How Aussies can pay off mortgages faster

By Gerv Tacadena

One sure-fire way to settle loans as quickly as possible is by maintaining an offset account

For an average Australian, a mortgage could be the biggest debt they will have in their lifetime. While getting a home-loan approval has become easier due to the easing of credit rules and low interest rates, paying it off remains a challenge, a market watcher said.

"A mortgage is the main thing that could cause personal bankruptcy. I'd want to pay off my mortgage as quickly as possible," said market watcher Tristan Harrison in a think piece in Motley Fool.

To settle mortgage as quickly as possible, Harrison said Australians can consider three strategies. The first tip is to change the payment frequencies.

"Many people pay their mortgages once a month, but if you split that amount in half and pay it once a fortnight, you'll end up paying more over a year. That's because there are 26 fortnights in a year but 24 half-month periods, so you can pay the mortgage off a bit quicker without really noticing," he said.

Also read: Offset vs redraw - which is best?

The changes might seem small at first glance, but over the course of the loan term, borrowers would notice that they paid lower interest costs.

The next strategy is maintaining an offset account. An offset account works like a high-interest savings account that reduces the interest charged to a mortgage. However, one misconception about offset account is that it decreases mortgage repayments.

"If you pay $2,000 a month it would stay at $2,000 a month, it's just the interest portion of the payment that reduces and therefore the capital repayment portion increases. This would mean that the loan is being paid off quicker than expected but with no change to your cashflow." Harrison said.

The most obvious way of trimming a mortgage term is making additional payments.

"Any amount put towards paying your loan down faster is a good move if there's no negative to doing it," Harrison said.

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