The time to get a fixed rate was about eight months ago. Unfortunately, this was when there still seemed considerable pressure on the Reserve Bank to lower its cash rate. With people talking about cash and variable rates at 2 and 4 per cent respectively, there was naturally some reluctance to fix at say, 5 per cent.
Now however, if you could get a 3 year fixed rate at 5 per cent, chances are, you would jump at it. As we write this, rates are bouncing around a bit but an average 3 year rate is in the vicinity of 6.50 per cent. A five year rate is about one per cent dearer at seven and a half. With discount variable rates at an average of 5.10 it would be difficult to contemplate locking in for five years and to start paying 7.50 even if you were extremely pessimistic about interest rates. Locking into a 5 year rate at seven and a half on a mortgage of $300,000 would increase your principle and interest repayments by around $468.00 per month. You then have to wait until the reserve bank increases rates by over 2 per cent before variable rate customers are paying the same rate as you. However, while those in variable loans have been enjoying lower rates, you need to wait until rates increase a further 2 per cent before you might consider you have broken even on the deal.
All this is a matter of timing of course and it may not pan out exactly this way but its representative of the dilemma customers are now facing when it comes to finding a fixed rate that offers some certainty.
However, if paying your mortgage now at a much higher fixed rate is something you are considering, why not do it within the terms of your current variable rate?
What this requires is for you to start paying your mortgage as if you were being charged 7.50 per cent (Remember, you would be doing this any way if you took out a fixed rate loan). The big difference is that under the terms of your current variable mortgage, your loan is only being charged at around 5.10 to 5.50 per cent. (If you are paying more than this you should talk to us right away). This way you can pocket the savings yourself, instead of giving it to the bank, and get ahead on your mortgage. This way when rates start to go back up your loan principle will have been reduced and the amount of interest charged will be lower.
The beauty of a fixed rate loan is its ‘set and forget’ so you will require a certain discipline to operate your loan in suggested way. However, It will offer the flexibility to leave when you want to refinance or sell with out paying the enormous exit fees involved with most fixed rates.
This isn’t a dead set certain interest rate solution because it is possible rates may go up a lot more than we currently expect, but it is an alternative to locking into a fixed rate. If you’re interested, talk to us about the method that will best suit you and your faux fixed rate loan.