Is climate change impacting your property value? The number of major natural disasters in Australia has jumped up by 50% over the ten years. “The risks associated with natural disasters for home loans and house prices in Australia are increasing,” said Moody's analysts Joanne Kung and Ilya Serov. They noted Cyclone Debbie which ripped through Queensland in 2017 led to a rise in mortgage arrears. Read more about climate change and your house value at InfoChoice. NAB offers $2K to business customers in fire zones National Australia Bank has extended its support for bushfire communities and customers affected by fires. NAB CEO Ross McEwan said the bushfires were devastating. “We want to help those affected start to rebuild, with some immediate assistance to help our customers and colleagues deal with the impact.” NAB business and agribusiness customers can now get: A $2,000 grant if property has been damaged. Three-year deferral of interest repayments No foreclosures for affected businesses and an extra $1 billion in concessional loans. NAB offers $2K to bushfire victims National Australia Bank has announced extra support for bushfire communities and NAB customers affected by fires. NAB are spending $1 million providing grants of $2,000 to customers who have lost their homes to bushfires. NAB customers who have lost their home or been affected by fires, can visit their nearest open NAB branch or call NAB Assist on 1300 683 106. The NAB Assist team will be working in affected bushfire communities in the coming weeks and months. NAB employees who have been evacuated from their homes can also access a $1,000 grant. What fees does RAIZ charge? Raiz is a round up change app that invests your money in shares. Raiz offers six investment portfolios ranging from Conservative to Aggressive and Emerald for ethical investors. Raiz charges $1.25 a month for balances of $5,000 and under and 0.275 per cent per year on balances over $5,000. Read more about round up change apps in our comparison of Raiz with Spaceship at InfoChoice. Home Building Approvals booming Building approvals in November 2019 reached their highest level since March 2019, up by 11.8 per cent, due mostly to a surge in approvals in New South Wales according to new data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics. “The improvement in approvals in November is consistent with other leading indicators which show the market started to stabilise around April 2019,” said Tom Devitt from the Housing Industry Association. “South Australia, Queensland and the ACT also saw improvements in building approvals in the month of November. “The market nonetheless remains well down from previous years and concerns relating to overly tight credit conditions persist,” said Mr Devitt. [graph from HIA] Home building approvals data for November 2019 The ABS released residential building approvals data for November yesterday showing a big pick up in the level of residential construction across Australia in late 2019. In seasonally adjusted terms, building approvals increased in New South Wales by 52.8 per cent, South Australia was up 3.8 per cent, Queensland up 1.0 per cent and the ACT up by 0.3 per cent. Building approvals in other states declined. Fake investments are the number one scam \\More and more individuals are falling victim to complicated, well-planned scams like fake business emails and investment-based scams. 28 per cent of all money lost to scammers comes from False Investment schemes. Modified Business Invoices cost 25 per cent of the total funds lost to scammers. Romance scams account for 17 per cent of losses while remote access hacks led to 16 per cent of scam losses, according to data published by ANZ Bank in BlueNotes. What fees does Spaceship Voyager charge? Spaceship is a micro-investing app that offers two portfolios – the Index portfolio and the Universe portfolio. Voyager doesn’t charge any fees for balances under $5,000. The Index portfolio charges 0.05 per cent per year on any money over $5,000 and the Universe portfolio charges 0.10 per cent per year on amounts over $5,000. Read more about micro-investing apps in our comparison of Raiz with Spaceship at InfoChoice. ANZ takes on scammers ANZ Bank is enhancing its efforts to detect and prevent scam payments. ANZ has established dedicated scam investigation teams to respond to scams in its Australia Retail and Commercial business and in New Zealand. ANZ’s institutional bank has partnered with ID Care, a not-for-profit organisation supporting victims of identity and cyber fraud, including scams. ANZ says it is also working closely with other banks and law enforcement agencies to disrupt scam activities. Top refinancer loan deals in January 2020 In January 2020, lenders are competing hard for good borrowers, according to the latest RBA board minutes. Athena Home Loans specialises in refinancing home loans from other lenders. Athena offers a refinancing deal for investors with a comparison rate of 3.45 per cent (you’ll still need an LVR of 80 per cent or lower). The Suncorp Back to Basics Owner Occupied (P&I) home loan for owner occupiers has a maximum LVR of 90 per cent with a variable rate of 3.03 per cent pa (comparison rate 3.04 per cent pa). The best home loan for refinancers is the one that best suits your particular and personal financial situation. You can research home loans for refinancing at InfoChoice. How much can I save by refinancing? The main reason for refinancing a home loan is cost savings. Refinancing can save you hundreds of dollars per month and thousands of dollars over the loan. Use a refinancing calculator to work it out. Refinancing a typical $300,000 25-year home loan from a 4% pa rate to a loan charging 3.0% pa could save almost $50,000 according to the InfoChoice Refinancing Calculator. Monthly repayments would fall $161 from $1,583 to $1,422.