Is now the right time to fix your home loan?

Ceyda Erem

18 Jan 2019

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To fix or not to fix that is the question - or at least it’s the question on the mind of both current and prospective Aussie homeowners.

If you’ve been keeping up with all the latest in home loan news, then you probably know that three of the big four banks hiked variable rates across the board last year, pushing many homeowners into the arms of smaller players and challenger lenders.

“Online lenders have been giving the big banks a run for their money for a while now and with the majority of the big four increasing their rates, it’s put a bad taste in the mouths of customers,” said Mozo Product Data Manager, Peter Marshall.

RELATED: RBA rate cut on the cards for 2019 as BOQ, Virgin Money hike home loan rates

And while the home loan market continues to remain rocky, Aussies looking to purchase their first home this year may be wondering whether or not to fix their mortgage to protect themselves from potential future hikes.

However, while fixing your home loan might sound like the right way to go, according to Marshall, unless you’re in it for the long haul, it might not make that much of a difference.

“If you’re after certainty or the assurance that your rate won’t change, then a fixed rate could be a good option - but you might have to pay a premium for it,” he said.

“Lenders have started to price in a potential cut to the cash rate this year, particularly for their longer term rates, so if you're after certainty in your repayments over the longer term there are some sharp deals around.”

And with Bank of Queensland and Virgin Money kicking off the year with steep rate hikes, Marshall is predicting that the RBA may act soon and cut rates.

RELATED: Is 2019 the year to ditch the big banks in search of a better home loan?

“I wouldn’t be surprised if the RBA cut rates in the first half of the year. This would mean the banks could hold on to some of the cash rate cuts to make up for increased funding costs, which should mean less pain for borrowers,” he said.

“But I can’t see lenders rushing to slash variable rates any time soon, and if they do pass on the cut, it won’t be by much. So if the RBA wants to provide relief for borrowers as well, a second cut could be on the cards.”

Smaller lenders shaking up the market

At the moment, the average variable rate for a basic loan without an offset account for the big four banks is 3.89%. That compares to the lowest comparable variable rate in the Mozo database - Reduce Home Loans’ Rate Lovers product - of 3.44%, making challenger lenders a hot pick for Aussie buyers.

RELATED: 5 New Year's resolutions for first home buyer success in 2019

To put that into perspective, say you took out a $300,000 to be repaid over 30 years on the average big bank rate of 3.89%. According to the Mozo repayment calculator, your monthly repayments would clock in at $1,413. But if you were to take out the same loan on the Reduce rate of 3.44%, your repayments would drop to $1,337 - a yearly saving of $912.

If you’re now thinking a variable rate could be right for you, check out our list down below or head over to our home loan comparison tool.

6 home loans for 2019 - rates updated daily

  • Promoted

    loans.com.au

    3.03% p.a. variable

    3.05% p.a.

    $1234

    Product details Close details
    Smart Home Loan

    A low-rate home loan that could save you thousands. No application or ongoing fees. Unlimited additional repayments. Unlimited free redraws with no minimum redraw amount, Limited time only.

    • 3.03% p.a. variable

    • 3.05% p.a.

    • $520

    • $0.00

    • $0.00

    • yes - free

    • yes - free

    • no

    • 80.00%

    • $50,000

    • $1,000,000

    • Variable

    • Principal & Interest

    • Owner Occupier

    • Weekly, Fortnightly, Monthly

    Read our Mozo Review to learn more about the Smart Home Loan

  • Promoted

    UBank

    3.09% p.a. variable

    3.09% p.a.

    $1234

    Product details Close details
    UHomeLoan - Discount Offer

    One of Australia's leading digital banks. Easy & fast to apply. Free redraw with flexible repayments. Min. 20% deposit required. Low rate and no bank fees (on variable loans). Winner of a Mozo Experts Choice Award 2019 in the Low Cost Home Loan category.^

    • 3.09% p.a. variable

    • 3.09% p.a.

    • $0

    • $0.00

    • $0.00

    • yes - free

    • yes - free

    • no

    • 80.00%

    • $200,000

    • -

    • Variable

    • Principal & Interest

    • Owner Occupier

    • Weekly, Fortnightly, Monthly

    Read our Mozo Review to learn more about the UHomeLoan - Discount Offer

  • Promoted

    Athena

    3.09% p.a. variable

    3.05% p.a.

    $1234

    Product details Close details
    Variable Home Loan

    Low rates, no fees, and automatic rate match. New-comer Athena wants you to love them and leave them. Refinance only. Minimum 20% deposit.

    • 3.09% p.a. variable

    • 3.05% p.a.

    • $0

    • $0.00

    • $0.00

    • yes - free

    • yes - free

    • no

    • 80.00%

    • $100,000

    • $2,000,000

    • Variable

    • Principal & Interest

    • Owner Occupier

    • Weekly, Fortnightly, Monthly

    Read our Mozo Review to learn more about the Variable Home Loan

  • Promoted

    ANZ

    3.38% p.a. variable

    3.42% p.a.

    $1234

    Product details Close details
    Simplicity PLUS Special Offer LVR <80%

    Competitive low rate. No upfront or monthly fees. Flexibility to make extra repayments and redraw. Minimum 20% deposit required.

    • 3.38% p.a. variable

    • 3.42% p.a.

    • $0

    • $0.00

    • $160.00

    • yes - free

    • yes

    • no

    • 80.00%

    • $50,000

    • -

    • Variable

    • Principal & Interest

    • Owner Occupier

    • Weekly, Fortnightly, Monthly

    Read our Mozo Review to learn more about the Simplicity PLUS Special Offer LVR <80%

*WARNING: This comparison rate applies only to the example or examples given. Different amounts and terms will result in different comparison rates. Costs such as redraw fees or early repayment fees, and cost savings such as fee waivers, are not included in the comparison rate but may influence the cost of the loan. The comparison rate displayed is for a secured loan with monthly principal and interest repayments for the amount and term you entered.

**Initial monthly repayment figures are estimates only, based on the advertised rate, and a loan of $500,000 repaid over 25 years. Rates, fees and charges and therefore the total cost of the loan may vary depending on your loan amount, loan term, and credit history. Actual repayments will depend on your individual circumstances and interest rate changes.

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