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Shave a tonne off your mortgage

With the Reserve Bank serving up a rate cut, it's a smart move to keep your repayments at the same level. Many lenders don't automatically reduce your repayments when rates fall.

That doesn't mean, of course, that you're not getting a cut in interest rates – just that your weekly or fortnightly (or monthly, but don't pay monthly, it will cost you more in the long run, as explained below) repayments stay the same.

That's smart because automatically you're paying an extra $45-$60 (or whatever it equates to on your mortgage) a month, which will see you get out of the debt-jail sooner.

And with house prices stagnant or falling, the one smart way to make money out of your property is pay it off more quickly and reduce the overall cost of acquiring it.

It has, of course, always been the best way to do things. Ask any pre-baby boomer and they will tell you that.

But in the heady debt-fuelled days of recent past it seemed too easy that you could buy a place, sit it out, burn up the redraw facility on the loan on cars, clothes and overseas holidays, and still double your money in a decade. However, after such big run-ups in house prices, everything has softened and we're not likely to see similar increases in home prices anytime soon.

Not that a slowing housing market is necessarily bad – despite the general pall it throws over things. Investors may want those days to return but most people can see that steady prices are a lot healthier.

Houses, after all, are primarily for living in. There are other money-making vehicles out there that don't put the cost of basic shelter out of the average person's reach.

And the slowing housing market also – in part – took the pressure off the Reserve Bank to keep hiking rates after last year's Melbourne Cup.

When it comes to the cost of acquiring a home, you can do it the expensive way – borrowing the money (as most of us have to do), or the really, really expensive way (borrowing money and taking forever to pay it off).

Read full article at The Age Domain: http://news.domain.com.au/domain/blogs/talking-property/shave-a-tonne-off-you...:rainbow1_07_11_11