The suburbs where mortgage risk is highest
RentTech puts renters' at risk, a chance to own Mercury memorabilia, and the suburbs where mortgage risk is highest (hint: it's not where you think). Here are five things you may have missed this week.
CHOICE sounds the alarm on third-party rental platforms
As if life wasn't tough enough for renters right now, consumer group CHOICE says over two in five renters have been pressured to use so-called 'RentTech' - third-party rental platforms, when they apply for a lease.
According to CHOICE, these platforms not only put tenants at risk of data breaches, they often leave renters lumbered with additional fees - including forking out for the cost of their own background checks.
Worst case scenario, RentTech can see renters excluded from housing.
CHOICE consumer data advocate Kate Bower, explains, "Automated decision-making systems are becoming an increasingly common part of rental application systems."
The Snug platform, for example, produces a 'Match Score' for rental applicants, using the personal information submitted by a renter to indicate their suitability for particular properties.
"A sore lack of regulation in this market means these automated decision-making systems could increase barriers and discrimination for renters, potentially excluding some people from housing," says Bower.
CHOICE is calling for Federal and State governments to protect renters by updating state and territory residential tenancies laws.
Rock n roll royalty up for grabs
It's been over 30 years since Freddie Mercury passed away, but interest in the Queen frontman has never waned, and fans now have a chance to own some of Mercury's prized possessions.
Auction house Sotheby's has announced the September auction of Mercury's collectibles following a series of free exhibitions in the US, Hong Kong and UK.
As a guide to possible prices, the crown and robe worn by Mercury for the rendition of God Save the Queen during his final tour with Queen in 1986, is expected to fetch up to £80,000 - about $151,000.
According to eBay, there are an estimated five million collectors in Australia.
If you can't afford Freddie Mercury's former belongings, it could pay to raid the kids' toy box; the most commonly collected items in Australia are coins and LEGO sets.
Suburbs where mortgage risk is highest
Rate hikes have squeezed households with a mortgage, but a new report by digital conveyancing platform PEXA suggests higher income suburbs could be feeling the pinch more than lower income locations.
PEXA calculated the "mortgage risk" for postcodes across the eastern states as an indicator of how difficult it is for families to meet home loan repayments in the face of rising rates.
In Sydney, the suburbs PEXA ranked highest for mortgage risk are Northbridge, where the average new home loan is worth $2.8 million, followed by Dural and Avalon Beach.
In these neighbourhoods, recent borrowers are likely to require more than 70% of the suburb's median family income to meet increased home loan repayments.
The blue chip inner-east Melbourne suburbs of Balwyn, Balwyn North and Canterbury topped the list for having a very high mortgage risk.
Queensland bucked the trend, with few postcodes in Greater Brisbane ranking highly for mortgage risk - the chief exceptions being Banksia Beach and Sunnybank Hills.
The danger areas in the sunshine state were regional locations, with Noosaville dominating the top-20 most risky postcodes.
One in two have no plans for the afterlife
Australians are ill-prepared for their own demise.
That's the finding of research by Compare the Market, which reveals just one-in-three Australian adults have a will, less than 10% have put money aside for their family in the event of their death, and 52% haven't planned for their death at all.
It's an alarming statistic, given that a basic funeral can cost upwards of $4,000, potentially blowing out to more than $15,000 for some burials.
These costs can be dwarfed by mortgage or rent repayments, school fees for children, or even just the cost of maintaining the lives of those who remain.
Compare the Market's Lana Hambilton believes the findings show that Australians need to reconsider their end-of-life plans.
"It's quite surprising that millions of Australians haven't planned for the end of their life, given the financial impact it could have on the loved ones they leave behind," notes Hambilton.
"Whether it's starting conversations with your loved ones, preparing a will or organising life insurance if the worst were to happen, it's never too early to start planning."
Big banks expand green financing
If you're keen to enhance your home's energy efficiency, and save on power bills, the Commonwealth Bank is increasing the maximum loan size for its Green Loan from $20,000 to $30,000.
The loan, which can be used to fund eco-friendly improvements such as solar panels, electric vehicle charging stations and solar hot water systems, comes with a rate of just 1.99%.
The catch is that you'll need to be a CommBank home loan customer to be eligible for a Green Loan.
Not to be outdone, Westpac is set to launch a new Green Home Loan of its own, with a discounted interest rate.
Westpac Group CEO Peter King says, "We want to encourage customers looking to build a new home to consider more energy efficient designs which could help reduce their emissions and power bills."
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