HOMEOWNERS STEP UP AS INVESTORS EXIT
Australian Finance Group (ASX: AFG) has today released its Mortgage Index for the final quarter of 2015.
Investors have continued their retreat from the market with the latest figures showing investor lending had fallen from 40% of total loans processed early in the calendar year to 31% in the last quarter. Gains in both refinancing (36% to 38% of total loans) and upgrader (30% to 35%) categories led to a 7% lift in the total number of home loans processed by AFG for the December quarter compared to the same lending period in 2014.
The figures were led by upward swings in Victoria of 17.69% and New South Wales at 12.23% with a surge in South Australia of 13.41%. These positive results offset a flat market in Queensland at 0.85%, and a decline in the Northern Territory -21.7%, in a comparatively smaller market. WA dipped, -9.55% reflecting a cooling housing market in that state.
AFG General Manager Sales and Operations Mark Hewitt said the final quarter of 2015 painted a fitting picture of the year that was. “2015 was a year of adjustment for both borrowers and lenders. A shift in requirements for lenders set down by regulators saw many changes to lending policy and interest rates resulting in a level of confusion amongst borrowers. This has made the role of the broker even more important for Australians looking to buy homes.
As foreshadowed by AFG’s Competition Index late last month, the number of people keen to fix their loans is on the rise. A long period of low interest rates has many people predicting an upward swing may be on its way in 2016.
As the year drew to a close fixed rate lending lifted by nearly 3% to 14.2% of the product mix. This figure, as a percentage of AFG’s overall volume saw its first increase since the final quarter of 2013.