Caps for new first home buyer scheme revealed

October 31st, 2019 by

The property price caps in each state have been revealed for the federal government’s new first home buyer scheme. Read on to find out the maximum value of a property you can purchase under the scheme.

Imagine buying your first home with a 5% deposit and not having to pay lenders mortgage insurance (LMI).

Sounds good, right?

Well, the federal government has finally revealed more details in a draft mandate for the scheme, including the property price caps in each state.

The property price caps

Below are the property price caps for each city and regional centre with a population over 250,000, followed by the price caps for the rest of the state.

– NSW: $700,000 (Sydney, Newcastle/Lake Macquarie, Illawarra) and $450,000 (rest of state)

– VIC: $600,000 (Melbourne and Geelong) and $375,000 (rest of state)

– QLD: $475,000 (Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast) and $400,000 (rest of state)

– WA: $400,000 (Perth) and $300,000 (rest of state)

– SA: $400,000 (Adelaide) and $250,000 (rest of state)

– TAS: $400,000 (Hobart) and $300,000 (rest of state)

– ACT: $500,000

– NT: $375,000

Great, but what’s this scheme again?

Ok, so currently people with a deposit of less than 20% usually have to pay LMI.

But under the government scheme, eligible first home buyers with only a 5% deposit could be eligible to purchase a property without forking out for LMI.

Now, it’s important to note that this is not a handout – it’s simply a government guarantee.

But this guarantee could be very helpful, as it could save you as much as $10,000 in insurance.

Any more details?

The scheme is due to commence on 1 January 2020.

In order to be eligible first home buyers can’t have earned more than $125,000 in the previous financial year, or $200,000 for couples (and both need to be first home buyers).

But here’s the catch: the offer is limited to just 10,000 first home buyer loans each year. That’s less than 10% of the 110,000 Australians who bought their first home in 2018.

So who gets first dibs?

That’s the million-dollar question! (or, depending on where you live, the $400,000 question).

It looks as though applications will be granted on a “first come, first served” basis.

So if you’re considering purchasing a property but don’t have a 20% deposit saved up yet – get in touch.

We’d love to run you through the scheme in more detail and help you plan ahead for the new year.

Disclaimer: The content of this article is general in nature and is presented for informative purposes. It is not intended to constitute 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.

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Are you a spender or a saver?

October 24th, 2019 by

Are you paid weekly, fortnightly or monthly? New research indicates that how often you’re paid has a pretty big bearing on whether you’re a saver or a spender.

The research, conducted by small business platform Xero, shows that Aussies who receive their salaries weekly are more likely to splash their hard-earned cash than those who are paid monthly due to a term they’ve dubbed ‘payphoria’.

This, in turn, can play a big part when it comes to your ability to save for a home loan deposit.

What the research found

The research analysed the payday habits of 1,000 Australians and found that a whopping 63% of workers claim to have financial difficulties before payday and rely on short-term fixes for support.

In fact, one in three workers have less than $100 in the lead up to payday, resulting in them foregoing luxuries such as coffee and eating out, or even delaying household bills.

“It’s not surprising that when payday does come around, Aussies are experiencing rushes of ‘payphoria’ and are wanting to reward their hard work by spending up,” explains Xero small business advocate Angus Capel.

Hence, the research suggests that the more paydays we experience, the more of these ‘payphoria’ spending sprees we reward ourselves with.

Below is Xero’s breakdown of Aussie savers versus spenders.

Characteristics of savers:

– 70% of Australians identified as savers (despite much of the research suggesting otherwise!)

– they’re more likely to be paid monthly

– they’re more likely to budget and keep track of expenses and spending habits (87%)

– they feel worried if they don’t have enough savings (95%)

– they’re more likely to be married with no children and live in metro areas

– their key financial goals are on financial management such as retirement, having an emergency fund and paying off mortgages.

Characteristics of spenders:

– 30% of Australians identified as spenders

– they’re more likely to be paid weekly

– they don’t want to give up luxuries that come with saving (77%)

– they believe lifestyle is more important than saving for the future (56%)

– they’re more likely to use their income to pay off debts like credit card bills

– they’re more likely to have children under the age of 18 and live in regional areas.

Get in touch

If you think you’re leaning more towards spender than you are saver, then get in touch.

We can provide you with some effective saving techniques that can help put you on the right path to saving for a home loan deposit.

Disclaimer: The content of this article is general in nature and is presented for informative purposes. It is not intended to constitute 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.

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Crunch time: tax debts can now be reported by ATO to credit agencies

October 24th, 2019 by

Got a large, overdue tax debt with the Australian Tax Office (ATO)? Then best listen up, because certain tax debt information can now be reported to credit reporting bureaus (CRBs).

A new Australian law means the ATO will be able to disclose the tax debt information of a business to CRBs when certain criteria are met.

What does that criteria include?

The ATO will only disclose tax debt information if the business meets all of the following criteria:

– it has an Australian business number (ABN), and is not an excluded entity

– it has one or more tax debts, of which more than $100,000 is overdue by more than 90 days

– it is not effectively engaging with the ATO to manage its tax debt, and

– the Inspector-General of Taxation is not considering an ongoing complaint about the proposed reporting of the entity’s tax debt information.

What’s the purpose of this law?

The ATO says the purpose of this law is to encourage businesses to engage with them to manage their tax debts and, where a business is unable to pay a tax debt in full by the due date, enter into a sustainable payment plan that’s agreed upon between the two parties.

The ATO adds that the law is also to support more informed decision making within the business community by making large overdue tax debts more visible.

Finally, the ATO says the law will reduce the unfair advantage obtained by businesses that do not pay their tax on time and do not engage with the ATO in managing their tax debts.

How much warning will I get?

The ATO will notify a business in writing if it meets the reporting criteria and give it 28 days to engage with the ATO and take action to avoid having its tax debt information reported.

This might apply to me – what are my options?

Get in touch with the ATO – you may be able to agree on a payment plan.

That said, not everyone enjoys the ATO hovering over their shoulder. If that includes you, it’s definitely worth also getting in touch with us to explore your options with business loan lenders.

Disclaimer: The content of this article is general in nature and is presented for informative purposes. It is not intended to constitute 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.

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Frustrating bank habit triggers probe into home loan pricing

October 16th, 2019 by

You know that infuriating habit the big banks have of failing to pass on the RBA’s cash rate cuts in full? Well, it’s finally triggered the federal government to order an inquiry into home loan pricing.

The inquiry, which is being conducted by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), comes just weeks after the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) slashed the official cash rate by 25 basis points for the third time this year to a record new low of 0.75%.

What really drew the ire of the public and politicians alike, however, was that the big banks only passed on between 0.13% and 0.15% (out of 0.25%) of the latest RBA cut to customers.

This is after they only passed on 0.40% to 0.44% (out of 0.50%) for the previous two RBA cuts.

How much is it costing you?

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said if the big banks had passed on the recent rate cuts in full, a family with a $400,000 mortgage would be paying around $2,200 a year less in interest payments.

That compares to the $1,680 they’re saving from the 57 basis point rate cut that they are currently getting (on average), he added.

“In other words, families would be $519 better off if the banks had passed on the rate cut in full, not just a part of it,” Treasurer Frydenberg said.

So what will the ACCC probe?

The ACCC will investigate a wide range of issues – on top of why RBA cuts aren’t always passed on in full – including the rates paid by new customers versus existing customers (in other words: the ‘loyalty tax’).

In addition, the inquiry will consider what prevents more consumers from switching to cheaper home loans.

“We have evidence that customers can save considerable money by switching providers, and we want to fully understand what the barriers are that stand in their way, particularly barriers created by the banks,” ACCC Chair Rod Sims said.

“It is also very difficult for customers to find out what mortgage rate they could pay with another financial institution, without going through a lengthy and time-consuming application process.”

Mr Sims added the inquiry will aim to provide answers to the questions that banking customers have long asked.

“For example, there is an unusually large difference between the headline rate and the actual rates many customers are paying, which can be confusing for consumers,” he said.

The ACCC is expected to produce a preliminary report by the end of March 2020, with a final report due 30 September 2020.

Get in touch

All in all, the ACCC inquiry is aimed at increasing transparency when it comes to how banks price their home loans.

The good news for you is that you’re not alone. If you ever have a question about your home loan that you need clarity on, all you need to do is get in touch with us. We’d be more than happy to look into it.

Disclaimer: The content of this article is general in nature and is presented for informative purposes. It is not intended to constitute 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.

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7 ways you can use a reverse mortgage

October 9th, 2019 by

Got retirement on your radar? A reverse mortgage can help you improve your standard of living during your golden years. Today we’ll look at how some Aussies are using them.

From 2014 to 2054, the number of people in Australia aged between 65 and 84 is likely to more than double, according to ASIC.

This will likely see an increase in demand for equity release products such as reverse mortgages.

“Reverse mortgage products can help many Australians achieve a better quality of life in retirement,” says ASIC Deputy Chair Peter Kell.

With that in mind, today we’ll run through seven real-life ASIC case studies that show how a reverse mortgage can help older Australians achieve financial and lifestyle goals.

1. A loan for day-to-day expenses

Jenny was 74-years-old and living solely on a pension. She had only $664 in her transaction account and $15,260 of credit card debt when she applied for a reverse mortgage.

Jenny took out a $50,000 reverse mortgage to refinance her credit card debt, make home improvements, and cover day-to-day living expenses.

2. Spend quality time with your family

Caroline moved homes to be closer to her children, but found her pension did not allow her to spend time with them or go on holidays.

“I thought why should I sit here and twiddle my thumbs when I’ve only a few years left, so I arranged for some extra money to allow me to just enjoy my time,” said Caroline.

3. Finance a holiday

Fancy a trip overseas? Or perhaps campervanning around Australia is more your style?

Joey was 66-years-old, retired, and living primarily off his pension. He had a property valued at $360,000 and only $1,019 of cash in his bank account which was held by a different lender.

Joey paid for his holiday by borrowing a $70,000 lump sum through a reverse mortgage.

4. Help out a family member in need

Kathleen lived by herself and was saving for retirement. However, when one of her grown children unexpectedly needed extra support, Kathleen left her job to help provide care.

Without work income, she could not afford to cover her debt repayments so she took out a reverse mortgage.

Later, Kathleen was able to re-enter the workforce and made voluntary repayments on her reverse mortgage.

5. Renovate and downsize

Fred was 65-years-old and living alone after separating from his partner. He decided to quit his job and redirect his efforts into building his dream home.

Living on the Newstart Allowance, Fred chose to take out a reverse mortgage to cover the shortfall that losing his partner’s savings and wages caused in finishing the new build.

He planned to finish the home, staying in it no more than 12 months, then downsize in the same area to pay off the reverse mortgage.

6. Continue to live at your current home

Amy and Roger had lived in the same home for the last 30 years. They took out a reverse mortgage to finance home improvements that they believed would allow them to continue to living independently in their home as they grew older.

These improvements included building a ramp to replace stairs, replacing ageing carpets, and installing heating and cooling systems.

7. Early loss of employment

Tom worked for the same employer for about 40 years. After taking unpaid leave to recover from an unexpected illness, his employment was terminated with three weeks’ salary.

Tom was ineligible to receive the age pension so he took out a reverse mortgage to supplement his superannuation and cover his day-to-day living expenses.

Want to find out more?

It’s important to note that a reverse mortgage isn’t for everyone.

There will be some scenarios where it may be a good fit, and others where there may be other more suitable options available.

If you’d like to weigh up which category you fall into, get in touch. We’d love to chat with you about your future needs and whether a reverse mortgage could help fulfil them.

Disclaimer: The content of this article is general in nature and is presented for informative purposes. It is not intended to constitute 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.

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