Mortgage Rate Arrangement Simplified?

When looking for a mortgage, it’s essential to understand the different products that are available so you can be sure you get the right one for you. Lenders offer different interest rate options and this will affect your monthly payments. So choosing the right deal could save you money.

With so many product choices available it is essential you get professional indepenedent advice.

Types of mortgage products available:

Standard Variable Rate Mortgage

With this mortgage, your payments will go up and down as the lender’s standard variable rate goes up or down. Usually any changes in the lenders variable rate will be in line with movements in the Bank of England base rate. The Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee reviews this rate on a monthly basis.

Is it right for me?

Yes – if you can afford to pay more when mortgage interest rates go up and want to take advantage of lower payments if rates fall.

No – if during the early years you would be unable to cope if repayments increased because of rising interest rates.

Base Rate Tracker Mortgage

This is similar to a variable rate mortgage. But the interest rate will go up and down exactly in line with any changes in the Bank of England base rate. Your mortgage payments will go up and down too as the interest rate changes. The tracker period is usually for a specified time, which can be from one year up to the lifetime of the mortgage loan. At the end of the tracker period, your mortgage interest rate will change to the lenders standard variable rate. This product may carry an early repayment charge.

Is it right for me?

Yes – if you want to be sure your mortgage rate falls by the same amount as the Bank of England base rate falls, but the drawback is the mortgage rate also rises in step when the base rate increases.

No – if you find yourself locked into a rate above the base rate, which may be higher than the standard variable rate.

Fixed Rate Mortgage

Your mortgage interest rate is fixed for a set period only, during which your mortgage payments will stay the same. At the end of the fixed rate period, your mortgage interest rate will change to the lender’s standard variable rate. Fixed rate mortgages are usually available for between one and ten years, however they can be available for longer periods depending on market conditions. This product may carry an early repayment charge.

Is it right for me?

Yes – if you need to budget with certainty for the next few years, or you think mortgage interest rates will rise, or both.

No – probably not if you think mortgage interest rates will fall.

Discounted Rate Mortgage

The lender offers a discount off their standard variable rate for a set period, normally one or two years. Your mortgage payments will still vary in line with changes in the standard variable rate. At the end of the discount period, your mortgage interest rate will be the same as the lender’s standard variable rate. This product may carry an early repayment charge.

Is it right for me?

Yes – if money is tight when you first take out the mortgage, but you’re confident your income will increase.

No – if you won’t be able to cope if interest rates rise later on, increasing your payments.

Capped & Collar Rate Mortgages

With a capped rate mortgage the interest rate can go up or down in line with movements in the lender’s standard variable rate, but cannot go above a set upper limit, known as the ‘cap’ or ‘ceiling’. This type of mortgage can also have a set lower limit, known as the ‘collar’. For these mortgages the interest rate can move between these limits but cannot fall below the collar or go above the cap. This product may carry an early repayment charge.

Is it right for me?

Yes – if you like to budget with some certainty, think mortgage interest rates might rise above the cap, or you want the security of knowing your payments cannot rise above a set level and would like to benefit from any fall in interest rates.

No – if your mortgage adviser can find a fixed rate set at a lower rate than the capped rate, and you think rates are unlikely to fall below the level of the fixed rate deal.

Cashback Mortgage

The lender pays you a cash lump sum after completion, which you can use for any purpose. This product may carry an early repayment charge.

Is it right for me?

Yes – if you need a cash lump sum, for example to do up your home, or you expect the cashback to more than compensate for any rises in interest rates during the period when an early repayment charge may apply.

No – if you can manage without a cashback now and can get an alternative deal.

Remember your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage.

Online Mortgages: Online Mortgage Applications and Obtaining Low Mortgage Rates Online

Mortgage Loans

There are several different types of mortgage loans. Some of the main types of amortized loans represent the adjustable rate mortgage and the fixed rate mortgage. Many mortgages are available online as well as online mortgage quotes.

Fixed Rate Mortgage

Fixed rate mortgage interest rate and the monthly payment is always fixed for the duration of the mortgage loan. Some of the common mortgage terms are 10, 15, 20, and 30 years. In the recent years some lenders have been offering terms that are amortized for 40 and 50 year mortgage terms.

Adjustable (Variable) Rate Mortgage

Adjustable or variable rate mortgage interest rate is fixed for an agreed period of time. After the expiration of this time, it will periodically adjust upwards or downwards according to market index levels. Those indices include the Prime Rate, the London Interbank Offered Rate, and the T-Bill (Treasury Index).

Mortgage Rates : Bad Credit Good Credit Game

Lenders refer to the borrowers’ credit reports and credit scores when approving a mortgage application. The better (higher) the score, the better rates a borrower can obtain. Lower credit scores, however mean higher risk to the lender, therefore mortgage lenders will require higher interest rates in order to compensate for the increased risk.

Balloon Type Mortgages

A balloon, or partial amortization loans are the ones in which the mortgage monthly payments are calculated over a certain period of time. The outstanding principal balance is payable at by the end of the mortgage term. This type of payment of the principal is also called a balloon payment. A balloon mortgage loan can either be of fixed or an adjustable interest Rate.

Online Mortgage Applications and Obtaining Low Mortgage Rates Online

Mortgages online can typically be obtained at lower online rates. Many people save thousands of dollars when applying for a mortgage online or when getting an online mortgage quote.

Mortgage Rates

So my 12 year old daughter asks, “Why is it that any time there is good news about the economy they also say that there is pressure on mortgage rates to rise? Why does the good news also mean bad news?”

A fair question in my opinion. Scan the headlines – “Jobless Numbers Down – Pressure on Mortgage Rates”, “Promised Tax Cuts may see increase in Mortgage Rates”, “Third Successive Quarterly Economic Growth figures see Mortgage Rates set to Rise”. Then, of course, there are other factors totally out of our control which can also affect mortgage rates such as the recent global liquidity and credit crisis emanating from the US economy.

Mortgage rates are influenced by the official interest rate or Target Cash Rate as set by the Reserve Bank. When the Reserve Bank changes the official rate and in turn, mortgage rates, it is attempting to influence expenditure in the economy. When expenditure exceeds production, inflation results. Therefore mortgage rates are used as a tool to control inflation as a part of monetary policy.

Higher mortgage rates affect borrowers’ cash flows and reduce the amount of money that consumers are able to spend on goods. Lower mortgage rates have the opposite effect. And because lower mortgage rates mean that people have more to spend it puts pressure on prices due to increased demand it puts further inflationary pressures on the economy.

In the dizzy days of the late 1980s inflation was rampant and mortgage rates peaked at 17% per annum. The high mortgage rates severely limited housing affordability. Since those days governments and the Reserve Bank have tended to micro manage the economy to avoid major peaks and troughs. Small increases in mortgage rates, although politically unpopular, are an effective means of stabilising the economy. A little research into the history of mortgage rates in this country will reveal that, at current levels, they are still relatively low.

It should be noted, however, that when we talk about mortgage rates we are generally referring to “nominal” mortgage rates (as nominated in loan contracts, advertising etc). Economists, on the other hand, talk in terms of “real” mortgage rates. So what is the difference between nominal and real mortgage rates? Real mortgage rates take into account the effect of inflation so that Real Mortgage Rates = Nominal Mortgage Rates minus Inflation Rate.

In 1989 when the nominal mortgage rate was 17%, inflation was running at approximately 8% per annum. Therefore the real mortgage rate would have been 9% per annum. Today nominal mortgage rates are approximately 8% per annum and inflation is running at around 2% per annum so that the real mortgage rates are 6% per annum.

In fact if we research real mortgage rates in Australia over the last 25 – 30 years we find that they have hovered within 2% per annum and 10% per annum, compared to nominal mortgage rates which have been between 6% per annum and 17% per annum over the same period. Obviously it is much sexier for politicians to spruik about massive reductions in nominal interest rates.

So in summary, to answer my daughter, an occasional little pain with mortgage rates may lead to a huge gain in the overall scheme of things.