October 2007 – Mortgage Rates in Australia

Mortgage rates are a hot topic in Australia at the moment. Two issues are at the forefront of any discussion on mortgage rates today.

Firstly there is general concern amongst borrowers in Australia that mortgage rates may further increase over the short term. The Reserve Bank has increased the Official Cash Rate (OCR) a number of times this year and it is currently sitting at 6.50% p.a. These increases immediately impact on the cost of funds for lending institutions, both bank and non-bank, and as a result mortgage rates have also increased, with the banks standard variable rate now at 8.32% p.a. and the non-bank lenders generally in the market with mortgage rates around 7.75% p.a. By increasing the OCR the Reserve Bank is well aware that mortgage rates will follow suit. Under its charter, the Reserve Bank is responsible for formulating and implementing monetary policy that will contribute to:

(a) the stability of the currency of Australia;

(b) the maintenance of full employment in Australia; and

(c) the economic prosperity and welfare of the people of Australia.

These objectives have found practical expression in a target for consumer price inflation, of 2-3 per cent per annum. Controlling inflation preserves the value of money and is the main way in which monetary policy can help to form a sound basis for long-term growth in the economy.

So, how does an increase in the OCR and mortgage rates generally help achieve these inflation targets? As the mortgage rates increase across Australia, borrowers have less surplus cash to spend, there is less demand for consumables, businesses have less money to invest and as a result the economy is slowed down and the inflation rate is held in check. If the economy is too slow the Reserve bank can effectively reduce mortgage rates (by reducing the OCR) and thereby provide borrowers with more surplus funds. This increases demand for consumables and one sees greater economic activity.

It is ironical that because in Australia we are enjoying strong economic growth and have employment at an all time high we end up finding our mortgage rates increasing. If we were to save more rather than spend and borrow, inflation would not be increasing at the level it is and mortgage rates would remain steady.

But would they? This brings me to the second issue which has had a significant impact on mortgage rates and has made headlines in newspapers in Australia over the past few months. In the past mortgage rates in Australia have been pretty much domestically driven (i.e. by the Reserve Bank) but more recently we have seen mortgage rates influenced by problems occurring in international financial markets. The main culprit is the United States where there have been unprecedented mortgage defaults which have frightened off would be global lenders and investors in mortgage securities. Even though mortgage rates in Australia remain relatively low and defaults here are not a significant problem (in other words they remain a sound investment), the US default crisis has scared off potential investors. As a result mortgages are no longer flavour of the month and those that are still prepared invest are seeking a higher rate of return. Consequently the cost of funds world wide increases for debt securities and mortgage rates across the world increase as result. As noted earlier the banks current standard mortgage rates sit at 8.32% p.a. variable which is up to .50% more than the non bank mortgage rates of 7.75% p.a. Because the banks’ mortgage rates were considerably higher than the non-banks before the impact of the US situation, to date they have been able to hold their rates. The non-bank lenders, who have historically priced their mortgage rates below the banks, have had to move their mortgage rates sooner because they simply don’t have the profit margins, the “fat” in their pricing, which most banks enjoy.

The banks are endeavouring to gain market share with claims that they are holding their mortgage rates (8.32% p.a.) but hopefully borrowers will recognise that the mortgage rates of the non-bank mortgage manager lenders remain competitive. They might also want to consider where mortgage rates would be without the mortgage manager competing with the banks for their business. Prior to the non- bank mortgage manager entering the market, the banks’ mortgage rates contained profit margins of up to 3 % p.a. Back in the 1990s the non-bank lender was able to enter the market and compete aggressively for business because they were not trying to maximise profit at the expense of borrowers but rather offered mortgage rates that were well below the major banks. The banks were initially quite arrogant, holding their mortgage rates and profit margins, thinking that lower mortgage rates would not be enough to woo borrowers. Little did they realise that the non-bank sector not only offered lower mortgage rates but also professional and friendly service. It took around 3 years before the banks finally reduced their margins and offered mortgage rates that were somewhat more competitive.

The next few months will determine whether the US mortgage crisis will be a short term problem for mortgage rates or whether the meltdown in America will have a long term impact on mortgage rates in Australia. In the meantime keep an eye on mortgage rates across the market, sit tight because no matter which lender you are with, mortgage rates over the next few months will be a little unpredictable but inevitably are likely to settle down again.

What Type Of Mortgage Loan Is Right For You?

Homebuyers and homeowners need to decide which home Mortgage loan is right for them. Then, the next step in getting a mortgage loan is to submit an application ( Uniform Residential Loan Application ). Although we try to make the loan simple and easy for you, getting a mortgage loan is not an insignificant process.

Below is a short synopsis of some loan types that are currently available.

CONVENTIONAL OR CONFORMING MORTGAGE Loans are the most common types of mortgages. These include a fixed rate mortgage loan which is the most commonly sought of the various loan programs. If your mortgage loan is conforming, you will likely have an easier time finding a lender than if the loan is non-conforming. For conforming mortgage loans, it does not matter whether the mortgage loan is an adjustable rate mortgage or a fixed-rate loan. We find that more borrowers are choosing fixed mortgage rate than other loan products.

Conventional mortgage loans come with several lives. The most common life or term of a
mortgage loan is 30 years. The one major benefit of a 30 year home mortgage loan is that one pays lower monthly payments over its life. 30 year mortgage loans are available for Conventional, Jumbo, FHA and VA Loans. A 15 year mortgage loan is usually the least expensive way to go, but only for those who can afford the larger monthly payments. 15 year mortgage loans are available for Conventional, Jumbo, FHA and VA Loans. Remember that you will pay more interest on a 30 year loan, but your monthly payments are lower. For 15 year mortgage loans your monthly payments are higher, but you pay more principal and less interest. New 40 year mortgage loans are available and are some of the the newest programs used to finance a residential purchase. 40 year mortgage loans are available in both Conventional and Jumbo. If you are a 40 year mortgage borrower, you can expect to pay more interest over the life of the loan.

A Fixed Rate Mortgage Loan is a type of loan where the interest rate remains fixed
over life of the loan. Whereas a Variable Rate Mortgage will fluctuate over the life
of the loan. More specifically the Adjustable-Rate Mortgage loan is a loan that has a
fluctuating interest rate. First time homebuyers may take a risk on a variable rate for qualification purposes, but this should be refinanced to a fixed rate as soon as possible.

A Balloon Mortgage loan is a short-term loan that contains some risk for the borrower. Balloon mortgages can help you get into a mortgage loan, but again should be financed into a more reliable or stable payment product as soon as financially feasible. The Balloon Mortgage should be well thought out with a plan in place when getting this product. For example, you may plan on being in the home for only three years.

Despite the bad rap Sub-Prime Mortgage loans are getting as of late, the market for this kind of mortgage loan is still active, viable and necessary. Subprime loans will be here for the duration, but because they are not government backed, stricter approval requirements will most likely occur.

Refinance Mortgage loans are popular and can help to increase your monthly disposable income. But more importantly, you should refinance only when you are looking to lower the interest rate of your mortgage. The loan process for refinancing your mortgage loan is easier and faster then when you received the first loan to purchase your home. Because closing costs and points are collected each and every time a mortgage loan is closed, it is generally not a good idea to refinance often. Wait, but stay regularly informed on the interest rates and when they are attractive enough, do it and act fast to lock the rate.

A Fixed Rate Second Mortgage loan is perfect for those financial moments such as home improvements, college tuition, or other large expenses. A Second Mortgage loan is a mortgage granted only when there is a first mortgage registered against the property. This Second Mortgage loan is one that is secured by the equity in your home. Typically, you can expect the interest rate on the second mortgage loan to be higher than the interest rate of the first loan.

An Interest Only Mortgage loan is not the right choice for everyone, but it can be very effective choice for some individuals. This is yet another loan that must be thought out carefully. Consider the amount of time that you will be in the home. You take a calculated risk that property values will increase by the time you sell and this is your monies or capital gain for your next home purchase. If plans change and you end up staying in the home longer, consider a strategy that includes a new mortgage. Again pay attention to the rates.

A Reverse mortgage loan is designed for people that are 62 years of age or older and already have a mortgage. The reverse mortgage loan is based mostly on the equity in the home. This loan type provides you a monthly income, but you are reducing your equity ownership. This is a very attractive loan product and should be seriously considered by all who qualify. It can make the twilight years more manageable.

The easiest way to qualify for a Poor Credit Mortgage loan or Bad Credit Mortgage loan is to fill out a two minute loan application. By far the easiest way to qualify for any home mortgage loan is by establishing a good credit history. Another loan vehicle available is a Bad Credit Re-Mortgage loan product and basically it’s for refinancing your current loan.

Another factor when considering applying for a mortgage loan is the rate lock-in. We discuss this at length in our mortgage loan primer. Remember that getting the right mortgage loan is getting the keys to your new home. It can sometimes be difficult to determine which mortgage loan is applicable to you. How do you know which mortgage loan is right for you? In short, when considering what mortgage loan is right for you, your personal financial situation needs to be considered in full detail. Complete that first step, fill out an application, and you are on your way!

Florida Mortgage Loans

Buying a home is one of the most important investments a person can make. Most people look for a mortgage or a loan while buying a house. The Florida real estate market is currently booming with falling interest rates and easy loans, and mortgage loan lenders are offering several kinds of loans and special mortgage loans to attract customers.

A mortgage rate is the rate of interest that is charged on the loan used for buying a house or a property. Mortgage rates keep changing over a period of time. A lower mortgage rate means a lesser cost of the house and lower monthly payments. A mortgage lending company looks after all the aspects that need to be considered such as the length of the mortgage period (fifteen-years or thirty-years), the kind of interest rate (fixed or variable), and even home inspections, taxes and property appraisals. Most people do not understand the typical mortgage terminology like PMI (Private Mortgage Insurance), APR, settlement costs, points etc. In such cases, a professional mortgage company would prove to be very useful. The main factors that are considered when issuing a mortgage loan are income of the applicant and his/her credit record.

Only Florida citizens are eligible to receive Florida mortgage loans. The various kinds of mortgage loans available in Florida are: FHA (Federal Housing Administration) loans, consolidation loans, land loans, conventional loans, balloon loans and refinance mortgage loans. Mortgage loans can also be refinanced. Refinanced mortgage loans have several benefits like lower monthly payments, lower interest paid, and cash equity. There are also bad credit mortgage loans that are offered at a slightly higher rate of interest for people who have bad credit records. The most popular kind of mortgage loans in Florida is the fixed rate loans- because of their predictability. The typical term of this loan is 15 years or 30 years. The ARM (Adjustable rate mortgage) loans are also popular because the interest rate is likely to decrease sometime in the future. This is generally preferred by people who plan to sell off the home in a few years time after paying off the loan. Other kinds of special Florida Mortgage loans are: hard equity loans, interest only loans, 100% cash out refinance, construction loans, commercial mortgage loans, farmer’s home loans, no PMI (Private Mortgage Insurance) loans, vacant land and acreage mortgage loans and cross- collateralization of properties.

Florida offers very competitive mortgage rates. The best way to find a good mortgage lender in Florida is to ask friends or family members for suggestions. The Internet is a great source to find good mortgage companies who are advertising extensively about good rates and terms and also best service.