News Archive for March 2021

March 2021

Is refinancing a car loan worth it

Is refinancing a car loan worth it?

In this current low-rate environment, refinancing has become common practice for many home loan holders to shave thousands off their mortgage. But is refinancing your car loan a good idea? Let’s take a look at the numbers: Since 2016, there have been eight cuts made to the Reserve Bank of Australia’s (RBA) official cash rate. It now sits at an historic low of 0.10% from 2.00%. The current average variable car loan rate for new and used vehicles sits at 6.68%. When you compare that to the average rate at the same time five years ago, 7.82% - that’s a 1.14% difference.  In the case of home loan interest rates, the current average variable rate is 3.30% from 4.72% five years ago. While that is a 1.42% difference, the small margin can make a significant difference because home loans are generally around 25 to 30 years. So the question is, should you refinance your current car loan? We’ve weighed it up.

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Autumn property how to stay ahead as the auction market heats up

Autumn property: How to stay ahead as the auction market heats up

With the middle of autumn just around the corner, the property market is gearing up for its second busiest season of the year. The housing market, which was already bustling thanks to record low home loan rates, has gained even more momentum in the period leading up to Easter. In the past week, the volume of capital city homes going to auction reached a three-year high, but average clearance rates didn’t falter at all, hitting 84% according to property research group CoreLogic. In case you missed the headline numbers, Sydney led the way, with 1,392 auctions returning clearance rates of 89%. Melbourne also performed strongly with 84% out of 1,899 auctions reported to be successful so far. Mozo’s property expert, Steve Jovcevski says the pre-Easter weekend was a test to see if the property market would hold up amid increased supply, and it has “passed with flying colours.” Jovcevski says this trend will persist, if not grow even stronger over autumn up until Anzac Day on the 25th of April. “I expect that we’ll see continued high listings during autumn, but in saying that, I don’t think we’re going to see any reduction in clearance rates,” he says.“We’re in the middle of a property price boom so any increase in supply will likely be met with plenty of buyers to cover off the excess.”

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Solar battery installations on the rise despite lack of government help

Solar battery installations on the rise despite lack of government help

Although the Covid-19 pandemic may have put a damper on potential international travel, it hasn’t slowed down Aussies from reaching their green energy goals. Research from solar analytics group, SunWiz finds that Aussie households had more than 31,000 solar energy batteries installed in 2020, an increase of 20% from 2019. What’s more impressive is that sub-100W solar panel installations have grown by 39% year-on-year. “In 2020 Australians continued to demonstrate a desire to reduce their power bills by making the most of the nation’s abundant and cheap solar power and empower themselves with a battery,” said SunWiz managing director, Warwick Johnston. “It was a surprisingly good year.”Unsurprisingly, South Australia led the way for solar battery installations, with just over a quarter of installations occurring in that state. According to Johnston, this influx may be linked to the state’s solar battery subsidy program. “There is such high demand from [South Australian] homeowners that the state government had to reduce its subsidy to avoid overheating the market and exhausting available government funds too quickly,” he said. SunWiz estimates that the uptake for solar batteries will continue to soar, with the analytics group forecasting an additional 33,000 installations this year alone.

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Jobkeeper ends where to next for small business finance

JobKeeper ends: Where to next for small business finance?

JobKeeper and other government support such as the NSW commercial lease package have officially ended. For many small businesses, a big question now is how they'll be able to manage dips in cashflow as a result of withdrawn financial relief. According to recent research from Scotpac, when it comes to plans for recovery and growth for the rest of 2021, 65% of small to medium enterprises (SMEs) want to restructure their business. That includes looking for other avenues of funding.Among those surveyed, 20% SMEs said they will need to cut costs to balance out the loss of stimulus funds. Nearly 20% are looking to make arrangements with the Australian Taxation Office, while about 16% plan to apply for a business loan. Unfortunately, another 25% of respondents said they have no strategy to get back on track. There are also more SMEs than last year who said they may have to shut down or sell their business if the market doesn't significantly improve - 34%, up from 31% in 2020. These figures were based on a national poll with 1,253 small businesses, conducted as part of ScotPac’s biannual SME Growth Index. Scotpac’s chief executive, Jon Sutton said that while there are a few “green shoots” indicating that the small business sector has withstood the worst of the pandemic, “the recovery is uneven and varies significantly by state, region and industry”. “Many businesses are forecasting growth, but many are not out of the woods yet,” he said. On the one hand, according to ScotPac's survey, 44% of SMEs feel more confident about running their business compared to pre-COVID, and about 55% have expressed plans to invest in growth over the next six months - up 3% since late last year. Scotpac’s SME revenue growth forecast is also up eight points for the first half of 2021. On the other hand however, Sutton said a lot of small businesses continue to do it tough. “There are positives, but we have to be realistic about what lies ahead. We still have half of the businesses polled this round, saying they are not yet ready to invest back into their business,” he said.

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Property auction results hit 84 leading up to easter

Property auction results hit 84% leading up to Easter

Residential auction markets enjoyed their busiest week in three years, with 3,791 capital city homes going under the hammer in the pre-Easter period, according to property research firm CoreLogic. So far, 84 per cent have recorded a successful result. This time last year, the average weighted clearance rate was just 37 per cent on lower volumes, after more than half of all auctions were withdrawn following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.The recent surge in activity reflects a renewed confidence in the market, as many vendors who had sidelined their plans to sell in 2020 are finally deciding to take the plunge. Successful sales were highest in Sydney, where 1,392 auctions returned a preliminary clearance rate of 89 per cent. This is up from the previous week, when 1,025 homes were taken to auction with a final clearance rate of 85 per cent.Meanwhile, a total of 1,899 homes were auctioned in Melbourne, with 84 per cent reported successful so far. The prior week saw 1,322 auctions held across the city, with the final clearance rate coming in at 79 per cent.RELATED: Auctions move fast but buying a first home takes patienceAccording to property industry platform Archistar, the best performing regions in Sydney were the Central Coast, Inner West, Northern Beaches and Upper North Shore, while the South East, Inner South and Outer East topped the list in Melbourne.Archistar chief economist, Andrew Wilson also said that among houses sold at auction over the weekend, the median price was $1,573,000 in Sydney and $1,015,000 in Melbourne.The rush to the property market is expected to support further price growth across Australia, with ANZ forecasting an increase of 19 per cent in this year alone.But the major bank expects momentum to slow towards the second half of the year, as intervention by regulatory bodies to cool down an overheated property market becomes more likely.For more information about property trends, visit our home loan statistics page, where you’ll find a historical overview of the home loan market in Australia. And if you’re looking to buy or refinance, browse our home loans comparison page for a look at what’s available.

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Signs youre ready to buy a home

6 signs you’re ready to buy a home

Buying a home is a top priority for many Australians, and record low interest rates have helped fast-track property plans all across the country. But the decision to take out a home loan isn’t one to be made lightly. Here’s how you can know you're ready to take on the responsibility.

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Best bank accounts

Australia’s Best Bank Accounts April 2024

Without an everyday transaction account, you’d be hard pressed to transfer money to your friends, pay your bills, withdraw cash from an ATM or make over-the-counter purchases via your smartphone. Whatever you use it for though, you'll want the absolute best bank account to suit your circumstances, right?

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Why a debt consolidation loan could be a smart move right now

Why a debt consolidation loan could be a smart move right now

Many Aussies have experience with debt. In fact, as of June last year 20% of Australian households have credit card debt, while 33% have other personal debt, according to RBA numbers. Meaning a whole lot of people are dealing with making repayments, and in some cases, multiple repayments. But the truth is, keeping your debts separate isn’t always the most financially savvy option - considering where personal loan rates sit right now. This is where a debt consolidation can come in handy.

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Guide to government and banks nsw flood financial relief

Guide to government and banks' NSW flood financial relief

A storm of the century has been tearing through New South Wales, causing widespread flooding across the state and forcing thousands of people to evacuate over the weekend. Right now flood evacuation orders are in place for several towns and suburbs including Brushgrove and Cowper, Moree and Ulmarra as well as areas along the Hawkesbury River including Colo River, Agnes Banks and Freemans Reach.Although the rain has now eased, authorities are urging people to remain vigilant as some rivers have yet to reach their peak levels. In the meantime, the government and the banks have also rolled out a number of financial support measures for households and businesses affected by the floods. Read on for a snapshot of their flood relief packages and details on how to access them.

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Don t let these driving offences ruin your easter weekend

Don’t let these driving offences ruin your Easter weekend

Ready to cut loose and hit the road this Easter? A year of limited travel options has certainly left a lot of us itching to fly free. Now don't get us wrong we totally understand your need to escape. We just don't want a speeding ticket or double demerit points to spoil your long weekend.

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Cba drops 2 year fixed home loan rate to new low

CBA drops 2-year fixed home loan rate to new low

The Commonwealth Bank has announced a number of changes to its fixed rate home loans this morning, including a new low rate of 1.94% (3.93% comparison rate*) for owner occupier borrowers on a 2-year fixed term.

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Victorian government to impose an electric vehicle tax for drivers

Victorian government to impose an electric vehicle tax for drivers

Following new legislation introduced last week, Victoria is about to become the first state in Australia to impose a tax on electric vehicles (EVs) and other zero-emission vehicles. The new tax is set to come into effect on July 1 and will cost EV owners 2.5 cents per kilometre and two cents per kilometre for hybrid vehicles. It’s estimated that the total cost for EV owners will be up to $300 every year at registration time. Victorian Treasurer, Tim Pallas explained that the decision to introduce the tax on EVs was to ensure that all Victorian drivers were treated equally while creating a sustainable road network. "We are providing confidence to new electric vehicle owners with a massive boost to our charging network, funded by the distance-based charge, which will reduce range anxiety as a key barrier to take-up," he said.However, not everyone is on board with the new initiative, Greens MP, Sam Hibbins said the argument for the EV tax was not justifiable and was nothing more than a “tax grab by the government”.

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Home loans is 2021 the year of the online lender

Home loans: Is 2021 the year of the online lender?

The big question is do online lenders stack up?While big banks still make up the lion's share of mortgages, a growing number of Australians are seeking cheaper home loan rates elsewhere, with online lenders snapping up savvy borrowers looking to save.In fact, in a recent survey of 1,226 Australians conducted by Mozo, almost two-thirds (62%) said they would consider an online lender instead of a big bank.Among those surveyed, 55% said cheaper rates were the most appealing factor, followed by lower fees (54%), easy applications (32%), and faster approval times (29%).Considering different lenders makes sense. While the average variable rate among lenders we track currently sits at 3.28% p.a. (and 3.57% p.a. among the big four banks), Mozo analysis found that borrowers stood to access rates up to 129 basis points lower if they shopped around.At the time of writing, the most competitive variable rate in our database is 1.99% p.a. (1.99% p.a. comparison rate*), offered by 2021 Mozo Experts Choice Award winner Reduce Home Loans.If the average big four bank customer paying off a $400,000 loan were to switch to this rate, they could potentially save $4,024 a year in repayments.“With thousands of dollars to be shaved off your mortgage each year, it's hard to see why borrowers wouldn’t bank a better rate through an online lender,” says Mozo spokesperson Tom Godfrey.

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How to make your credit card interest free

How to make your credit card interest-free

No one likes paying interest. So why would you pay it on your credit card if you can avoid it? The truth is, there are a handful of hacks to make your credit card interest-free without chopping it to pieces.  One simple way to avoid paying interest on your credit card is by paying down your balance in full, month to month. While this might seem obvious, what it means is that whether you have a card with a 0% or 24.99% interest rate, you won’t be charged either way. So, say you have a rewards credit card with a hefty interest rate in return for a killer points earning system: if you spend and then repay what you owe each month you’re essentially using an interest-free card with all the perks!

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Risky borrowing on the rise but apra bats away concerns

Risky loans on the rise, but APRA bats away concerns

Record low interest rates have triggered a rush towards the property market, raising concerns that borrowers are overextending themselves in a bid to purchase their dream home. Recent data from APRA shows the share of new borrowers with a debt-to-income (DTI) ratio of six or higher rose by 17.2% over the December 2020 quarter. The number of high LVR home loans also reached 42%, up from 39.9% in the previous quarter. But the industry regulator has shown no sign it intends to intervene, saying that overall lending processes had not yet begun to deteriorate.“Despite the increase in new higher LVR lending in the December 2020 quarter, the majority of outstanding residential mortgage loans remain well covered by collateral,” it said.“The share of high DTI lending in the December 2020 quarter is within its historical average, and does not indicate a significant change in lending conditions.”The percentage of interest-only loans has also been trending downwards. In the December quarter they made up 14.5% of outstanding term loans, down from 15.2% in the previous period.CoreLogic head of residential research, Eliza Owen said the increases in high DTI and LVR lending were “not likely to be large enough to trigger a regulatory response,” but a tightening of credit policies should be expected if the trend continues.RELATED: How are responsible lending laws changing in 2021?Regulators will be monitoring the Sydney and Melbourne property markets in particular, given that house price to income ratios have historically been the highest in the two major cities.“As housing prices rise at a time when incomes are expected to remain relatively flat, there is the potential for both loan-to-income and debt-to-income ratios to lift further, which is likely to be seen as a riskier outcome by regulators,” Owen said.A lift in mortgages lent on interest-only terms could also see household debt get out of hand, particularly if the RBA decides to raise official interest rates in the coming years. Despite this, the government is currently mulling over the repeal of responsible lending laws, which it hopes will free up the flow of credit further still.The proposed changes have drawn criticism, especially since existing guidelines haven’t necessarily inhibited borrowing, with ABS data showing residential mortgage lending increasing by 10.5% in January alone. But industry figures have spoken out in favour of the changes, with NAB CEO Ross McEwan arguing that deregulation will not lead to an increase in risky loans but an improved application experience for borrowers.“We have no interest in lending money to customers who can’t pay it back because the customer loses and the bank loses,” he said at a parliamentary hearing last week.

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Sydney royal easter show on a budget

How to do the Sydney Royal Easter Show on a budget

There’s nothing quite like a day at the Easter Show. Australians have been flocking to this agricultural celebration for decades (since 1823, if we’re really counting), and it has become the country’s largest annual ticketed event.

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More aussies focus on money matters during the pandemic

More Aussies focus on money matters during the pandemic

Learning to keep busy during the Covid-19 pandemic has been an effort for the majority of Aussie households. But according to new research from intelligence company SimiliarWeb, it looks like many Australians made an effort to stay occupied by getting their finances in order. SimiliarWeb found that the banking and lending sector saw a 10% increase in traffic during 2020, with customer-owned banks and credit unions leading the way. Southern Cross Credit Union reportedly had a traffic increase of a massive 195%, followed by Community First Credit Union (+129%) and Bank Australia (+41%). “Due to the RBA’s cash rate cuts announced throughout 2020, mid-tier banks saw a 173% surge in search visits from Home Loan, Mortgage, and Interest Rate-related search queries,” said SimiliarWeb vice president for Australia and New Zealand, Emmanuel Heymann. “On home loan-specific traffic growth, Macquarie Bank recorded the most substantial increase, growing 110% since the emergency rate cuts announced in March last year.”Insurance was another area where traffic volume also surged, having a 17% growth in 2020, with 2020 Mozo Experts Choice Award winner^, Budget Direct taking out the top spot for search volume at 47%. Interestingly, the most popular search terms within the insurance sector were motorcycle insurance (+120%), professional indemnity insurance (+97%), pet insurance (+46%) and home insurance (+39%).

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Renewable energy continues to kick gas to the curb

Renewable energy continues to kick gas to the curb

According to new analysis from the Climate Council, it’s clear that gas power is slowly starting to be phased out from the National Energy Market (NEM). The non-profit organisation found that output from gas generators fell to rock bottom levels over the past summer, reaching only a total of 5% of the market share. They believe that this was due to wind and solar power breaking records of their own, surging to new heights of generation. “Our existing gas power stations are struggling to compete with clean, reliable and affordable renewable energy and storage. Australia does not need any new gas,” said Climate Council senior researcher, Tim Baxter. “Gas is a polluting and expensive fossil fuel that’s on the way out and has no role to play in our economic recovery. It’s driving up household power prices, and prices for our manufacturing industries, putting the sector at risk.” The last time gas peaked was in Autumn 2014, occupying 13% of the market share, meanwhile, renewable energy has doubled in market share during the same period. During the most recent summer in New South Wales, the market share of renewables hit 26.1%, compared to just 0.9% for gas. These figures were even more impressive in Victoria, with the renewables’ market share claiming 29.5%, compared to a mere 0.5% for gas. “As the sunniest and one of the windiest places on the planet, Australia should be cashing-in on its renewable advantage, and in doing so, rapidly reducing greenhouse gas emissions. It’s a win-win,” said Baxter.

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Homestar takes lead on 2 year fixed home loan rates

Homestar takes lead on 2-year fixed home loan rates

Online lender Homestar has taken the lead on fixed rate home loans after bringing down its two-year offers for owner occupiers and investors to the lowest in the Mozo database. Homestar’s 14 basis point cut this week means its Star Classic Fixed Home Loan has dropped to just 1.74% p.a. (2.23% p.a. comparison rate*) for two-year terms. This rate is available to owner occupiers making principal and interest repayments, and is 15bp better than the second best two-year fixed rate in our database.As for investors making principal and interest repayments, they weren’t left out of the mix either. This week Homestar slashed 19 basis points off its two-year fixed rate available with its Star Classic Investment Fixed Rate Home Loan. The new rate now sits at 1.99% p.a. (2.44% p.a. comparison rate*) - the best in our database for two-year fixed rate investment loans, and the only one in its category to have dipped below 2%.The only catch is these are limited time offers. So to snag either rate, your application must be received by 30 May 2021 and settled by 31 August 2021. There is also an additional condition that the property you’re financing with Homestar must be located in a metro area. Have Homestars top-notch rates piqued your interest? Read more about its fees and features in the snapshots below.

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Athena wins 2021 mozo experts choice award for home loan innovation again

Athena wins 2021 Mozo Experts Choice Award for Home Loan Innovation again!

Athena has done it again in 2021!  For the second year running, the online lender has snapped up a Mozo Experts Choice Award for Home Loan Innovation. And this time around it's for the AcceleRATES home loan that was introduced last year. “Athena has proven again that it is an innovative lender as it continues to offer competitive rates to customers in new ways,” said Mozo Expert Judge, Peter Marshall. “As judges, we were impressed by the AcceleRATES feature which automatically decreases the variable rate on the loan as the balance is paid down and a customer’s loan-to-value ratio lessens.” Marshall explains that what stood out to the experts this year was the fact that as customers pay down their debt, Athena ensures that they are offering the home loan lowest rate available from the lender. “This is a well-deserved win by Athena for the second year in a row. Unlike some other lenders that reserve their top rates for new customers only, AcceleRATES means existing customers also benefit from lowering their LVR and staying loyal.” On top of the Home Loan Innovation Award, Athena also took home two additional 2021 Mozo Experts Choice Awards in the Low Cost Loan and Investor Loan categories.

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Winners announced in the 2021 mozo experts choice awards for home loans

Winners announced in the 2021 Mozo Experts Choice Awards for Home Loans

If you’re in the market for buying a house, finding the right home loan with a competitive interest rate and all the best features for you is just as important as picking the property itself. After all, a home loan is probably one of the biggest financial investments you will make in your lifetime.Whether you’re a first-time home buyer or a seasoned property investor, locking down a loan that has all the features you need, can be a daunting part of the process. So, to take some of the pressure off and help steer you in the right direction, we’re super excited to announce the winners of the 2021 Mozo Experts Choice Home Loan Awards.This year, our Experts analysed over 500 home loans from 99 financial providers to find the cream of the crop and make choosing the right mortgage, a more simplified process. “Monthly mortgage repayments are usually the biggest household expense, so making sure that you’ve got a good deal can potentially save you thousands of dollars over the life of your home loan,” said Mozo Expert Peter Marshall.Standout winners

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Commbank launches buy now pay later product how it stacks up

CommBank launches Buy Now Pay Later product: how it stacks up

CommBank has just become the latest company and the first major bank to enter the Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) market. Similar to other BNPL products, customers can split up their purchases into four equal fortnightly instalments for transactions above $100. In order to access the service, customers will need to link it through their CommBank bank account. Other notable features of the CommBank BNPL product include:

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Credit cards a year in review and what s changed

Credit cards: A year in review, and what’s changed?

In between investing in reusable masks and learning to ‘check in’, a lot went down in the credit card world last year. Aside from being asked to exclusively try to use plastic to limit the spread of Covid-19, credit card providers were also left with the task of managing redundant travel rewards programs and assisting financially vulnerable customers. To give you an official recap, we’ve broken some of the credit card news highlights over the last year.

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Women entrepreneurs on how to make your side hustle a hit

Lessons from women entrepreneurs on how to make your side hustle a hit

In this day and age, words like ‘side hustle’ and ‘entrepreneur’ have generated a lot of buzz, as a growing number of people look to earn extra cash or kickstart a passion project outside of their day job.In fact, recent ING research found that nearly half (48%) of all Australians have a side hustle or are planning to start one. But while social media and online marketplaces have made it more accessible for people to start their own businesses, whether it’s an Instagram bakery or an Etsy art store, statistics show a gender imbalance still exists in the realm of entrepreneurship. For instance, as reported by SBS, of the 355,000 startups that were registered in Australia in October last year, only 22% were all women-led. That figure has only risen by 3% over the past two decades. Susie Jones is the co-founder and chief executive officer of Cynch Security, a Melbourne-based cybersecurity business. As an entrepreneur herself, Jones says women face more barriers than men when founding their own businesses. One barrier is the gender pay gap. Since launching a startup will usually require a certain amount of capital upfront, Jones says “fewer women are in a starting position to take the financial risk of founding a startup.” She adds that it’s also been well-documented that investors are less likely to invest in female-founded startups. Plus the fact that women are still expected to bear more responsibility in the home means “they simply have less time to dedicate to a startup”, says Jones. Case in point: Mozo’s Pink Recession report found that 83% of women generally act as a primary carer for their children compared to just 17% of men. Given how daunting it can be to start a business especially in the context of those additional challenges, it certainly helps to hear from others who have been in your shoes. So, we spoke to two women entrepreneurs about their journeys of growing their ventures to the thriving small businesses they are today, and the lessons they’ve learned along the way.

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Auction market boom clearance rates nearly at six year high

Auction market boom: Clearance rates on track to six-year high

Crowded auctions are becoming the new norm, with a record percentage of homes sold under the hammer across Australia’s capital city markets.  In Sydney, nearly nine in 10 of properties put on auction were snagged over the weekend, according to preliminary data from Domain.Adelaide and Canberra saw even higher preliminary clearance rates of 90% and 94% respectively. “Adelaide and Canberra are doing really well this year because they haven’t been as affected by COVID and they’re also not so reliant on international students,” Mozo’s property expert, Steve Jovcevski explained. “The other reason is that a lot of investors from Sydney and Melbourne have started to look interstate because they want value for money and want to take advantage of capital growth.” REA Group said multiple homes attracted more than 20 bidders over the weekend and it was uncommon for prices to go hundreds of thousands of dollars above reserve. For instance, one house in Bexley North, which had received an offer of $1.1 million in December, sold at auction on Saturday for $395,000 more.

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Articles

4 questions to ask about home insurance and flooding

Australia's east coast has been deluged with two of the wettest years on record. More rain generally means if you live near a creek, river, major storm water drain, or in a low-lying area, your property could be in a flood-prone area.

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A millennials guide to understanding inheritances

A millennials guide to understanding inheritances

There’s no easy way around it; losing a friend or family member is a distressing time in anyone’s life. Aside from the emotional exhaustion that comes with someone passing away, there’s also the duty to take care of their possessions. And in some cases, you may also find yourself staring down the barrel of an inheritance. According to a 2013 HSBC’s global Future of Retirement report, Australians pass on an average inheritance of $561,636 to recipients. Generally, children inherit the lion’s share, nieces, nephews, or grandchildren inherit 20% of the money, friends receive 4%, and charities may get 2%.If you’re a millennial and expect to come into some inheritance money, you might be wondering what the best way is to go about managing it. Our guide will walk you through the steps you may want to take and provide suggestions on what not to do.

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Cba predicts 110 000 job losses with arts hospitality and transport hit hardest

JobKeeper cliff: CBA predicts 110,000 job losses

As many as 110,000 Australians could lose their jobs once the government’s JobKeeper scheme expires on March 28, according to new research from the Commonwealth Bank. JobKeeper was introduced at the start of the pandemic as a fortnightly wage subsidy of up to $1,500 per employee and since then that amount has been reduced to $1,000. Now with the scheme set to wrap up in less than three weeks, CommBank’s economic report has found that certain sectors will be hit harder than others.“We see transport, arts and recreation and accommodation and food services industries most at risk of job losses at the end of JobKeeper,” CommBank said. “These industries are sensitive to international travel and also suffer badly when restrictions and lockdowns are imposed.” Up to 25% of JobKeeper recipients in these “travel-sensitive industries” are expected to be out of work, totalling to about 69,000 job losses. This is followed by ‘medium risk’ industries - retail trade, education and rental and hiring - where 10% of recipients (or 18,000 out of 174,700) could be stood down once the scheme ends.As for ‘low risk’ industries which include all other sectors such as construction, health care and professional services, 5% of recipients (or 23,000 out of 450,400) may lose their jobs.CommBank has based its estimates on the assumption that around 900,000 individuals are currently receiving JobKeeper.

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Affordability at all time low in sydney

Affordability at all-time low in Sydney, do first home buyers still have a shot?

Australia’s most expensive property market has now surpassed its 2017 peak, with the median house price in Sydney reaching $1.06 million, according to property research firm CoreLogic.The figures confirm the coronavirus pandemic hasn’t been the sledgehammer to property prices many thought it would be. Dropping just 3 per cent last year, Sydney values hit a floor in October before recovering 5.7 per cent.But CoreLogic’s executive research director, Tim Lawless said the jump in prices raises concerns for young Australians, whose chances at home ownership seem to be shrinking by the day.“The fresh record high is great news for Sydney home owners, but highlights the challenges for non-home owners looking to participate in the housing market as values rise faster than incomes,” he said.The Reserve Bank of Australia, which cut official interest rates three times last year, has indicated it won’t be raising any alarms about surging prices so long as lending standards are maintained.At a parliamentary hearing last month, RBA Governor Philip Lowe said “there are few signs of a deterioration in these standards.”In contrast, the Reserve Bank of New Zealand recently agreed to target housing sustainability when setting its own interest rates, hoping to preserve opportunities for first home buyers and low-income borrowers at risk of being priced out.RELATED: More strong auction results as buyer demand ramps upWith the RBA making clear it intends to keep the cheap money flowing well into the Covid recovery, property prices are expected to continue their meteoric rise.Earlier this month, CoreLogic reported that Australian housing values jumped by 2.1 per cent over February, marking the biggest monthly increase in 17 years.It also found properties on the higher end of the market were benefiting most from this upswing. Last month, the top 25 per cent of capital city homes (priced $960,000 or above) recorded a 2.7 per cent increase in value.So far, first home buyers have been well-represented in the numbers for new loan commitments. But it might only be a matter of time before they’re crowded out by cashed-up investors who are ready to jump back into the market.Since investors are able to leverage their existing properties to outbid first home buyers, there’s a good chance more young Australians will be relying on their parents for a chance to get a foot on the property ladder.Mozo’s property expert Steve Jovcevski, also suggests looking beyond the major markets when searching for property. While prices in smaller markets have also been rising at a quick pace, they’re still a far cry from Sydney and Melbourne levels. For more information on property and lending trends, head over to our home loan statistics page. And if you’re in the market for a home loan, visit our home loan comparison page, or browse the selection below.

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New sme loan guarantee scheme to offer bigger benefits to small businesses

New SME Loan Guarantee Scheme to offer bigger benefits to small businesses

With the end of JobKeeper approaching in just over two weeks, the federal government today announced it will be extending its loan guarantee scheme for small businesses, in an effort to boost economic recovery. The new scheme will see the government guaranteeing 80% of business loans issued by participating lenders to small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), instead of the current 50%. Under the scheme, SMEs could take out much larger loans of up to $5 million over a longer period of ten years. And instead of a six-month repayment holiday businesses can opt to pause their loan repayments for 24 months. Another important change is that the new version will cover refinancing, which means SMEs may be allowed to switch to a better interest rate available under the scheme as well as access other benefits like longer loan terms. “The SME Recovery Scheme is part of the next step in our plan to help small businesses stand on their own two feet as the economy recovers from COVID-19,” Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said.“The expansion and extension of the loans will back businesses that back themselves and will help businesses who continue to do it tough build a bridge to the other side of the crisis and keep their staff employed.” To be eligible, businesses must have been on JobKeeper between 4 January and 28 March. Applications open from 1 April 2021 and must be approved before 31 December 2021. The government expects that over 350,000 JobKeeper recipients will qualify for this new scheme. Australian Banking Association’s chief executive, Anna Bligh welcomed the extension, saying it will give Aussie businesses the funding and backing they need.“This is the right product for the times. It includes more flexibility, and will allow small businesses to re-stock, rebuild and recover,” she said.Council of Small Business Organisations Australia’s chief executive Peter Strong also voiced his support. “This sends a message to businesses that wish to perhaps expand their manufacturing base, or those businesses that are still going through a difficult time but know they have a viable, that they can go to their bank and openly discuss their situation,” he said. For more COVID-related resources, visit our guide where we cover the many financial support measures available to your household and small business. Or scroll down below to start comparing a few business loan options.

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Rising energy costs aussies opt for bill payment services to help

Rising energy costs? Aussies opt for bill payment services to help

Almost a year on from the nationwide Covid-19 lockdown and Aussie households seem to have gotten back to their regular routine. But one thing that might not have bounced back to normal is our energy bills. According to bill payment platform Deferit, New South Wales, Tasmania and the Northern Territory all had a 10% - 20% increase in the dollar amount of energy bills paid in the last year. Founded in 2018, Deferit is an innovative bill payment platform that allows Aussies to guarantee their bills are paid on time. Users upload a bill they are struggling to pay, and Deferit will pay it off immediately on their behalf. Customers can then pay back the cost in four equal interest-free instalments, similar to Buy Now Pay Later services. There are no late fees; however, customers will need to pay a fixed monthly fee of $5.99. Deferit co-founder and chief executive officer Jonty Hirsowitz says the rise in energy costs has seen many Aussies flock to the payment platform to keep their living expenses on track. Interestingly, the payment service found that 77% of energy bills uploaded are paid on or ahead of time.“We have seen over 150% year on year growth since February last year - so throughout the Covid-19 period,” he said. “That said, we actually found that users had access to more funds than usual as a result of the various government subsidies and access to superannuation.”Hirsowitz says that energy bills are the most common bill type paid off, with over 30,000 energy bills being paid over the past 12 months. The average energy bill amount being paid on time is $250 and $467 for an overdue bill. “It's essentially like bill smoothing meeting bill extensions at the click of a button. An average Deferit consumer will upload three bills per month and spread their payments back to us across the remainder of the month according to their income and other household expenses,” says Hirsowitz.

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Four bank accounts to help you get on board with digital wallets

Four bank accounts to help you get on board with digital wallets

From alarms that wake us up in the morning to messaging services that keep us connected, our phones can pretty much be used for anything these days. We can make purchases, manage personal finances and even keep track of our health and wellbeing, all using this one device. It’s no wonder 43% of Aussies would rather lose their wallet than their phone.

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Paypal pushes into buy now pay later with new product

PayPal pushes into Buy Now Pay Later with new product

Digital payment giant PayPal has today announced it will be venturing into the Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) space. Similar to other BNPL companies, PayPal’s product will allow customers to have a limit of up to $1,500 for transactions, which can then be paid back in four equal instalments interest-free, with the first instalment being paid at the time of purchase. There is a $10 late payment fee, which is capped at $30 for purchases over $125, or $10 for purchases under $125. As the product does not charge interest, it will not be regulated under Australian credit laws. However, Toon says the company will be conducting extensive background checks on customers to ensure appropriate applicants are approved. PayPal is also looking into the new BNPL Code of Practice which was released last Monday. “PayPal has developed a reputation over many years as being a responsible payments platform, and that is absolutely the focus of what we’re looking to achieve through the entry into the buy now, pay later space,” said PayPal Australia’s general manager of payments, Andrew Toon. According to Toon, the decision to launch the BNPL product came in response to the high volume of requests the company received from its Australian business customers. “They’re looking for us to be able to deliver choice and flexibility to their customers in the PayPal checkout,” he said. The PayPal BNPL product was already launched in the US last year with huge success. “In six months in the US, they got 45 million BNPL customers with the same product,” said chief executive of payments consultancy McLean Roche, Grant Halverson. “They would be the biggest [BNPL] threat to come here.”If you’d like to find out how PayPal’s new BNPL product stacks up to other offers on the market, head on over to our comprehensive Buy Now Pay Later guide or our in depth Buy Now Pay later statistics report.

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Home loan cash back deals

April cashback deals: Up to $3,288 on offer to home loan refinancers

The home loan market is running red hot, with plenty of competition from banks and other lenders on both fixed and variable offers. Rates are already at some of the lowest levels we’ve seen though, so in order to stand out some lenders are rolling out additional incentives, including cashback deals.

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Athena pays off a customer s home loan for 1 year

Athena pays off a customer’s home loan for 1 year

From consistently killer rates to their unorthodox approach to lending, Athena home loans has been changing the home loans game since day one. Maintaining its reputation, Athena has broken the status quo once again by paying off one lucky customer’s home loan for an entire year!

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How do banks create money

Do banks really create money out of thin air?

Most people tend to think of banks as intermediaries between people with savings and people who want to borrow money. They loan out deposits to borrowers, and make a profit by charging more interest than they pay savers.But is this an accurate description of how banks work? Nowadays, there’s a lot of debate about where banks actually get the money for loans, with some suggesting deposits may not be the source after all. Below, we explore a few of the main theories.

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Half of aussies reaching for digital wallets over leather

Half of Aussies reaching for digital wallets over leather

Do you appreciate the fine design of a well-crafted leather wallet? Well, according to fresh numbers a large chunk of us are ditching stitching and using digital wallets to shop instead.  In fact, online financial broker firm Savvy found that 46.5% of Aussies have a digital wallet on their smartphone to store virtual debit and credit cards. Of those that use digital wallets:

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More strong auction results as buyer demand ramps up

More strong auction results as buyer demand ramps up

Capital cities recorded another round of strong auctions results last week. According to data from property research firm CoreLogic, 1,587 capital city homes went under the hammer in the week ending 7 March, with preliminary clearance rates coming in at 84.5 per cent.While the final results have yet to come in, this looks to be an improvement on last week, which returned a preliminary clearance rate of 82 per cent (later revised down to 79.3 per cent).The major markets are enjoying an upswing, with Melbourne posting a preliminary clearance rate of 81 per cent across 477 auctions, and Sydney posting an 86.7 per cent preliminary clearance rate across 812 auctions.Smaller auction markets also continue to show strong results. Canberra led the way with 91.5 per cent of auctions returning a sold result, followed by Brisbane (82% per cent), Perth (82 per cent) and Adelaide (81.7 per cent).CoreLogic notes that volumes were much lower than the previous week, partly due to public holidays. This slowdown in market activity was most pronounced in Melbourne, which held 822 fewer auctions than in the previous week.

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How to be a better financial ally to women all over the world

How to be a better financial ally to women all over the world

In the week of International Women’s Day it’s important to acknowledge that women all over the world have extremely varied life experiences. Femmes are a broad group of people with different cultural backgrounds, different income levels and varying degrees of privilege.

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Investor confidence returns to property market

Investor confidence returns to property market

After a tumultuous year which saw the majority of investors withdrawing from the market to observe cautiously from the sidelines, it looks like current strong conditions have prompted the cashed-up cohort to return in droves.The latest numbers from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) show a 9.4 per cent increase in new investor loan commitments for January. In NSW, that number is at 6.7 per cent, the highest it’s been since about June 2018.According to the ABS, the average investor loan was highest in New South Wales at $658,900, followed by Victoria ($537,388), Queensland ($441,037), and Western Australia ($411,649).Andrew Wilson, chief economist at Archistar said that while the growth in investor lending has been strong in recent months, the ratio of investors to owner occupiers remains within a healthy range.“Investors have clearly now joined the stampede of buyers rushing housing markets, but the overall home loan market share of investors remains at record low levels, offsetting any concerns by the RBA and financial regulators of potential market disruption,” he said.The total share of investors currently hovers around 19 per cent, much lower than the long-term average of 33.1 per cent. It’s also a far cry from 2014 levels, when investor activity exceeded 40 per cent and financial regulators were forced to intervene.For buyers’ agent Grant Foley, the uptick in investor confidence has seen his clientele shift from predominantly owner occupiers in 2020 to largely investors in 2021.“The values of their properties have continued to grow over recent years and they are now feeling confident to reuse some of their equity by starting, or growing, their strategic property investment portfolios,” he said.“Many investors also have additional cash at their disposal after being forced to reduce their discretionary spending over the past year and some have also withdrawn funds from the stock market to invest in property rather than shares.”RELATED: Australians rushing to borrow, but are they as keen on refinancing?Record low interest rates continue to support strong market conditions, with fixed rates in particular playing a major role in attracting buyers.Those with sights on the property market have strong reason to believe those settings will remain for a while yet. In its March policy meeting last week, the Reserve Bank of Australia once again indicated it won’t be raising the cash rate for at least another three years.Wilson agreed this was the best course of action, saying that any increase in the near future would be premature and likely to weigh on the economy.“Any misguided move to raise interest rates to quell strong buyer activity would clearly place in jeopardy the current fragile and nascent economic recovery – something the RBA has clearly acknowledged,” he said.For more information on property and lending trends, head over to our home loan statistics page. And if you’re in the market for a home loan, visit our home loan comparison page, or browse the selection below.

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Cash card or cryptocurrency which is better for the planet

Cash, card or cryptocurrency? Which is better for the planet?

These days we're more aware than ever that a carbon footprint is attached to pretty much everything we do. From the food we eat to the transport we use, everything has an impact on the environment. Even how we choose to pay for products and services can make a difference.

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Property scene in 60 seconds home loans rise

Property scene in 60 seconds: Home loans rise

$1.5m is the median property price at auction in Sydney, according to Domain.$200,000 is the amount Westpac expects Sydney property values to rise by over the next two years. $1m is likely to secure you a property in other cities such as Brisbane and Melbourne, based on median prices (CoreLogic).2.32% p.a is the average 2-year fixed rate in Mozo's database at present, while the average 4-year rate is 2.36% p.a. 1.69% from Greater Bank (comparison 3.49%) is the lowest 1- year fixed rate in the Mozo database at present, 20bp lower than it was last month. 3.29% p.a is the average variable rate in our database right now.1.99% from Reduce (comparison 2.05%) is the best variable rate in our database.$29bn worth of home loans were taken out in January, a surge of 10.5% on the previous month, as per the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

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The costs and environmental impact of transport in 2021

The costs and environmental impact of transport in 2021

After a year of travel and transport restrictions, Australians are slowly moving around on the roads and rails once more. A question many may be asking during this transition is how to approach transport in the most sustainable and cost-effective way possible post-COVID.

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Articles

4 balance transfer credit card offers to help get you debt-free

Whether you overindulged during some retail therapy or had a large and unexpected bill, credit card debt has a way of creeping up on us. But the good news is, you don’t have to just let it sit there accruing interest. In fact if you’re ready to put an end to your mounting debt, there is a way to do it interest-free. A balance transfer credit card allows you to move the balance on your current credit card onto a card with a 0% interest rate for a fixed period of time. If you’re thinking about picking one up, we’ve rounded up four offers to get your search started.

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Plenti launches green buy now pay later product

Plenti launches green Buy Now Pay Later product

Fintech lender Plenti (formerly known as RateSetter) has launched a brand new interest free option for Aussies looking to invest in renewable energy technologies, such as solar panels and batteries. Customers who apply for the Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) product will be able to pay off their investment within 3 to 6 years, or up to 72 monthly instalments. As mentioned, the product is interest free, however customers will be charged a fixed $6 monthly fee to cover the cost of accessing the loan. In case you weren’t aware, the BNPL model allows customers to purchase items upfront and pay them off in either fortnightly or monthly instalments without incurring any interest. According to Plenti, the initiative is already off to a positive start thanks to its pilot program that was rolled out three months ago. The lender found that solar applications through these selected partners jumped by 80%, compared to the average demand in the last six months. “The fact that so many green home Aussies want to invest even further in solar is a huge positive in times of economic uncertainty,” said head of renewable energy finance at Plenti, Louis Edwards. “To me this shows more people are realising the technology curve we are on, the benefit with new products like home batteries and the need to get in early to invest in their home energy future.”

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Multiple cars to insure here s how to go about it

Multiple cars to insure? Here’s how to go about it

With international (and often domestic) travel off the table, more and more Aussies have been investing in cars. In fact, the purchase of vehicles rose a considerable 31.8% last year, that’s according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

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Articles

50% of Aussies still have Christmas credit card debt

Although the festive season has well and truly passed, new Mozo research has found that some Aussies have been left with a reminder they’d rather forget. We found that 52% of Australinas used a credit card to get through the Christmas period, with one in two (56%) concerned about how they are going to pay it off. Despite the Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) boom, only 10% of shoppers opted to use BNPL to manage their Christmas spending. “Although there has been a lot of hype around the popularity of buy now pay later services, it seems that when it comes to the crunch credit cards are still one of Australia’s most popular forms of payment, particularly when it comes to spreading the cost of Christmas” says Mozo Director, Kirsty Lamont. Mozo’s findings come as the latest figures from the RBA revealed that the country collectively has $20.16 billion worth of credit card debt. Lamont suggests to Aussies struggling to get on top of their credit card debt to consider a balance transfer credit card. These are credit cards which feature 0% interest for a fixed period of time. “Credit cards can be a useful way to manage multiple purchases however, if you’ve gone overboard  and need to get respite from high interest charges to help get back in the black, balance transfer offers are worth looking at,” says Lamont.At the time of writing, there are 82 balance transfer deals available in the Mozo database, with zero interest offers ranging from 6 to 30 months. Following a quick number crunch, Mozo found that a 12 month balance transfer credit card could save a customer $679 on a debt of $4,200.

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Credit card spending bounces back finds citi

Credit card spending bounces back, finds Citi

Popular bank and credit card provider Citi is calling it “business as usual” as customer spending made a comeback in February. According to the bank’s recent Credit Card Index, the daily average spend last month spiked by 28%. This is after a 19% drop in January. “As anticipated, spend has increased significantly in February following January's holiday season spending hangover,” said Choong Yu Lum, head of credit cards at Citi Australia. “February’s 28% spike in daily spend has recovered of pre-COVID levels, indicating the new year is in full swing and consumers are making the most of a predominantly lockdown-free month.”The numbers also revealed that Aussies are spending more on life administration, with less focus on leisure activities. In fact, Citi recorded a massive 80% increase in spending on Legal and Tax Services.

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Gen z still hungry for property despite obstacles

Gen Z still hungry for property despite obstacles

Young Australians are just as enthusiastic as older generations when it comes to property, with more than 71 per cent of 14-22 year olds saying they would like to own a home in the future according to a national survey by Bankwest.At the same time, it looks like the majority of Gen Z is acutely aware of the challenges ahead of them. Only six per cent of the cohort believe buying a home will be easily achievable, and three per cent said it would be impossible altogether.While there are government programs aimed at helping first home buyers, such as the First Home Loan Deposit Scheme, news of ever-increasing property prices may have dampened some of the enthusiasm young Australians initially had.Bankwest general manager of home buying Peter Bouhlas also points out that Gen Z is less insulated against economic shocks than the rest of the workforce. Among all age groups, Gen Z was most likely to feel negative about their job security (36 per cent).“We know the challenges of 2020 remain for many, and Gen Z, representing much of the young, casualised workforce of the country, often balancing study commitments, are greatly impacted by those challenges,” said Bouhlas.“These results show how young Australians face the multiple pressures of increased financial strain, a fall in confidence for job security, and an understandable increased negativity towards the property market.”RELATED: Property prices rise at fastest pace in 17 yearsAdding to these challenges is a lack of financial literacy. 18 per cent admitted to lacking confidence when it comes to managing their finances, and 19 per cent said they often struggle to understand money matters.What’s more, 18 per cent of Gen Z respondents admitted to making an impulse purchase in the past three months that they later regretted, compared to eight per cent on average.Despite this, Bouhlas said there were still positive conclusions to be drawn from the survey results, including Gen Z’s willingness to reach out to those close to them for guidance on financial matters.Among respondents, 38 per cent had discussed their finances with family in the past three months (compared to the average of 23 per cent) and 28 per cent had the same talk friends (compared to the average of 16%).“It’s promising that more than a quarter of Gen Z had spoken to others about their financial position and that they don’t believe today’s challenges will prevent them from pursuing home ownership in the future,” said Bouhlas.“It could be the case that the current low interest rate environment is contributing to the sentiment that home ownership remains achievable and helping Gen Z understand those factors is key for financial institutions.”For tips to get your finances in order, browse our guide to saving in 2021. And if you’re after an idea of where mortgage rates currently sit, head over to our home loan comparison page, or check out the selection below.

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How to avoid money stress as a new parent

How to avoid money stress as a new parent

A huge 75% of new parents underestimate the cost of having a child, research from Credit Union Australia (CUA) shows. Indeed, almost half of those surveyed regretted not saving more money before starting a family. Around 40% said that with hindsight, it would be good to save between $5,000 and $8,000 to cover the extra costs.

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Meet the lenders taking on the big banks in 2021

Meet the lenders taking on the big banks in 2021

In case you missed the news, home loan rates have gone off a cliff in the past two years in the wake of six Reserve Bank interest rate cuts, including one last November. And now that the dust has settled, Aussie homeowners have a real opportunity in 2021 to take advantage of some of the lowest rates on record.

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Home loan cashback frenzy takes off

Home loan cashback frenzy takes off

Autumn property season is here, and it's brought with it a frenzy of home loan cashback offers for refinancers as lenders battle it out to attract quality borrowers.

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Reserve bank interest rates

RBA holds the line, keeps interest rates at 0.1% in March

The Reserve Bank of Australia handed down its second policy decision of the year this afternoon, announcing it will keep official interest rates at their current setting of 0.1 per cent.After a wild few weeks which saw bond yields surge on the view the economy would recover sooner than expected, RBA Governor Philip Lowe doubled down on the Bank’s outlook for inflation and unemployment.“Further progress in reducing spare capacity is expected, but it will be some time before the labour market is tight enough to generate wage increases that are consistent with achieving the inflation target,” he said.“The Board does not expect these conditions to be met until 2024 at the earliest.”Under the RBA’s central scenario, unemployment is expected to remain at 6 per cent at the end this year and 5½ per cent at the end of 2022. Inflation will hover around 1¼ per cent over 2021 before increasing to 1½ per cent over 2022.Lowe said current monetary policy settings have delivered substantial aid to the economy by keeping borrowing costs low, and bond purchases made earlier this week have helped ensure the smooth functioning of the market.“To date, a cumulative $74 billion of government bonds issued by the Australian Government and the states and territories have been purchased under the initial $100 billion program,” he said.“A further $100 billion will be purchased following the completion of the initial program and the Bank is prepared to do more if that is necessary.”RELATED: Property prices rise at fastest pace in 17 yearsThe rapid growth in the property market is expected to continue on the back of record low interest rates, raising concerns that first home buyers could be shut out as property prices surge.But unlike the Reserve Bank of New Zealand, which recently agreed to consider housing affordability when setting monetary policy, the RBA won’t be sounding any alarms so long as lending standards remain sound.Last month, CoreLogic’s monthly home value index saw prices in Australia jump up by 2.1 per cent, marking the largest month-on-month change the property research firm has recorded since August 2003. Gains were distributed fairly evenly across the country, with regional markets posting average increases of 2.1 per cent and capital city markets rising by an average of 2 per cent.Analysts from the major banks are now confident we’ve passed the bottom of this property cycle, with Westpac the latest to upgrade its forecasts. It now predicts a 20 per cent increase in property prices over the next two years, which would see Sydney values rise by more than $200,000.This momentum will be supported by low fixed rates in particular. The latest ABS lending indicators show new fixed rate commitments for January 2021 were more than 200 per cent higher than they were before the RBA began its bond purchasing activities last year.According to research by Mozo, 29 per cent of the major banks’ mortgage books are now fixed, an increase of 12 per cent over the past financial year.Among lenders we track, the average 2-year fixed rate currently sits at 2.32% p.a., almost a full percentage point lower than the average variable rate of 3.29% p.a. While cuts to variable rates continue to flow through, lenders look to be competing mainly on the fixed rate front.Greater Bank currently occupies the top spot in our database, offering owner occupiers 1.69% p.a. (3.49% p.a. comparison rate*) on 1-year terms for its Great Rate Home Loan. Online lender UBank has also extended its UHomeLoan discount offer, which is among the lowest rates on the market. Owner occupiers who apply before 29 April 2021 can receive a 1.75% p.a. fixed rate (2.22% p.a. comparison rate*) on 3-years terms.For more information about mortgage and lending trends, head over to our home loan statistics page. And if you’re in the market for a home loan, visit our home loan comparison page, or browse the selection below.

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Property prices rise at fastest pace in 17 years

Property prices rise at fastest pace in 17 years

Australia’s housing values have made their biggest monthly leap since August 2003, rising by 2.1% over February, according to new figures from property research platform CoreLogic. Capital city markets were up 2% on average, with Sydney and Hobart leading the way with a 2.5% increase and Melbourne following closely with a 2.1% jump. Meanwhile, regional markets were up an average 2.1%. CoreLogic said the surge in home values comes off the back of record low home loan rates, government incentives like HomeBuilder as well as improvements in the economic outlook.Strong buyer demand amid a relatively tight supply of homes for sale have also put upward pressure on property prices. For instance, just this past week, preliminary clearance rates in Sydney hit a high 88.9% across 844 auctions, and in Melbourne, reached 77.7% across 1,273 auctions. Compared to a year ago, these figures represent a greater percentage of homes sold under the hammer yet fewer auctions occurring in the first place. That said, the week leading to Saturday 27 February did see the highest number of scheduled auctions to date in 2021 (2,451 - up from 2,218 in the previous week).

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Renting a holiday car make sure you consider all the costs

Renting a holiday car? Make sure you consider all the costs

A rental car could come in handy while holidaying in Australia, whether or not you own your own vehicle. You might have flown interstate and need wheels to explore new roads, or perhaps you’re travelling locally and need more robust transport for multiple mates and camping packs.

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Your favourite way to pay later tightens up new buy now pay later code launches in australia

Your favourite way to pay later tightens up: New Buy Now Pay Later Code launches in Australia

Over a year ago, there was talk of a new Code of Practise major Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) companies were expected to sign. Today, that code is now officially in business. Developed by the Australian Finance Industry Association (AFIA), the Code of Practise sets the best practise for BNPL, while ensuring customers are protected. According to the AFIA, the Code is a ‘world first’ for the BNPL sector and will aim to go above standard Australian law.“From the get go, strengthening consumer protections across the sector was a focus for AFIA and its BNPL members. The Code is explicitly consumer focused and has nine commitments that signatories make directly to the people that use their products and services,” said AFIA chief executive Diane Tate. Some of the obligations Buy Now Pay Later companies must abide by include forbidding customers under the age of 18 from using the service and prohibiting users in financial hardship from making additional purchases on the platform. Other rules include capping late payment fees and conducting customer checks before they approved for the service.

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