Look at hidden costs, not just rates

Consumer Affairs Victoria has urged home buyers to look beyond the low interest rates if they are to consider property ownership.

While the current rate environment can be tempting for many consumers, it's worth looking carefully at the long-term costs, director of Consumer Affairs Victoria, Claire Noone, said.

“There’s more to calculating how much you can afford than just looking at current interest rates,” said Noone.

“Carefully assess your financial situation and desired standard of living, including any likely future changes, such as starting a family and interest rate rises," she said.

“You should also take into account costs such as conveyancing fees, loan establishment fees, stamp duty, GST and building inspection fees.”

An analysis of the latest Census data, carried out by CommSec, found Melbourne's growing suburban fringe were among the LGAs with the highest number of mortgaged properties in Australia. In fact, five of the top 10 were in suburban Melbourne.

This included the cities of Melton, Casey and Wyndham, and the shires of Nillumbik and Cardinia.

“Using online tools such as loan simulators and getting independent financial advice could help avoid any nasty surprises,” said Noone.

Jennifer Duke

Jennifer Duke

Jennifer Duke was a property writer at Property Observer

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