Refinancing: How often should you consider switching your home loan?

Yellow and red housesThe market's competitive and rates are low. If you haven’t been paying attention to your home loan, it’s time to give it a check-up.

As the home loan market becomes more and more competitive, it’s hard to miss the constant calls to refinance. And if you do have a home loan, it’s probably wise advice.

Recent research at finder found that switching to a home loan below the average market-wide interest rate could save you up to $69,283.57 over a 30 year loan.

But refinancing isn’t always the best option. If you’ve been in your current home loan only a short time, the costs of refinancing could well outweigh the benefits.

So how often should you refinance your home loan? The answer all depends on the market.

1. Do a health check

It may be frustrating to hear, but there’s no hard and fast rule regarding how often you should refinance. However, as a general rule of thumb, it’s good to do regular home loan health checks.

There are a few times when it makes sense to have a look at your home loan, including:

  • When the RBA moves rates
  • During the spring selling season
  • When regulators change rules regarding lending
  • At least once every 18 months

Even outside events like these you should check your home loan rate against other rates in the market at least every year to year-and-a-half. You might be surprised by how much rates have moved since you first took out your home loan.

2. Check the cost of switching

If you’ve performed a health check on your home loan and determined that there are better rates available, you’ll want to weigh the cost of switching to see if you’ll end up saving money.

Refinancing a home loan can come with a variety of costs. You’ll likely have to pay a discharge fee to close out your old home loan account. You may also have to pay application and settlement fees for your new home loan.

If you had a small deposit when you initially took out your home loan, it’s likely you also paid for lenders mortgage insurance, or LMI. This insurance premium is charged when you have a deposit of less than 20%. If you haven’t been paying your home loan long, it’s possible you haven’t built up 20% of equity in your home. If this is the case, you could have to pay LMI a second time if you refinance, and this could cost you thousands.

Moreover, if you’re in a fixed rate home loan, you’ll likely have to pay a break cost to exit the home loan before the end of the fixed period. Depending on how long you have left in the fixed period and how much rates have moved since you first took out your home loan, this break cost could be thousands of dollars.

If the costs of switching are too burdensome, they could well outweigh the benefits and you could be better off staying with your current home loan. You can check the potential cost or savings you could see from refinancing with this calculator.

3. Look at the features

Another factor to consider when deciding whether to refinance is the features your home loan has versus the features you’d like.

One useful feature is an offset account. An offset account is a transaction account linked to your home loan that reduces the amount of interest you pay. It does this by offsetting the amount of money on which interest is charged by the amount of funds in the offset account. For instance, if you have a $750,000 home loan with $50,000 in a linked offset account, you’ll only be charged interest on $700,000.

Another helpful feature is a redraw facility. This account allows you to withdraw any extra funds you’ve paid on your home loan. If you’ve paid a month or two ahead on your home loan and need to access the funds for another purpose, a redraw facility will allow you to get access to that money.

If your current home loan doesn’t have these features, you might want to consider refinancing to a loan that does. However, be aware that features like these often come with fees or slightly higher rates than loans that lack these features. Make sure to weigh whether you’re likely to use these features before paying for them.

4. Think about fixing

If you’re looking into refinancing, you might want to consider fixing your home loan rate. The benefit of a fixed rate is the certainty it provides. A fixed rate means your home loan interest rate won’t change for a predetermined period of time.

The benefit of this, of course, is that you’ll be insulated from any rate rises. The drawback is that you won’t benefit from any rate decreases during the fixed period, and you’ll be locked into your home loan for the duration of the fixed period and could be charged substantial break fees if you choose to exit it. Another drawback is that fixed-rate products often don’t offer the same features as variable-rate home loans.

However, if you can find a fixed rate that’s lower than your current rate, it could make sense to lock in your rate. A fixed rate allows you to budget with certainty, knowing what your repayments will be each month. If you’re comfortably making your repayments at the moment, refinancing to a lower fixed rate means you can be certain you’ll have no problem meeting your repayments for the duration of the fixed rate.

5. Don’t fall prey to inertia

It’s easy to stay in your current home loan rather than put in the work to refinance to a better deal. But putting in a bit of work could save you tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars over the life of your loan. With this in mind, it’s important to remain vigilant and regularly check to make sure you’re getting the best deal you can.

Compare refinance home loans today

Rates last updated September 22nd, 2018
$
% p.a.
Offset account
Split account
Loan type
Your filter criteria do not match any product
Name Product Interest Rate (p.a.) Comp Rate^ (p.a.) Application Fee Ongoing Fees Maximum Insured LVR Amount Saved Short Description
3.64%
3.65%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Get a very low interest rate and pay fewer fees. Enjoy a fast online application process and add a 100% offset account for $10 a month.
3.59%
3.59%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Enjoy flexible repayments, a redraw facility and the ability to split your loan. Plus, pay no application or ongoing fees.
3.64%
3.66%
$0
$0 p.a.
90%
Get a low interest rate loan with no ongoing fees. Plus you can make extra repayments and free redraw online. Available with just a 10% deposit.
3.64%
3.66%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
A simple mortgage with a competitive interest rate and no application or monthly fees. Borrow up to $2 million from a convenient online lender.
3.54%
3.57%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
A competitive variable interest rate product aimed at refinancers looking to switch to a lower rate.
3.65%
3.66%
$0
$0 p.a.
90%
Competitive interest rate and low fees. Available with a 10% deposit. Partial offset account attached (offset up to $15,000).
3.87%
3.91%
$0
$10 monthly ($120 p.a.)
90%
Get Velocity Frequent Flyer Points at settlement, monthly and every three years, plus the option to make up to $10,000 a year in extra repayments.
3.49%
4.57%
$0
$395 p.a.
90%
Loans over $150k get a discount off an already low fixed rate. Available for NSW, QLD and ACT residents only.
3.64%
3.64%
$0
$0 p.a.
70%
A basic variable home loan that offers a competitive interest rate with no application fees and no ongoing fees.
3.79%
3.80%
$0
$0 p.a.
90%
Get one free online redraw per month and pay no ongoing fees. Application fees are waived for loans above $150,000.
3.79%
3.79%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Access an offset account and pay no application or ongoing fees on this special variable rate for owner-occupiers.
3.64%
3.65%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Fast, 100% online application process. Very limited fees. Optional offset account (with fee).
3.68%
3.82%
$0
$10 monthly ($120 p.a.)
80%
Get double Velocity Frequent Flyer Points with this mortgage to spend on flights and more (for a limited time, subject to eligibility requirements). Redraw facility available on this variable rate home loan. Competitive interest rate.
3.69%
3.70%
$0
$0 p.a.
70%
Keep your LVR at 70% or below and enjoy a special discounted rate. Also, pay no application or ongoing fees.
3.74%
4.13%
$0
$349 p.a.
90%
Get a sharp rate plus package discounts and a 100% offset account.
3.69%
4.12%
$0
$395 p.a.
80%
Unlock a range of savings with this competitive package home loan offer. Offset account and redraw facility included.
3.64%
3.78%
$0
$10 monthly ($120 p.a.)
80%
Earn double Velocity Frequent Flyer Points on your mortgage for a limited time (subject to eligibility requirements). Plus, access a 100% offset account to save on interest.
3.79%
3.82%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
A variable investor mortgage with a high borrowing amount so you can fund a large purchase.
3.54%
3.58%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Get a competitive rate, save on fees and access a 100% offset account plus redraw facility. $900 cashback offer.
3.74%
3.74%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
A basic owner-occupier home loan with a low variable rate that requires a 20% deposit.
3.68%
3.70%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
This loan offers a competitive variable rate and a 100% offset account to help save you on interest repayments.
3.64%
3.64%
$0
$0 p.a.
70%
A low interest rate home loan with no application or ongoing fees.
3.75%
4.00%
$0
$248 p.a.
70%
Borrowers with a 30% deposit can get this competitive rate.
3.70%
3.70%
$0
$0 p.a.
70%
Get a discount for keeping your LVR at 70% or below with this innovative online lender.
3.88%
4.40%
$0
$395 p.a.
90%
Lock in a very competitive 2 year rate and get package discounts on your credit card and offset account.
3.77%
3.81%
$695
$0 p.a.
95%
A simplified mortgage with a low interest rate and a redraw facility.
3.75%
3.75%
$0
$0 p.a.
70%
Pay no application or ongoing fees and get a flexible loan with the ability to split up to 6 times.
3.84%
3.84%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Pay no application or ongoing fees and get access to a free redraw facility with this innovative online lender.
3.59%
3.64%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Apply online and get fast approval for this fixed rate, low-fee loan with redraw facilities. Add a 100% offset account for a small fee.
3.72%
4.10%
$0
$395 p.a.
80%
New borrowers or refinancers can get a discounted rate with this package loan. Bonus $1,500 cashback for refinancers.
3.62%
3.62%
$0
$0 p.a.
95%
A low deposit mortgage with a competitive rate and plenty of flexibility. QLD residents only. Eligible borrowers can get a 15% discount on home and contents insurance for the life of their loan.
3.72%
3.74%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Save on interest by taking advantage of a 100% offset account along with no ongoing fees or application fees.
3.85%
3.85%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Pay no application and ongoing fees with Macquarie Bank Basic Home Loan. Split and redraw facilities included.
3.67%
3.69%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
A great interest rate home loan offer with unlimited redraw and unlimited extra payments.
3.74%
3.74%
$0
$0 p.a.
110%
Pay no deposit or LMI and get a discounted rate with this family pledge loan. Requires a family member to act as guarantor. NSW, Qld and ACT only.
3.69%
4.08%
$0
$349 p.a.
90%
Package your loan with other AMP products and save on rates and fees.
3.71%
3.71%
$0
$0 p.a.
70%
A variable rate home loan that has a lot of flexible features. This loan has a 100% offset account.
4.13%
4.14%
$0
$0 p.a.
90%
Access a fee-free offset account and a special interest rate for investors.
3.89%
3.94%
$0
$0 p.a.
90%
Borrow up to 90% of the value of the property you're buying, and pay no application fee.
3.77%
3.79%
$600
$0 p.a.
90%
Buy your home with just a 10% deposit, few fees and a reasonable interest rate.
3.93%
3.94%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
A low-fee line of credit loan from an online lender. Unlock the equity in your home and make interest-only repayments with a competitive rate.
3.99%
4.86%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Access a fee-free 100% offset account and pay no application or ongoing fees.
3.69%
4.54%
$0
$395 p.a.
90%
A fixed rate loan with a 100% offset account and the option to make additional repayments. Loans over $150k receive a discounted rate. NSW, QLD and ACT residents only.
3.74%
3.74%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Pay no application or ongoing fees and get access to a redraw facility and flexible repayment schedule.
3.89%
3.91%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
This variable rate loan keeps the features simple and fees low. This loan is offered by a 100% online lender.
3.89%
4.94%
$595
$0 p.a.
90%
Borrow up to 90% of the value of the property you're buying and pay no application or ongoing fees.
4.14%
4.81%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Pay no application fees and access a fee-free redraw facility with this fixed rate loan.

Compare up to 4 providers

Aussie Home Loans Logo

Enter your details below to receive an obligation-free quote from an Aussie home loans expert today

By submitting this form, you agree to the Finder Privacy and Cookies Policy and Terms of Use

Applications are subject to approval. Conditions, fees and charges apply. Please note that you need to be an Australian citizen or permanent resident to apply.

Credit services for Aussie Select, Aussie IQ and Aussie Optimizer products are provided by AHL Investments Pty Ltd ACN 105 265 861 Australian Credit Licence 246786 ("Aussie"), and its appointed credit representatives. Credit for Aussie Select products is provided by Residential Mortgage Group Pty Ltd ACN 152 378 133 Australian Credit Licence 414133 (“RMG”). RMG is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia ABN 48 123 123 124 AFSL and Australian Credit Licence 234945. Credit for Aussie Optimizer products is provided by Perpetual Limited ABN 86 000 431 827 (Lender). Credit for Aussie IQ is provided by Macquarie Bank Limited ABN 46 008 583 542 AFSL and Australian Credit Licence 237502. Home loans issued by the Lender are serviced by Macquarie Securitisation Limited ABN 16 003 297 336, Australian Credit Licence 237863 (MSL).

Aussie is a trade mark of AHL Investments Pty Ltd. Aussie is a subsidiary of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia ABN 48 123 123 124. ©2018 AHL Investments Pty Ltd ABN 27 105 265 861 Australian Credit Licence 246786.

By submitting this form, you agree to the finder.com.au Privacy and Cookies Policy, Terms of Use, Disclaimer & Privacy Policy and the Aussie privacy policy.

Aussie Home Loans is both a lender and a mortgage broker, and offers a range of services.

  • FREE Suburb and Property Report with every appointment.
  • Access 3,000+ loans from over 20 lenders.
  • Get expert help with your loan application, including paperwork and eligibility.
  • Over 1000 brokers who are able to help you in your local area.

Aussie Home Loans Lender Logos

The Adviser’s number 1 placed mortgage broker 5 years running (2013-2017)

Was this content helpful to you? No  Yes

Related Posts

Home Loan Offers

Important Information*
UBank UHomeLoan Variable Rate - Discount offer for Owner Occupiers, P&I Borrowing over $200,000

Take advantage of a low-fee mortgage with a special interest rate of just 3.59% p.a. and a 3.59% p.a. comparison rate.

loans.com.au Essentials - Variable (Owner Occupier, P&I)

A competitive interest rate home loan with interest only options. Interest rate 3.64% p.a.
comp rate of 3.66% p.a.

Greater Bank Ultimate Home Loan - Discounted 1 Year Fixed LVR ≤90% ($150K+ Owner Occupier)

Loans over $150k get a discount off an already low fixed rate. Available for NSW, QLD and ACT residents only.

Newcastle Permanent Building Society Premium Plus Package Home Loan - New Customer Offer ($150k+ Owner Occupier, P&I) Discount 1

New borrowers or refinancers can get a discounted rate with this package loan. Bonus $1,500 cashback for refinancers.

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on finder.com.au:

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • finder.com.au is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Finder only provides general advice and factual information, so consider your own circumstances, or seek advice before you decide to act on our content. By submitting a question, you're accepting our Privacy & Cookies Policy and Terms of Use, Disclaimer & Privacy Policy.
Ask a question
Go to site