Buying a home is probably one of the most important – and expensive – purchases many people will make. It usually requires a long-term financial commitment in the form of a bond to cover the cost of the home. While most buyers have an idea of how much they can afford to pay each month towards their bond, few realise the importance of putting down a deposit when applying for finance.

According to Carl Coetzee, CEO of BetterBond, a deposit will make a significant difference when it comes to banks deciding whether to approve or decline a bond application. “BetterBond applies to multiple banks on the buyer’s behalf, to secure the most competitive lending rate. A deposit – even if just 10% – will go a long way to securing a better interest rate. Banks certainly look more favourably at an applicant who appears to be a lower lending risk, and paying a deposit suggests that the applicant is able to manage their money.” It also counts in a buyer’s favour when negotiating with a seller, says Coetzee. “Being able to put down a deposit signals intent. Sellers are more likely to consider an offer if they are dealing with a serious buyer.”

Being able to offer some form of deposit will  also have an impact on the gross household income required to qualify for a bond. For a R2 million property, the gross monthly income required for a bond at the current prime lending rate of 7% is almost R52 000. By putting down a 10% deposit, the monthly gross income required for a bond on this property drops to around R47 000, and reduces the monthly bond repayments by just over R1 500. 

With a favourable lending environment created by the historic-low interest rate during 2020, BetterBond reported an 8.9% increase in the size of approved bonds in December, year-to-date, while the average deposit as a percentage of the purchase price dropped by 9.6%.

For first-home buyers, the average approved bond amount increased by almost 10%, while the average deposit dropped by 13.5%. “Buyers are rushing to make the most of the low interest rate, as they can afford to buy 30% more than they could in January last year. However, by putting down a larger deposit, and paying off a bit more each month, they will be able to pay off their bond even earlier.”

“Astute potential homeowners will really interrogate their budgets to see where they can contribute towards saving up for a deposit, without compromising all other essential household expenses,” says Coetzee. Using BetterBond’s pre-approval service gives a potential buyer a good idea of their purchasing power, so that they know how much they can contribute towards the all-important deposit. “By contributing towards the deposit, a buyer will be able to save more over the long term and be in a better position to respond to interest rate hikes in the future,” concludes Coetzee.

The table below shows the potential savings when paying a 10% deposit on a R1 million home, with a prime lending rate of 7%,  8% and 9%. 

Purchase Price Deposit Size of loan Interest rate example % Monthly bond instalment Monthly Saving when paying R100,000 deposit Total bond amount 20 Year saving when paying R100,000 deposit
R1 000 000 R0 R1 000 000 9% R8 997 R2 159 342
R1 000 000 R100 000 R900 000 9% R8 098 R899 R1 943 408 R215 934
R1 000 000 R0 R1 000 000 8% R8 364 R2 007 456
R1 000 000 R100 000 R900 000 8% R7 528 R836 R1 806 711 R200 745
R1 000 000 R0 R1 000 000 7% R7 753 R1 860 717
R1 000 000 R100 000 R900 000 7% R6 978 R775 R1 674 646 R186 071

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