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Is a fixed or variable home loan right for you?

Thursday, 13 December, 2018

By David Brown, Senior Product Manager – Home Loans & Deposits

Purchasing a new home is always an exciting milestone. But whether you’re buying your first home or securing a new pad for the family, it isn’t always plain sailing.

An important decision in the process is your choice of home loan and which one best suits your needs, budget, and lifestyle. There’s no one size fits all solution, a fixed rate home loan offers security and stability, while a variable rate home loan provides flexibility and additional features.

If you’re unsure as to whether a fixed or variable home loan is right for you, let us explain the difference.

What is a fixed rate home loan?

A fixed rate home loan provides you with the certainty of knowing what your repayments will be for a fixed period by giving you the same interest rate during this time. The fixed period can be anywhere between 1 to 10 years. At the end of the agreed period, your loan will usually change to a variable rate.

What are the benefits of a fixed rate home loan?

As the rate is fixed, you’ll benefit from being protected against any interest rate rises. This gives you certainty in knowing what your repayments will be during the fixed period. It allows you to financially plan ahead and is super effective if you lock it in at a time when interest rates are low. With our Newcastle Permanent Premium Plus Package Fixed Rate Home Loan you are able to redraw funds you have paid in advance of your repayments, which isn’t always the case with other fixed rate home loans.

What are the pitfalls of a fixed rate home loan?

While you are protected from rising interest rates with a fixed rate loan, when interest rates go down you won’t benefit from the rate movement. There is usually no access to a mortgage offset account, either, which can otherwise help to reduce the interest you pay.

What is a variable rate home loan?

A variable rate home loan is a loan where the interest rate will fluctuate up and down based on the market interest rates, RBA cash rate, and your lender. A variable rate home loan means that your repayments will go up and down depending on which way interest rates move.

What are the benefits of a variable rate home loan?

If the interest rates fall, you’ll benefit from a lower minimum repayment required on your monthly repayments. A variable loan also gives you more flexibility when it comes to making repayments on your loan, meaning if you get a big lump sum you can pay your loan off quicker. A variable rate loan may provide additional features such as an interest offset account, and a redraw facility.

What are the pitfalls of a variable rate home loan?

While you may get the benefit when interest rates fall with a variable rate home loan, you will also pay more when they rise. You aren’t able to budget as well as repayments may change from time to time.

What is a split home loan?

There is also an option to split your home loan, which allows you to hedge your bets by paying a fixed rate on a portion of the loan and a variable rate on the other. This offers a bit more certainty over monthly repayments than a variable home loan, while allowing you take advantage of any falls in interest rates. It also allows you to benefit from the full range of features such as Offset and Redraw that are normally available with variable rate loans but may not be available with fixed rate loans.

Whichever home loan suits your preferences it’s important to understand what your monthly repayments will be before entering any loan agreement or signing for a house. Use our handy home loan calculator to understand your home loan repayments.

This article is intended to provide general information of an educational nature only. It does not have regard to your objectives, financial situation or needs and must not be relied upon as financial product advice. Before you act on this information, you should consider whether it is appropriate for your circumstances. Information in this article is current as at the date of publication. Applications subject to credit approval and fees and charges are payable. Terms and conditions apply and are available on request.

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