canstar calculations, it could also mean paying a whopping $123,464 in extra interest over the life of the loan.

What can you do?

Those sneaky out-of-cycle rate hikes aren’t just annoying. They can leave you out of pocket while beefing up your lender’s profits.

But you don’t just have to wear the cost.

The first step is knowing the rate you’re paying.

Check your loan statements, or ask us to investigate for you.

If you’re not happy with the rate, we can help ask your current lender for a discount.

And if they don’t come to the party, we can help you weigh up the possible costs of making a switch.

We can help you crunch the numbers to reveal which strategy will help you save today – and tomorrow.

So give us a call to find out if your lender is quietly lifting your loan rate and what you can do about it.

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.