Wellington Property market

Should I Refinance my Home Loan?

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By Kylie Cassidy and Brendon Ojala


With the banks competing for new customers and offering cash incentives, the temptation to switch banks can be rife. Brendon and Kylie ask if the switch is really worth it.


The first thing to note if you’re considering refinancing is that you should consider much more than just interest rates. The actual costs can vary depending on whether you have existing loans that are still fixed. There are also the non-monetary factors like finding a bank that better suits your needs or has a superior service level. These are all things to consider.


Turning to your mortgage broker for advice should be your first step as they can help you work out the pros and cons, in the meantime, here are four factors to get you thinking:


1. Does the bank suit my needs?


Consider the bank’s products and whether they will suit your current needs. Do you want to be able to make lump sum payments without penalty? Do you want a large revolving credit account? Or perhaps an offset product where you can use the funds across savings accounts to offset the interest on your mortgage?


2. Don’t get hung up on lower interest rates


Lower interest rates aren’t the be-all-and-end all, and often some smart budgeting coupled with the right mortgage structure can give you more than then a 0.2 per cent decrease in interest rates. We will of course, work hard to get a competitive rate from the bank, but it’s in this finer detail where your mortgage broker can add real value.


3. Making the switch can be messy


If you’re offered a cash incentive to move banks, chances are you’ll need to move your banking across to them. This means changing your APs, direct debits, salary and so on. Some banks do offer a “switching service” to make the process easier, but you may need to keep your existing account open with some cash in it, to cover any repayments or direct debits you may have forgotten about.


4. Costs of switching


Below are some costs to consider:


·         Potential break costs at your current bank (anywhere from zero to tens of thousands!)

·         Lawyers fees (approx. $1000-$1500)

·         Cash contribution claw backs (if your current bank offered you a cash contribution, if you move banks within a certain time frame—between two and four years—they reserve the right to ask for this cash back.

·         Discharge fees ($100-$150)


The new bank may offer you some cash to offset the above costs, however, it’s important to consider all of the above. The “best bank” offering the lowest rates changes all the time, so it’s important to consider your needs long term. 

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Kylie Cassidy and Brendon Ojala are Registered Financial Advisers with Velocity Financial. No investment decision should be taken based on the information in this blog alone. A disclosure statement is available free of charge upon request.

Anyone confused about the Wellington housing market?

Lance provides a metaphorical weather report on Wellington’s turbulent property climate.


There was a time in Wellington when slow and steady would win the house-purchasing race. Back then there were no sudden spikes in house prices, 3000 people weren’t joining you on a Sunday trekking from open home to open home, and you didn’t have to go “all in” to purchase.

So, where is the climate at now? What is it like out there today in July 2017?

Well, let’s start by painting the picture back in mid-2015 when it seemed there would be no slowing down of Wellington’s rapidly increasing house prices. Everything was fast pace. Unconditional offers were all but essential. For some, these were exciting times, for others, soul-destroying, as people were smashed out of the park with what seemed to be “crazy prices”.  

So what could stop or even slow that frantic market? How about some good old Kiwi earthquakes? At the end of 2016, the earthquake(s) caused house insurances to become a little complicated. People started calculating the cost of the damage and this seemed to be the moment that the housing frenzy took a breather.

Then enter 2017.

Now the market is a little confused. Certainly less of a frenzy than before the earthquakes, but most houses are still going for good money, most are still getting multiple offers, and there are some exciting building developments around our region. Add to all this, our dogged belief that Transition Gully is the answer to all of Wellington’s problems and we live in a 2017 that still has a current shortage of stock (properties to purchase) and a mass of people wanting to buy.

So how do you become one of those who successfully buys in 2017? Well, those who are ready to go “all in” are still more likely to win. And if you are wishing to purchase, the Civil Defence moto stands true, “Be prepared.”

So when you find the right place to buy and you want to hit the ground running with your bid, be sure to give us a bell so we can help get your financial ducks in a row.


Lance Shearman is a Registered Financial Adviser with Velocity Financial. No investment decision should be taken based on the information in this blog alone. A disclosure statement is available free of charge upon request.