COVID-19 Resources Guide
COVID-19 continues to transform our daily lives and routines. We will keep you informed so you can make the best decisions about your mortgage and finances.
Mortgage Assistance Plans
Whether you’re currently having difficulty making your mortgage payment or simply trying to plan ahead, your lender likely has a Mortgage Assistance Plan in place. Since March 2020, Australian lenders have provided deferred payments to over 800,000 Australians.
How COVID-19 Mortgage Assistance Works
If you’re unable to make your repayments due to COVID-19, you can enroll in a ‘repayment deferral’ program to pause your mortgage repayments for up to 6 months.
Note: While your repayments are on pause, the interest expense will continue to accrue.
So if you aren’t in financial distress, it’s best to continue paying your mortgage payments for as long as you can. This will help you pause your payments later when you need it most.
Paying what you can now benefit you later by decreasing the amount due (and therefore total interest) at the end of your loan term.
If you have a variable rate loan, you can usually make full or partial payments at any time. Just log onto your online banking and make a transfer.
At the end of your six-month deferral, you will be eligible for an extension of up to an additional four months. A deferral extension of up to four months will not be automatic. It will be provided only to those who genuinely need some extra time.
During this time, you will be expected to work with your bank to find the best solution to restructure or vary your loan. Options may include:
- Extending the length of the loan
- Converting to interest-only payments for time
- Consolidating debt
- Reducing interest rates
- A combination of the above and other measures.
If during or at the end of any deferral, you continue to be severely financially impacted and are unable to make repayments, you will be assisted through your bank’s hardship process to determine the best long-term solution for your circumstances.
In regards to credit reporting, if you recommence repayments on your existing loan or enter into a new repayment plan, your credit report will not be impacted, provided you meet the new repayment plan. If your bank grants you an extended deferral period your credit report will not be affected either.
Also during any period of payment deferral, you will be unable to apply for any further lending whether that be refinancing an existing mortgage, cash-out equity, or a new home loan.
To get help now, you can apply for assistance online through your lender’s dedicated COVID-19 support hub.
I have a property purchase or refinance in progress. Will Odin Mortgage still be able to settle my loan?
Yes! Even though stay-at-home orders are in effect across many parts of the world, our mortgage process is mostly digital to deliver the mortgage experience you deserve while keeping you safe.
What if a valuer is supposed to come to inspect my property?
In many cases, the banks are now able to offer alternatives to in-person valuations. Such as property inspection waivers, off-site valuations, automated desktop valuations, and drive-by valuations. This replaces the in-person valuation requirements on many loans should that area be under lockdown.
Early release of superannuation
Separate to mortgage assistance, under the Australian Government’s COVID-19 financial assistance plan, you will be able to access up to $10,000 of your super tax-free.
Since March 2020, more than 2.5 million Australians have applied for the first batch of early release payments which was available up until 30th June 2020 and has since closed.
From 1st July until 24th September 2020 those in financial hardship will have another opportunity to access up to another $10,000 tax-free.
How COVID-19 Early Release of Super Works
To be eligible, you must have seen your income drop by at least 20 percent or are now unemployed.
How long does the early release of Super take?
Before you act, be wary that you may be much poorer for it at retirement age if you decide to tap into your retirement savings now. (assuming you’re not taking that money to re-invest elsewhere.)
Since March 2015, the average 5-year annualized rate of return of industry super funds ranged between 4-9% p.a. approximately. See the chart below.
A 30-year-old accessing the full $20,000 early super, could forgo anywhere from 4-20x ($80,000 – $400,000) the price in lost super at retirement. And sadly, most people who helped themselves of the initial $10,000 batch were under the age of 40.
Note: Market volatility may have already significantly hurt your super balance this year.
Where can I get more information on COVID-19 in Australia?
Starting A New Loan
Things are shifting rapidly, but one thing that will never change is our commitment to giving you the best mortgage experience.
Even in countries where stay-at-home orders have taken effect, we can guide you from application to settlement while keeping you and your family safe.
Under the Guiding Principles of the Banking Code of Practice, the Australian lenders, together with the Australian regulators (APRA & ASIC) will continue to provide support to those affected by COVID-19.
As the situation changes, we’ll update this article with the latest information.