$120bn of interest-only mortgages to go P&I

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The Reserve Bank of Australia has disclosed that $120bn of interest-only (IO) mortgages will be transferred to principal-and-interest (P&I) loans over the next three years. Given that many borrowers would not qualify to refinance under the stricter lending criteria, many could be forced to pay up to 40% more for their loans.

Regardless of the potential consequences this directive might bring, Australians are not entirely losing their grip on IO mortgages. In fact, a new study from customer-owned Gateway Bank showed a splitting sentiment on the loan type, with 50% of Australians believing that IO home loans are bad, while the other half perceiving them to be good.

The study found that the negative view towards interest-only home loans has increased by 2% year-on-year, echoing recent market movements that imply mortgage holders’ decision to slowly switch from IO  to P&I  arrangements early.

Gateway Bank said that this reflects the current regulatory environment with the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) holding onto its 30% cap on interest-only lending despite lifting benchmarks on investor loans in April.

Paul Thomas, the bank’s CEO, addressed those on interest-only repayment plans and emphasised their need to finalise their financial strategies as soon as possible to minimise shortfalls in their budget.

“The RBA has estimated that for many Aussies, repayments could be set to rise up to 40% as loans roll over to principal-and-interest. This is a significant surge that will surely hit hard for families’ bottom lines, so it’s never too early to start planning for the upcoming increases in repayment obligations. In fact, the earlier the better,” he said.

Earlier this year, RBA also made an announcement on limitations of interest-only lending, in which it estimated that around 30% of all outstanding national mortgage debt will reset from IO to P&I, exponentially hiking the monthly repayments for almost 1.5 million borrowers.

Thomas welcomes the repayment increase, inasmuch as it also presents an opportunity for homeowners to begin building equity on their properties.

“The affordability of an interest-only home loan may be appealing, but Aussies should avoid the trap of extending their interest-only period or refinancing to another interest-only loan, as it will distance them further from financial freedom,” he said. “The earlier you begin to switch to principal-and-interest repayments, the sooner you’ll be able to build up equity on your properties and grow your wealth.”

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  • Interest Only Hero says on 28/11/2018 11:40:43 PM

    I don't like regulators telling me or the market how we should manage our investments or personal finances.
    I.O. loans for investment have a place to play in the market place, especially for investors managing their tax arrangements and cash flow to improve their return on investment, which is no different that investors in other asset classes, business owners or pensioners trying to maximise their government benefits.
    There are to issues around the I.O. Vs P&I loans that a lot of commentators are mixing up, one is cash flow and the other is equity.
    It is acceptable to have one loan I.O. and have another P&I, while concentrating on paying down the P&I loan and maintain the balance on the I.O. loan. There are a number of reason for doing this, one is for tax planning, others could be for estate planning, future development, personal preference or family reasons.

    Something else to keep in mind, when borrowers pay back their loan with P&I repayments, the lender (banks) receive a higher monthly income or a higher return on their investment, the money they lent you on your loan.
    So is there another motivation for forcing borrowers to convert to P&I loans.

    An obvious consequence of these credit restrictions is they will put many families, average mum and dads into financial hardship.

  • Margaret says on 30/11/2018 09:42:55 AM

    I like your response. I am on a pension. My IO loan has enabled me to be able to meet my basic needs and feel confident about it to a degree. This doesnt include anything more than minor home maintenance. With principle and interest only i am unable to cover the cost of food utilities rates and medical. The rental market is too high for those on a pension to maintain. I am hoping to find work. I am over 65.

  • rafa says on 19/12/2018 11:47:48 AM

    It looks like io loans will be easier to get again now...

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