Debt Management

GEARING

Investors taking advantage of negative gearing tax breaks drive property prices higher

John Collett Property investors taking advantage of Australia's tax system are helping to drive up property prices and shutting out first-time home buyers.

GET FINANCE FIT

How to survive the first year of the mortgage

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Christine Long It can be tough, but some planning can help you survive the first 12 months in your own home .

DEBT'S THE WAY

Debt that's good, debt that's bad

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Christine Long There are different types of debt. Some drag you down, while others can give you lift-off.

INSIGHT

Debt policy? Better wait than never

Clancy Yeates No one likes missing out, but getting caught on the wrong side of a downturn would be worse.

Get a step up with your mortgage

Up the rungs: Do your homework to climb the housing ladder.

Mark Bouris With a bit of homework and a willingness to bargain, people can save money on their mortgage and get ahead.

BORROWING

First-time property buyers in Sydney and Melbourne need to be careful

The property market is running hot with a large number of auctions in Sydney and Melbourne.

John Collett Sydney and Melbourne property prices still show no signs of peaking.

Mortgages

Don't fall for the mortgage traps

A helping hand: Glenn and Danielle Waterson were delighed wit the deal their mortgage broker secured for them.

David Potts Lender's insurance can cost thousands and actually protects the bank, not the borrower writes David Potts.

DEBT-FREE?

Kiwi expats face arrest on student debt defaults

Leaving is easy, coming home is hard, especially if you've not repaid your student loan

John Collett Kiwis living in Australia who are overdue with repayments could be arrested on returning to New Zealand.

INSIGHT

RBA keeps the brakes on - or does it?

Clancy Yeates Rates are getting better if you are in debt, but less favourable for people with savings in the bank.

TIP OF THE WEEK

Time to cut back debt, not lock in more

Up and down: Interest rates can go up as well as down.

Catherine Robson Rates won't stay low forever - so pay off your debt while you can.

BORROWING

Plan ahead when buying first home

Mark Bouris dinkus.

Mark Bouris When interest rates are low, house prices usually rise and first-home buyers can feel shut out of the market. But all is not lost when sticking to a few simple tips: 

CREDIT REPORTS

Do you know your credit history?

Mark Bouris Credit reports are a fact of life if you want to borrow money and they can be really helpful, so learn how they work and start planning.

OFF THE PLAN

Developments for the early bird

Couple reviewing blueprints property

Emily Chantiri Early investment in a new property development can be a wise financial move.

ASK NOEL

Once bitten, should I shy away from buying?

Which way now?: Investors with a bit of cash to spend are best served by doing some thorough research on the areas where they are looking at property.

Noel Whittaker I am in no rush to buy back in, however feel that the longer I wait, the further the market is getting away from me.

FIRST HOMES

Loan the best way to lend offspring a hand

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Picture  by ISTOCK

Max Newnham Buying a first home is difficult for many young people. There are a number of ways parents can help.

BORROWING

Special rates aim to lure you in

Know the difference: It's important to know  the true, long-term costs of a loan before committing to it.

Mark Bouris There’s something of a home loan ‘'rate war'’ going on at the moment, which can be great for borrowers. But it also creates pitfalls for the unwary.

GETTING STARTED

Cheaper to rent than buy? The debate continues

Property costs: the costs of owning a house are estimated to be higher than those of renting.

David Potts A recent paper suggested renting a home is now cheaper than buying. But it's not that straightforward.

BORROWING

Lenders' mortgage fees rise

BALANCING ACT: Borrowers should do a review every so often to make sure their mortgage is still competitive with other lenders.

John Collett Home buyers are urged to shop around to ensure they're getting the best possible deal.

Fixed mortgage rates tumble but watch for fees

Fixed mortgage rates.

John Collett CBA, NAB and Westpac cut interest rates on some of their fixed-rate home loans this week, including slashing their five-year fixed rates to 4.99 per cent.

BORROWING

Offset accounts can save you thousands

Mark Bouris dinkus.

Mark Bouris When they're used properly they can accelerate the paying-down of the mortgage.