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Record low interest rates are pushing Australians to refinance like never before

Posted: 15 July 2020 2:38 pm
News

Woman on her laptop.
Switching to a lower rate could save you over $5,000 a year.

Australian home loan rates have never been lower. And these falling rates are driving existing home loan customers to look at their home loans and find a better deal elsewhere.

In the latest home loan data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), the number of refinancers rose 30% month on month. That's May 2020 versus April 2020 (the latest data we have).

In dollar terms, the value of refinanced loans rose from $12,021,800,000 in April to $15,192,700,000 in May. That's an increase of 26.4%.

This data tells us that plenty of borrowers are looking for better home loan deals and they are finding them.

The Reserve Bank of Australia has dropped the official cash rate five times since June 2019. This has made borrowing costs for lenders cheaper, driving down variable rate home loans.

In April 2019, the lowest variable rate loan in Finder's database was 3.48%. Today, the lowest rate is 2.19%.

And yet, at the same time, lenders have dropped their fixed rates even further. The lowest owner-occupier 3-year fixed rate has plummeted from 3.74% in April 2019 to 1.99% today.

This means you can get a much cheaper home loan rate now. But if you already have a home loan, you might not be getting the best deal. While many lenders have passed on recent rate cuts, it's quite uneven. Some lenders consistently pass on a 0.25% cut each time. Others pass on less or only offer their best rates to new customers (a sneaky but common practice).

And that's why borrowers are rushing out to refinance.

In many cases, borrowers don't even have to look very far for a better deal. A third of May's home loan switches were internal: borrowers switching loans but staying with the same lender.

It never hurts to check your lender's website to see what rates they're currently offering. Your own lender might have a suitable product with a better rate than your current one.

Here's how much you can save by switching. Let's use April 2019's lowest rate versus today's to see how much you can save.

Interest rate of 3.74%

  • Loan amount: $500,000
  • Loan term: 30 years
  • Monthly repayment: $2,312

Interest rate of 1.99%

  • Loan amount: $500,000
  • Loan term: 30 years
  • Monthly repayment: $1,845

What a difference a year makes. Switching from a 3.74% rate to a 1.99% rate leaves you with repayments that are $467 lower per month. That's $5,604 a year.

Ready to refinance? Here's what you need to do

If you're thinking about refinancing, there are a few things you need to do first. Follow these steps and you'll be on your way to a better deal in no time:

  • Check your current interest rate. Find a recent home loan statement and check your interest rate.
  • Compare your rate. Look at some of the latest home loan offers and see how your rate stacks up. If there's a big difference, it's time to switch.
  • Crunch the numbers. Use a loan repayment calculator to see how much you can save by switching. Don't forget to look at any possible exit costs that come with leaving your current loan. If you're on a fixed rate, the breaking costs might be very high.
  • Talk to your current lender. Getting a lower rate on your current loan, or switching to a cheaper loan with the same lender, is easier than finding a new loan and lender. See if you can get a better deal, but make sure your lender knows you're willing to leave if there's a better deal elsewhere.
  • Find a new loan. If your current lender can't help, it's time to find a new loan with a lower rate that suits your needs. You also need to consider whether getting a fixed or variable rate is right for you. Currently, fixed rates are very low – even lower than variable rates in some cases. But these products are less flexible, and if rates fall even further, you'll be locked into a less competitive deal (although it's hard to imagine rates getting much lower than 1.99%).
  • Apply. You will need to gather all your paperwork (proof of income, bank statements) and submit an application.
  • Discharge your old loan. Once your new lender (hopefully) accepts your application, you'll need to notify your old lender and discharge your mortgage.

Switching is easier than you think. For a few hours spent researching and applying, you can save yourself thousands.

Compare some of the market's latest home loan offers

Data indicated here is updated regularly
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Name Product Interest Rate (p.a.) Comp Rate^ (p.a.) Application Fee Ongoing Fees Maximum Insured LVR Amount Saved Short Description
St.George Basic Home Loan - LVR 60% to 80% (Owner Occupier, P&I)
2.54%
2.56%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Up to $4,000 refinance cashback. A competitive variable rate loan from St.George. Refinancers borrowing $250,000 or more can get $4,000 cashback (Other terms, conditions and exclusions apply).
UBank UHomeLoan Variable Rate - Discount Offer for Owner Occupiers, Variable P&I Rate
2.49%
2.49%
$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.
Westpac Flexi First Option Home Loan - Basic Variable Rate (Owner Occupier, P&I)
2.29%
2.72%
$0
$8 monthly ($96 p.a.)
95%
Up to $3,000 refinance cashback.
A flexible and competitive variable rate loan. Eligible borrowers refinancing $250,000 or more can get $2,000 cashback per property plus a bonus $1,000 for their first application. Other conditions apply.
homeloans.com.au Low Rate Home Loan with Offset - LVR Under 60% (Owner Occupier, P&I)
2.29%
2.31%
$0
$0 p.a.
60%
A competitive rate with no application or ongoing fee. This loan is not available for construction.
Athena Celebrate Home Loan - 60% LVR  Owner Occupier, P&I
2.34%
2.34%
$0
$0 p.a.
60%
Owner occupiers with 40% deposits or equity can get this competitive variable rate loan. No upfront or ongoing fees.
Well Home Loans Balanced Variable - LVR 80% Special Offer (Owner occupier, P&I)
2.17%
2.20%
$250
$0 p.a.
80%
A very low interest rate for home buyers with 20% deposits saved. Add an offset account for a small fee. This special discount rate is available for new borrowers who apply and get approved by 30 November 2020. Not available for construction purposes.
Virgin Money Reward Me Variable Home Loan - LVR ≤ 60% (<$500k Owner Occupier, P&I)
2.64%
2.81%
$300
$10 monthly ($120 p.a.)
60%
$3,000 refinance cashback.
A variable rate loan for owner occupiers with a 40% deposit (or equity) borrowing under $500,000. Get a $3,000 cashback when you switch to Virgin Money with a loan amount of $300,000 or more with an LVR up to 80%. You must apply by 29 November 2020 and settle by 28 February 2021.
IMB Budget Home Loan - LVR ≤80% (Owner Occupier, P&I, NSW and ACT borrowers only)
2.61%
2.67%
$449
$0 p.a.
80%
A competitive variable rate for borrowers with 20% deposits saved. Available for NSW and ACT borrowers only.
HSBC Home Value Loan - Promotional Offer (Owner Occupier P&I)
2.59%
2.60%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Get a low interest rate loan with no ongoing fees. Plus you can make extra repayments and free redraw online.
Yard Variable Home Loan - LVR 80% Special (Owner Occupier, P&I)
2.39%
2.42%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
A very low variable rate loan for home buyers with an optional offset account ($10 monthly fee). 20% deposit required.
Westpac Fixed Options Home Loan Premier Advantage Package - 2 Year (Owner Occupier, P&I)
2.29%
3.53%
$0
$395 p.a.
95%
Up to $3,000 refinance cashback.
Competitive fixed rate loan available with a 5% deposit. Eligible borrowers refinancing $250,000 or more can get up to $3,000 cashback. Other conditions apply.
homeloans.com.au Low Rate Home Loan with Offset - LVR 60% to 80% (Owner Occupier, P&I)
2.39%
2.41%
$0
$0 p.a.
90%
This loan offers a competitive variable rate and a 100% offset account to help save you on interest repayments. This loan is not available for construction.
Macquarie Bank Basic Home Loan - LVR ≤ 60% (Owner Occupier, P&I)
2.49%
2.49%
$0
$0 p.a.
60%
A competitive variable rate home loan for owner-occupiers. Requires a 40% deposit.
Virgin Money Reward Me Variable Home Loan - LVR ≤ 60% ($750k+ Owner Occupier, P&I)
2.55%
2.72%
$300
$10 monthly ($120 p.a.)
60%
$3,000 refinance cashback.
Buy your home and lock in a low rate for the first two years. Get a $3,000 cashback when you switch to Virgin Money with a loan amount of $300,000 or more with an LVR up to 80%. You must apply by 29 November 2020 and settle by 28 February 2021.
Athena Evaporate Home Loan - 60% to 70% LVR  Owner Occupier, P&I
2.39%
2.36%
$0
$0 p.a.
70%
A low variable rate for owner occupiers with 30% deposits. No upfront or ongoing fees.
AMP Bank Professional Package Variable Rate Home Loan - $100,000 and above, LVR ≤ 80% incl. LMI (Owner Occupier, P&I)
2.59%
3.00%
$0
$349 p.a.
80%
Get a sharp rate with no application or settlement fee, a redraw facility and 100% offset account. Other fees and charges apply.
Athena Liberate Home Loan - 70% to 80% LVR Owner Occupier, P&I
2.44%
2.38%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
A competitive variable rate mortgage for owner occupiers $0 application and $0 ongoing fees. This interest rate falls over time as you pay off the loan.
Hunter United Fixed Home Loan - 2 Year Fixed (Owner Occupier, P&I)
2.19%
2.71%
$350
$0 p.a.
90%
Lock in a competitive rate for two years. Available with a 10% deposit.
Virgin Money Reward Me Fixed Rate Home Loan - 2 Year $300k+ Special offer (Owner Occupier, P&I)
2.29%
2.87%
$300
$10 monthly ($120 p.a.)
80%
$3,000 refinance cashback.
Buy your home and lock in a low rate for the first two years. Get a $3,000 cashback when you switch to Virgin Money with a loan amount of $300,000 or more with an LVR up to 80%. You must apply by 29 November 2020 and settle by 28 February 2021.
IMB Budget Home Loan - Special LVR  ≤90% (Owner Occupier, P&I, NSW and ACT borrowers only)
2.78%
2.84%
$449
$0 p.a.
90%
NSW and ACT customers only. You can get an interest rate discount for a limited time with this competitive variable mortgage.
homeloans.com.au Low Rate Home Loan with Offset - LVR 80% to 90% (Owner Occupier, P&I)
2.74%
2.76%
$0
$0 p.a.
90%
Save on interest with a free 100% offset account and buy your property with just a 10% deposit. This loan is not available for construction.
Well Home Loans Balanced Fixed Home Loan - 2 Year (Owner occupier, P&I)
2.22%
2.21%
$250
$0 p.a.
90%
A low fixed mortgage with an optional 100% offset account. Not available for construction purposes.
Sydney Mutual Bank Special Fixed Home Loan - 3 Year (Owner Occupier, P&I)
2.28%
2.86%
$250
$0 p.a.
95%
A competitive fixed rate loan for home buyers. Available with a 5% deposit.
Macquarie Bank Basic Home Loan - LVR ≤ 80% (Owner Occupier, P&I)
2.64%
2.64%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Pay no application and ongoing fees and take advantage of split and redraw options.
Endeavour Mutual Bank Special Fixed Home Loan - 3 Year (Owner Occupier, P&I)
2.28%
2.86%
$250
$0 p.a.
95%
A competitive 3 year fixed rate loan for home buyers. Available with a 5% deposit.
G&C Mutual Bank Momentum Home Loan - LVR <50% (Owner Occupier, P&I)
2.55%
2.57%
$0
$0 p.a.
A variable rate loan for owner-occupiers looking to refinance. This loan has low fees and a 100% offset account.
Bank of Melbourne Basic Home Loan - Special Offer (Owner Occupiers, P&I) LVR above 60% up to 80%
2.54%
2.56%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Up to $4,000 refinance cashback
A competitive variable rate loan from Bank of Melbourne. Refinancers borrowing $250,000 or more can get $4,000 cashback (Other terms, conditions and exclusions apply).
Well Home Loans Balanced Variable - LVR 90% (Owner occupier, P&I)
2.52%
2.55%
$250
$0 p.a.
90%
A very low variable interest rate for borrowers with a 10% deposit. Add a 100% offset account for $10 a month. Not available for construction purposes.
Bankwest Complete Home Loan Package Variable - $200k to <$750k LVR ≤80% (Owner Occupier, P&I)
2.73%
3.18%
$0
$395 p.a.
80%
A low variable rate loan with a 100% offset account and package discounts.
HSBC Home Value Loan - Promotional Offer LVR 90% (Owner Occupier, P&I)
2.69%
2.70%
$0
$0 p.a.
90%
A competitive value home loan with no ongoing fee.
Macquarie Bank Basic Home Loan - LVR ≤ 90% (Owner Occupier, P&I)
3.04%
3.04%
$0
$0 p.a.
90%
Borrow up to $750K with an LVR ≤ 90% and pay no application fee.
Well Home Loans Balanced Fixed Home Loan - 3 Year (Owner Occupier, P&I)
2.27%
2.23%
$250
$0 p.a.
90%
A low 3 year fixed rate for home buyers. Add a 100% offset account with a $10 monthly fee. Not available for construction purposes.
Heritage Bank Fixed Rate Home Loan - 2 Year Fixed Rate (Owner Occupier, P&I) New Customers Only
2.59%
4.30%
$600
$8 monthly ($96 p.a.)
95%
Get a partial offset account and the option to make interest-only repayments.
UBank UHomeLoan - 1 Year Fixed Rate (Owner Occupier, P&I)
2.14%
2.46%
$395
$0 p.a.
80%
Fix your mortgage for 1 year with a very competitive rate and no ongoing fees.
Bluestone Prime Direct (Owner Occupier, P&I)
2.49%
2.51%
$0
$0 p.a.
70%
Bluestone's Prime Direct is a competitive variable rate home loan for borrowers with 30% deposits.
Newcastle Permanent Building Society Real Deal Home Loan - Special Offer 1 (Owner Occupier, P&I)
2.59%
2.63%
$595
$0 p.a.
80%
$2,000 refinance cashback
$2,000 cashback for eligible refinancers borrowing $250,000 or more.
BankSA Basic Home Loan - Owner Occupier, P&I
2.54%
2.56%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Up to $4,000 refinance cashback
A competitive variable rate loan from BankSA. Refinancers borrowing $200,000 or more can get a $4,000 cashback (Other terms, conditions and exclusions apply).
Newcastle Permanent Building Society Fixed Rate Home Loan - 1 Year Fixed (Owner Occupier, P&I)
2.49%
4.12%
$595
$0 p.a.
90%
$2,000 refinance cashback
Investors can take advantage of a short term fixed rate with no ongoing fees. $2,000 cashback for eligible refinancers borrowing $250,000 or more.
Heritage Bank Discount Variable Home Loan - LVR ≤ 80% (Owner Occupier, P&I) New Customers Only
2.78%
2.83%
$600
$0 p.a.
80%
Family guarantee option available. Enjoy flexible repayments and a low minimum loan amount.
CUA Achieve Variable Home Loan - $500k+ (Owner Occupier, P&I)
2.55%
2.60%
$600
$0 p.a.
95%
Home buyers can get a competitive, low-fee variable rate plus a 100% offset account. Low deposit option available. Eligible new home buyers with low deposits can apply for the First Home Loan Deposit Scheme with this lender and avoid LMI costs. Eligible refinancers can get a $2,000 pre-paid credit card when they switch to CUA.
UBank UHomeLoan - 1 Year Fixed Rate (Investor, P&I)
2.29%
2.84%
$395
$0 p.a.
80%
Investors can enjoy flexible repayments and an easy application process with this pioneering online lender.
Heritage Bank Advantage Package - 1 Year Fixed (Owner Occupier, P&I) New Customers Only
2.59%
3.34%
$0
$350 p.a.
95%
Get a partial offset account and flexible repayments with this package loan.
Newcastle Permanent Building Society  Premium Plus Package Fixed Rate - 2 Year Fixed (Owner Occupier, P&I)
2.44%
3.76%
$0
$395 p.a.
95%
$2,000 refinance cashback
Enjoy a discounted fixed rate and the ability to package the loan with other financial products. $2,000 cashback for eligible refinancers borrowing $250,000 or more.
UBank UHomeLoan - 1 Year Fixed Rate (Owner Occupier, IO)
2.29%
2.47%
$395
$0 p.a.
80%
A one year fixed rate offer with no ongoing bank fees.
UBank UHomeLoan - 3 Year Fixed Rate (Owner Occupier, P&I)
2.14%
2.41%
$395
$0 p.a.
80%
A competitive fixed interest rate loan with no ongoing fees. Requires a 20% deposit.
Athena Variable Home Loan - Owner Occupier, IO
2.99%
2.59%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Owner occupiers can refinance to one of the most competitive interest-only rates in the market. No application fee and no ongoing fees.
UBank UHomeLoan - 1 Year Fixed Rate (Investor, IO)
2.44%
2.85%
$395
$0 p.a.
80%
Investors can enjoy flexible repayments and an easy application process with this pioneering online lender.
Newcastle Permanent Building Society Premium Plus Package Home Loan - New Customer Offer Discount 1 ($150k+ Owner Occupier, P&I)
2.94%
3.34%
$0
$395 p.a.
95%
$2,000 refinance cashback
New borrowers or refinancers can get a discounted rate with this package loan. $2,000 cashback for eligible refinancers borrowing $250,000 or more.
UBank UHomeLoan - 3 Year Fixed Rate (Owner Occupier, IO)
2.29%
2.44%
$395
$0 p.a.
80%
A competitive 3 year fixed rate with no ongoing bank fees.
Newcastle Permanent Building Society Fixed Rate Home Loan - 2 Year Fixed (Owner Occupier, P&I)
2.54%
3.98%
$595
$0 p.a.
95%
$2,000 refinance cashback
Borrow up to 95% LVR of the value of the property you're buying and pay no ongoing fees. $2,000 cashback for eligible refinancers borrowing $250,000 or more.
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