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Athena Home Loans: Variable Refinance Owner Occ P&I 3.34% (3.30% CR), Investment IO 3.84% (3.74% CR)

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Hey fellow OzBargainers. In response to the RBA dropping their cash rate by 0.25% today, Athena has passed on the full rate decrease to both their existing and new customers.

Effective immediately, this rate drop brings Athena’s rates to one of the lowest on the market at 3.34% p.a for owner occupier, principal and interest and 3.74% p.a. for investors. At this stage Athena is doing refinances only.

Variable rates are:

Owner Occupier Principal & Interest: 3.34% / 3.30% CR
Owner Occupier Interest Only: 3.84% / 3.49% CR
Investor Principal & Interest: 3.74% / 3.70% CR
Investor Interest Only: 3.84% / 3.74% CR

Loan features:
- No application, ongoing or exit fees.
- Annual loyalty bonus.
- Automatic rate-match: If Athena ever drops the rate for new customers, these lower rates will be passed on automatically to existing customers.
- Fee-free redraw.
- Speak to Australian home loan experts 7 days a week.
- Maximum LVR: 80%
- Min/max loan size: $100,000/$2,000,000

Related Stores

athena.com.au
athena.com.au

closed Comments

  • +2 votes

    Just got two investment properties across onto Athena and would recommend the process - worked pretty well.

    •  

      What documents did they require?

      Looked at TicToc, they require 58 pages returned, plus ZipID check, plus witnessed signatures, plus adding of their bank on Certificate of Commerce (insurance).

      Looking for a simplified version.

      • +2 votes

        Sorry to say but Athena will be much the same. Zipid, signatures, the works. If you find one that doesn't deal with all that, let us know!

      •  

        Yeap, - pretty much the same process with both companies.

        They require everything as you would expect a provider will ask - 3-4 months worth of docs uploaded to their portal. Make sure you are accurate with expenses as if you use their automated login expenses collection process, check what it summaries as it was way off and duplicated for me which delayed things.

        Both had friendly staff

    • +4 votes

      Want to refinance our home. How much hassle is involved?

  • +3 votes

    Wow that was quick well done Athena
    Usually takes the big4 take a couple of weeks to pass on the cut.

  •  

    Hi OP, any sign up rebate offer?

  •  
    1. What banking facilities do you use? Ie I am with ing right now and have full app access etc.

    2. Do you have offset accounts?

    3. Can you tell us a little about your company? Never heard of you guys before sorry.

    •  

      No offset. See here.

    •  

      Hey joshuah! Answers to your questions below. Let me know if you have any other q's.

      1. We provide access to your loan through our home hub (app coming in the future). From there you can see your balance and avail amounts, transactions, repayments and loan details. You can setup and make payments out of your redraw. We are releasing new features to the Home Hub on a regular basis and anything you can’t yet do online, you can easily request from our speedy and attentive loan experts who will make any requested changes to your loan if you need to.

      2. We don't have an Offset but we do have a fee-free Redraw! Our Redraw takes the traditional redraw and combines it with the good offset features (and throws out the bad). It makes life easier, avoids the costs of an offset, and pays off your loan faster. By making extra payments you instantly reduce your principal loan balance and the interest you’re charged. Athena reduces the amount of your home loan balance by 100% of the amount in your Redraw.

      3. We launched in Feb this year to change the game for home loans. We want to help Aussies pay off their home loans faster. We’re not a bank and act nothing like a bank. We specialise in home loans, and only home loans. We're not a broker either! We are a digital and direct lender. This means that we manage the end to end experience and make sure what we promise upfront stays true right till you’ve paid off your loan. Some of our big investment backers include Macquarie Bank, Square Peg, Hostplus, Rice Warner, Apex Capital, RESIMAC Group and AirTree Ventures.

      •  

        Do you have any web site that compares Redraw and Offset?

        •  

          Hey Averell, we have a comparison table here: https://www.athena.com.au/learn/redraw (same one that Pab23q linked).

          • +2 votes

            @icedtea229: Offset is better for investment loans is it. It, something about the ATO and tax

            • +4 votes

              @live_1991: Yep, it’s basically if you ever want to convert an owner occupier property into an investment property (even if you don’t plan to, things can change), you basically don’t want to ever pay off more than the minimum loan amount. I can explain in detail if anyone likes, but cash in offset keeps the loan balance high, if it turns into an IP, you can claim interest on that higher amount.

              If, on the other hand, you pay down more of your loan, even if you draw back against it, you can only claim interest as a deduction for the lower amount, cos anything else you draw out of it to buy a new principal place of residence will be regarded as a loan for that property.

              No offset is a dealbreaker for me, and should be standard for any lender.

              •  

                @geoffs87: All true but would be hard for a non-bank to provide an offset bank account

                •  

                  @bmerigan: Yeah I know. Sigh.

                  Most of my mortgage is tied into fixed rates anyway. I got cold feet for the first time in my life about 6 months ago and fixed for security.

                  regret.

                •  

                  @bmerigan: Try Easy Street (Community First). I have a split loan 3.49% v / 3.69 fixed for 3 years.

                  Most importantly, BOTH the variable and the Fixed loans have 100% OFFSET accounts. They actually gave us one extra offset account linked to the variable loan.

                  Thankfully we have paid off half the mortgage, so all funds sit in the 3.69% fixed loan (costing nothing), and we pay on the 3.49% Variable (unless it has now dropped further).

                  If something odd happens and the rates go through the roof, we will move funds into the variable account and only pay 3.69% max.

              •  

                @geoffs87: can you ELI5?

                • +17 votes

                  @dtrinh: I just had to google ELI5, do i’ll do my best.

                  If you own an investment property, any money spent towards keeping that investment can be regarded as an EXPENSE which offsets the INCOME earned. So your profit is reduced if your expenses are higher. You pay less tax on lower profit.

                  The point is, for an investment property, you want to maximise your expenses, to reduce your taxable income.

                  In my example above, say I have a $500k property (which you live in), with a $400k loan. I also have $200k in the offset account. When I want to buy a new property, I want to use that $200k to buy a new house to live in, so the original house becomes an investment property. Once an investment property, the interest expense is deductible, and because the loan never dipped below $400k, I can claim an expense for the interest on the full $400k loan.

                  If I instead paid down that $200k into the redraw, the loan would therefore only be $200k. I can withdraw that $200k back out to purchase the new property, but the ATO sees the withdrawal as cash for the New principal property rather than the investment, so they will only let you claim the interest expense against the lower $200k amount that was owed to the first property before it became an IP.

                  All of this is why investors actually preferred interest only loans (until the rules changed and IO loans rates increased), as it meant they never actually paid off a dollar of principal against the IP, rather move their cash into other investments, or bought more properties.

                  Investors will then sell the properties later and hope for a profit, so their main game isn’t for big rental returns.

                  I actually followed this process over the last 6 or so years, and had an IP that was paying itself off, and also some of my PPOR mortgage, due to the way i’d structured and managed the lending. Wasn’t illegal or wrong, just smart money management.

                  Let me know if that was 5 enough :)

                  • +10 votes

                    @geoffs87: Oh Shiz, forgot to add:

                    Any advice provided is general in nature and does not take into account your personal circumstances.

                    I’m no financial advisor, but would hate for someone to say “geoffs87 said on ozbargain this was the best thing to do”, and it not, you know, be the best thing for you to do…

              •  

                @geoffs87: edit: thanks for the ELI5!

                So is there any difference for owner occupied?

                The last part is what I'm most interested in - Why is no offset a deal breaker? I'm just thinking that if I have no plans to move for at least the next couple of years, is there any major downside to no offset that I'm missing. Especially when there's a redraw available, and regardless I'd think my money is better invested in shares when interest rates are so low?

                Thanks!

                •  

                  @Adamiam: Hey! We might have clicked post at roughly the same time here, but I commented above.

                  Pretty much you’re correct, no great benefits of offset vs redraw for PPOR, but you just never know what circumstances will arise.

                  I’ve seen people be moved for work, people inherit property/cash and it totally change their financial position. You can’t plan for everything, but this simple technique could save you thousands in tax if something does lead you to converting to IP.

                  I personally like the flexibility of an offset, even for my PPOR, but the cash is easier to spend than when it’s against your loan… i’m More about future proofing

                • +3 votes

                  @Adamiam: There's no disadvantage for owner-occupied if you are 100% certain that you will never move without selling.

                  I myself made this mistake when I bought, I took the cheaper loan with a redraw instead of an offset, and now I have a home that I live in, that would make a PERFECT investment property, but if I move, I basically 'have to' sell, because I would end up with a mortgage on a new place that I couldn't tax deduct, and having mostly paid off this one I wouldn't be able to tax deduct the interest here, even if I redraw all the balance.

                  Basically, offsets give owner-occupiers flexibility in the future. If you use a redraw and pay off any amount, and then you move without selling, it will cost you in terms of tax deduction in the future. If you're an investor it also gives you the flexibility to use money in that offset for non-deductible purposes without losing the tax deduction.

                  In my case taking a redraw instead of an offset is potentially a tens of thousands of dollars mistake.

                  •  

                    @jkart:

                    because I would end up with a mortgage on a new place that I couldn't tax deduct, and having mostly paid off this one I wouldn't be able to tax deduct the interest here, even if I redraw all the balance.

                    apologies but would you care to elaborate this part of your comment please
                    thinking to move my first and only one live in home in to IP

                    • +2 votes

                      @countmein: If you buy a property to live in and say, have a $200,000 loan for it, if you then

                      a)
                      - Pay off $100,000 so your mortgage is now $100,000
                      - Buy a new property to live in, for which you need the money from this one, so you redraw the $100,000 to go towards the new property to live in
                      - That leaves you with a $200,000 loan, and you now rent out the property you used to live in.
                      The ATO looks at the $100,000 you redrew as a 'new borrowing' and sees that it was for the purpose of buying a place to live in. So they will only let you deduct the interest incurred against the $100,000. Worse, if you don't have a split loan, any payments you make will reduce the amount you can deduct as well.

                      b)
                      - Put $100,000 in an offset, so your mortgage is still $200,000 but you're only paying interest on $100,000
                      - Buy a new property to live in, for which you need the money from the offset, so you take the $100,000 from the offset and put that towards your new home
                      - That leaves you with a $200,000 loan, and you now rent out the property you used to live in.
                      The ATO looks at that $200,000 as all having been used to buy the now investment property. So you can deduct all of the interest incurred against that loan.

                      In this example having the offset gives you an additional $3,000 tax deduction a year @ 3% interest rates. More potentially if you had more in an offset instead of a loan or rates were higher.

                      If you will absolutely never-ever move without selling your home, then there's not a huge reason for an offset vs a redraw. But a decision when first obtaining the loan can come back to bite you a decade later.

                • -1 vote

                  @Adamiam: The 1 benefit of offset over redraw is an unlikely situation where something happens to your lender. In that situation your loan will be moved to a different lender and the money in redraw will not be made available to you, it will be used to reduce the new loan amount.

      • +8 votes

        is a shame offset or bust for me

      • +3 votes

        Our Redraw takes the traditional redraw and combines it with the good offset features (and throws out the bad).

        Please stop marketing it like this. It does not have all the 'good' offset features, and I'm not sure what the bad ones are if any. A real offset is superior in every way and this marketing could cost your customers tens of thousands of dollars in the future if they believe it. It's bad financial advice.

      •  

        If you could include offset account in this deal, even for extra $ (say 0.05% or $395/y), this deal would be more attractive. But offset account without extra $ would change the game and you'd generate a whole lot of buzz.

  • +1 vote

    https://www.news.com.au/finance/economy/interest-rates/rba-s...

    Athena also mentioned in this article, surprising as i had never heard of them before and now twice in a hour..!

  • +1 vote

    Are splits able to be done?

  •  

    Just got an email from mortgage house offering 3.29%
    https://www.mortgagehouse.com.au/offers/prime-early-bird-rat...

    •  

      My friend is going through refinance with them and said it's been average regarding customer service with no responses to queries post contract

    • +1 vote

      Hey ak-km, a sharp rate from Mortgage House but seems like they won't drop this rate further if RBA makes further rate cuts in the coming months.

      T&Cs: "The variable rate on this loan will not reduce further if the Reserve Bank of Australia reduces the cash rate in the coming months."

      We're also pretty curious to know what rates their existing customers are getting since this is only for new customers.

      •  

        They jack up their rates out of cycle. I know this first hand unfortunately as I am stuck with them. Problem is its too costly to move. If the government could make it cheaper to move these lenders would not get away with it. I am intrigued by your clause that you match existing customers with rates for new customers. I assume that in contract? If you had some sort of sign on bonus to ease the transfer costs I would be yiur newest customer.

        •  

          Hey Lfc5cups, with a lot of lenders dropping their rates in light of the RBA cash rate cut, you might find that you could be saving a lot more on your home loan by refinancing. If you shop around, you can use online calculators to give you an estimated idea of how much you could be saving. Just be careful of rait bait. The savings could work out to offset the costs by a significant amount. We don't have sign on bonuses but we won't charge you fees for switching!

  •  

    Hey Rep, ETA for offerings to buyers? Been following you guys for a while now and curious to see when it's going to be opened up beyond refinancing?

  • +1 vote

    or the ability to accept refinance with more than 1 homeowner in the title.

    • +1 vote

      They must surely be able to accept properties held in joint names.

      •  

        nope,,i tried calling them a month ago and said they are unable to process refinance with 3 people on the title/ mortgage holders.
        They actually suggested for me to contact my current lender and ask them to put it into a single name but i dont think it will work in terms of the borrowing power compared to 3 people on the title.

        •  

          That would be some of the worst advice any lender could give you - if three people on title three people need to be on the loan. To change title to one requires stamp duty to be paid. To suggest that to simplify refinancing to them would be disgraceful. I'm hoping that is not correct.

  •  

    Do you guys do valuation? I'm currently on LMI. Wonder if my property has appreciated enough for me to hit 80% LVR

    •  

      Likely the other way around.

      Mates used to be on 60% LVR are now finding themselves in 70-75% when refinancing. Depending on area.

      "Value" of properties have dropped across Sydney and many people realising "less" equity after refinancing due to decline in valuation.

    •  

      Hey jonchai, our Loan Experts can give you an estimate valuation before you start on your application. Give us a buzz on 13 35 35 or email hello@athena.com.au and one of our Loan Experts will help you out!

      • +1 vote

        Thanks. Will give them a ring tomorrow.

      •  

        Try that and got a response of apply for the loan.

        Seems like a auto bot reply as they did not answer anything I asked

        Randeep Grewal
        Loan Expert

        How do you get though to real people via email, or is that just on the phone?

        • -1 vote

          Hey live_1991, shoot the address and your details to hello@athena.com.au and we can sus out your scenario (including estimated Val) and see if we can get you onboard. Finger crossed!

          No bots here! We have a team of real Australian Loan Experts ready to answer your questions whether you email or call us up.

          •  

            @icedtea229: I did

            Hi Matt,
            Based on your property type and postcode, maximum loan amount to the value of the property percentage we can consider is 80%.
            Actual valuations we do once an application is submitted. As long as you meet our basic eligibility criteria, feel free to apply online on www.athena.com.au

            Cheers,

            Randeep Grewal
            Loan Expert

  • +2 votes

    Anyone able to advise as to why the comparison rate is less than the offered rate?

    • +1 vote

      you get a loyalty discount which takes 0.01% off the rate every year for the 1st 5 years
      Haven't done the maths but i assume that's where it comes from

    • +1 vote

      Hey shifty909, our comparison rates are lower than the variable rates because we don't charge you fees and we give our customers an annual loyalty bonus of 0.01% each year for the first 5 years of their loan for just making their repayments.

  •  

    Hi,
    Could you please expythe difference between "Principal & Interest" (3.34) and "Interest Only" (3.84)
    Thanks.

    •  

      My current rate at CBA is 3.87. By the end of the month it will be 3.62, which is way higher than the 3.34 mentioned here. What are the reasons for not switching?
      Thanks.

      •  

        How are you getting that rate? Even with wealth package, it’s currently 4.02% p&i less .25% when rate cut kicks in

        • +1 vote

          call up once per year for a better rate…maybe wait 10 days

        • +1 vote

          I’m also on 3.87. And tried a month ago for a lower rate stating Athena’s rates. The woman said that we will only match the Big 4. See what the Big 4s drop to and go from there.

      • +1 vote

        Similar boat for me too.
        From what I can see the main reason not to is the lack of an offset account.
        The unlimited redraw without fee mitigates that to an extent, but does mean a lot more manual management of moving money in and out. Or leaving more out of the offset/interest saving so that the money is available for day to day use.

        The lack of fees and passing on of further potential cuts is definitely appealing.

      •  

        Will CBA passed on the full rate cut though?

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