Trending Financial News 28 January 2020

Market leaders slash home loan rates to 2.44% pa

Two lenders have followed Westpac in slashing home loan rates this week. Westpac now has fixed rate loans for investors with rates rivalling some of the smallest, low-cost online lenders.

The lowest home loan rates now listed on InfoChoice’s database of 1800 Australian home loan products from 145 lenders are now less than 2.50% pa.

Bank Australia has a two and three-year fixed rate (OO, P&I) of 2.44% pa (comparison rate up to 3.50 % pa).

Bank Australia is also cutting rates for owner-occupier borrowers with small deposits – as more lenders accept applications for First Home Loan Deposit Scheme loans.

“In the popular 2 and 3-year fixed rate home loan market, lenders are competing particularly hard at the moment with some big recent rate cuts from some of the leading current lenders,” said Vadim Taube, CEO of InfoChoice.com.au.

Bank Australia cuts rates for high LVRs

Bank Australia has announced big rate cuts across its range of variable and fixed home loans for owner occupiers and investors. The big mutual bank which promotes its commitment to being green now has the lowest home loan rate in Australia (for two and three-year fixed OO P&I loans) among the 145 institutions listed on InfoChoice.

Bank Australia also has a new rate for borrowers with small deposits. Bank Australia now has a Basic Special home loan rate for LVRs up to 90% of 2.95% pa (comparison rate 2.99% pa).

Bank Australia has a two and three-year fixed rate (OO, P&I) of 2.44% pa (comparison rate up to 3.50 % pa).

Bank Australia’s current home loan rates.

Bankwest slashes fixed home loan rates

Bankwest has cut fixed home loan interest rates by up to 1.25 per cent pa.

All fixed home loan terms are being cut from 1 year to 5 years. The cuts apply to both owner occupier loans and loans for investors. Bankwest has cut rates on Principal and Interest loans as well as Interest-Only products.

Bankwest’s lowest current fixed rate, the three-year fixed rate (OO, P&I) has been reduced 0.06 percentage points from 2.99% pa to 2.93% pa (comparison rate 3.84% pa). Bankwest’s current home loan rates.

InfoChoice’s lowest fixed home loan rates in Australia       

InfoChoice lists more than 1800 home loans from 145 banks and other institutions in Australia. There is a new lowest home loan rate in Australia now on InfoChoice from Bank Australia. The table below is InfoChoice’s five top 2-year fixed home loan rates.

Top 2-year fixed home loan rates for owner occupiers: (28 January 2020)

InfoChoice’s lowest fixed investor home loan rates in Australia

InfoChoice lists hundreds of investor home loans from 145 banks and other institutions in Australia. There are now dozens of loans for investors available charging rates under 3% pa.

The table below is InfoChoice’s five top 2-year fixed home loan rates for property investors.

InfoChoice’s Top 2-year fixed home loan rates for investors: (28 January 2020)

Economic Outlook: Australia 2020

The economic outlook in Australia for 2020 will inform the Reserve Bank’s decision on interest rates and the government’s fiscal policies for the next budget.

The economic outlook for Australia in 2020 is ‘dismal’ according to a panel of 24 leading economists from 15 universities put together by leading academic news journal The Conversation.

Unemployment will stay above 5 per cent and possibly rise.

Economic growth will be low, in the 1 -2 per cent range. The economists expect wage growth to remain subdued at 2.2 per cent, the RBA to deliver one more rate caut, house prices to grow modestly and slower growth in share prices than in 2019.

Keep up to date with the outlook for interest rates and property prices in Australia at InfoChoice.

Would you buy a house without seeing it?

Increasing number of property buyers are making a purchase commitment without visting the property and inspecting it themselves.

Research shows that 20% of home buyers made an offer on a home without visiting the property. Another survey reported that 77% of home buyers wanted to see a virtual reality tour before making a trip.

Sellers are increasingly asking their agents to create a Virtual Reality tour of their home. Read more about Virtual Reality in real estate at InfoChoice.

Credit cards with Sydney & Melbourne airport lounge access

The best way to get easy access to Qantas, American Express and other airport lounges in Melbourne, Sydney and other international airports, is to get a credit card offering airport lounge access included.

For example, the Qantas American Express Ultimate credit card gives the cardholder $450 Qantas Travel Credit each year (for an annual fee of $450) for eligible international or domestic Qantas flights booked online through American Express Travel.

The Qantas American Express Ultimate card deal also includes up to two entries per year to the American Express Lounge at Sydney and Melbourne International Airports as well as two complimentary Qantas Club lounge invitations each year. You get the airport lounge access offers after the first yearly spend each year on selected Qantas products and services made using the card. Click here for full rates and fees for this card.

Read more about other credit cards offering airport lounge access at InfoChoice.

How much are credit card merchant charges?

Banks charge shops, merchants and retailers fees to accept card payments. The retailer is allowed to charge customers a card surcharge to cover their costs but they are not allowed to make a profit from card fees. The typical card surcharges for using a card to buy goods and services are:

  • For Visa and Mastercard credit cards, this is usually around 1.63 per cent.
  • American Express cards are often surcharged more – up to around 2.0 per cent.
  • Visa and Mastercard debit cards are often surcharged at around 0.63 per cent.
  • Eftpos cards may charge the retailer about 20 cents per transaction so for smaller transactions, so some retailers may ask for an Eftpos surcharge.

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