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Fixed vs. Variable Rate – What to Choose

Published on December 7th, 2020
  Written by 
Bill Tsouvalas
Bill Tsouvalas is the managing director and a key company spokesperson at Savvy. As a personal finance expert, he often shares his insights on a range of topics, being featured on leading news outlets including News Corp publications such as the Daily Telegraph and Herald Sun, Fairfax Media publications such as the Australian Financial Review, the Seven Network and more. Bill has over 15 years of experience working in the finance industry and founded Savvy in 2010 with a vision to provide affordable and accessible finance options to all Australians. He has built Savvy from a small asset finance brokerage into a financial comparison website which now attracts close to 2 million Aussies per year and was included in the BRW’s Fast 100 in 2015 as one of the fastest-growing companies in the country. He’s passionate about helping Australians make financially savvy decisions and reviews content across the brand to ensure its accuracy. You can follow Bill on LinkedIn.
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Choosing the right home loan can help you save thousands of dollars. Thus, it is important to concentrate on comparing and contrasting home loans and rates to determine which one meets your individual requirements, before making your decision.

We recommend you consider your current work situation, your regular monthly income, possible future changes such as getting married or starting your family, your future income or salary – is there the possibility that your monthly income grows? – and the possibility of selling the house in the future. All these are important aspects you should thoroughly take into consideration before deciding what to opt for.

Fixed rate home loans

A fixed home loan rate means you can establish a certain fixed interest rate. Thus, whether the interest rate falls or rises, you will have to pay the established fixed rate. Let’s see what are the main advantages to opting for a fixed rate home loan.

  • You can benefit from knowing exactly the repayments you will have to make, as well as the possibility of establishing your interest rate for a longer amount of time.
  • Opting for fixed rate home loan will make it easier for you to budget your future finances – you know the exact sum you need to pay.
  • If the rate rises above your paying interest, that won’t affect you in any way – you’ll be paying the fixed rate, which is less than the variable rate, so that’s a plus.

Now let’s take a look at the main disadvantages that come with choosing a fixed rate home loan.

  • If the interest rate decreases, you will be paying your fixed rate that is more than the variable rate. Thus, you won’t be able to take advantage of the rate decrease.
  • You won’t be able to benefit from making unlimited repayments. Still, this might be a viable option if you choose to pay an additional fee.
  • In case you decide to alter or pay off your fixed home loan, you will be required to pay for additional break fees and penalties.

Variable Rate Home Loans

A variable rate, as its name already indicates, is the rate that may either rise or drop during the period of the loan, depending on a wide range of factors such as the official interest rate. This official interest rate is established by the Reserve Bank of Australia. So, the main disadvantage that comes with this option is that the rates fluctuate, and they might increase month by month. So, you don’t have any certainty regarding the sum of money you have to pay every month.

But what are the benefits? Let’s discover them in the following paragraphs:

  • You can benefit from a wide range of extra options such as flexibility, repayment holidays and introductory rates.
  • If you have the ability to make extra repayments that will aid to shorten the life of the loan, you can opt to do that, without having to pay for any additional fees.
  • You have the withdrawal option, be it the case you need money.
  • The savings in your transaction account can contribute to decreasing your loan balance.

To sum up, you should weigh the pros and cons of both home loan options and consider which one is more suitable to your financial condition. If you are unable to decide between the two choices, maybe you should think of talking about your finances with a professional.

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This guide provides general information and does not consider your individual needs, finances or objectives. We do not make any recommendation or suggestion about which product is best for you based on your specific situation and we do not compare all companies in the market, or all products offered by all companies. It’s always important to consider whether professional financial, legal or taxation advice is appropriate for you before choosing or purchasing a financial product.

The content on our website is produced by experts in the field of finance and reviewed as part of our editorial guidelines. We endeavour to keep all information across our site updated with accurate information.

Approval for home loans is always subject to our lender’s terms, conditions and qualification criteria. Lenders will undertake a credit check in line with responsible lending obligations to help determine whether you’re in a position to take on the loan you’re applying for.

The interest rate, comparison rate, fees and monthly repayments will depend on factors specific to your profile, such as your financial situation, as well as others, such as the loan’s size and your chosen repayment term. Costs such as broker fees, redraw fees or early repayment fees, and cost savings such as fee waivers, aren’t included in the comparison rate but may influence the cost of the loan. Different terms, fees or other loan amounts may result in a different comparison rate.

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