It appears the pause in the cash rate provided a breather for many homebuyers seeking finance — figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) showed that the number of new owner-occupier loan commitments for dwellings increased month-on-month in August.

Over the month, the number financing commitments from the owner-occupier segment went up 2.5%. On an annual basis, however, the number was down 12.3%.

Since February 2023, the number of new owner-occupier loans seemed to have returned to levels seen before the pandemic began, well below the peak achieved in January 2021.

Based on value, the trend followed the same trend — the value of new owner-occupier financing went up 2.6% monthly but declined 12.5%.

Across the investor segment, the value of financing commitment increased 1.6% in August but were still down 3% from last year.

Meanwhile, the number of external refinancing among owner-occupiers fell 5.4% over the month — this followed the record-breaking activity in July 2023.

However, refinancing remained at “unprecedented levels” as household seek options amid a high interest rate environment.

Since May 2022, the cash rate has already increased 400bps, now at 4.10%. While the rate hikes have been on pause since July, the recent statement from the Reserve Bank of Australia point to further tightening unless targets on inflation are met on time.

Expert shares tips when negotiating

Many fixed-rate loans are still set to expire in the coming two years and existing borrowers are urged to explore strategies to help secure the best home loan rates when their fixed terms expire.

Zippy Financial director Louisa Sanghera said around 40% of fixed-rate loans outstanding in early 2022 will expire by the end of 2023 and a further 20% by the end of 2024.

“The rapid increase in interest rates since May last year means many existing borrowers are stuck with their current lenders, because they simply don’t qualify to refinance elsewhere at present,” she said.

“By being proactive and undertaking some simple research, existing borrowers can give themselves a better chance of securing a much better home loan rate.”

Ms Sanghera said it pays to do some research and know the best home loan rates currently in the market.

“Find the best rate in the market then take that rate to your bank and ask them to beat it,” she said.

Another good strategy is to speak to the right people — in this case, Ms Sanghera said borrowers must reach out to their lenders’ retention teams when renegotiating their loan terms.

“Always ask for the bank’s retention team directly as they have the best rates, rather than someone who may just be in the home loan call centre,” she said.

“If the rate they offer you is still underwhelming, don’t give up, and repeat the same process every six months.”

For borrowers who have already built-up significant equity, they can leverage on their loan-to-value ratios (LVRs) to get a better deal with their lenders.

“Lower LVRs do carry lower rates with lenders. So, if your property has gone up in value, you may qualify for a cheaper rate, so make sure you know your current LVR before calling,” she said.

If getting a lower rate is not possible, Ms Sanghera said borrowers can ask for other ways on how their lenders can help them.

“If they say they can’t lower the rate, then ask if they can waive the annual fee instead,” she said.

Buying a home or looking to refinance? The table below features home loans with some of the lowest interest rates on the market for owner occupiers.

Update resultsUpdate
LenderHome LoanInterest Rate Comparison Rate* Monthly Repayment Repayment type Rate Type Offset Redraw Ongoing Fees Upfront Fees LVR Lump Sum Repayment Additional Repayments Split Loan Option TagsFeaturesLinkCompare
6.04% p.a.
6.06% p.a.
Principal & Interest
Featured Online ExclusiveUp to $4k cashback
  • Immediate cashback upon settlement
  • $2000 for loans up to $700,000
  • $4000 for loans over $700,000
5.99% p.a.
5.90% p.a.
Principal & Interest
  • A low-rate variable home loan from a 100% online lender. Backed by the Commonwealth Bank.
6.14% p.a.
6.16% p.a.
Principal & Interest
  • Find out your loan eligibility in 2 minutes or less
  • Complete your application in less than 20 minutes
  • Low fees and fast approval times
5.95% p.a.
5.95% p.a.
Principal & Interest
5.94% p.a.
5.95% p.a.
Principal & Interest
Important Information and Comparison Rate Warning

Base criteria of: a $400,000 loan amount, variable, fixed, principal and interest (P&I) home loans with an LVR (loan-to-value) ratio of at least 80%. However, the ‘Compare Home Loans’ table allows for calculations to be made on variables as selected and input by the user. Some products will be marked as promoted, featured or sponsored and may appear prominently in the tables regardless of their attributes. All products will list the LVR with the product and rate which are clearly published on the product provider’s website. Monthly repayments, once the base criteria are altered by the user, will be based on the selected products’ advertised rates and determined by the loan amount, repayment type, loan term and LVR as input by the user/you. *The Comparison rate is based on a $150,000 loan over 25 years. Warning: this comparison rate is true only for this example and may not include all fees and charges. Different terms, fees or other loan amounts might result in a different comparison rate. Rates correct as of .


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