Arrears will stay low in mid-2021 given home price rises: Fitch

The growth in arrears isn't due until the second quarter of the 2020-2021 financial year

Arrears will stay low in mid-2021 given home price rises: Fitch
Arrears will stay low in mid-2021 given home price rises: Fitch

Australia's 30+ day mortgage arrears will rise in the second quarter of the 2021 after only a small rise in the last quarter of 2020 as expected, Fitch Ratings says in a report.

Fitch expects losses to stay low due to the recovery in home prices.

The 30+ day arrears in 4Q20 rose by 2bp to 1.01% from the previous quarter, as borrowers struggling with the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic continued to take up payment deferrals offered by Australian lenders. 

The agency reported it does not expect the Dinkum RMBS index to "increase significantly" until the payment deferral periods ends on 31 March 2021.

The banking regulator has advised that deferrals do not need to be treated as arrears. 

Dinkum transactions had 1.7% of borrowers under payment deferrals at end-4Q20, 310bp lower than the previous quarter. 

Conditional prepayment rates for transactions issued by non-bank lenders have recently increased to 23%, significantly above those issued by banks, likely due to borrowers refinancing to take advantage of low fixed-interest rates offered by some banks.

Fitch expects prices to continue rising, supported by record low mortgage rates, along with a lower supply of housing stock and government incentives for housing, particularly for first-home buyers.

Losses in RMBS transactions from the sale of collateral property were the lowest in the last decade, with lenders' mortgage insurance payments and excess spread being sufficient to cover principal shortfalls in all transactions during the quarter. 

Fitch's Dinkum RMBS Index tracks arrears and performance of mortgages underlying public Australian prime RMBS.

Jonathan Chancellor

Jonathan Chancellor

Jonathan Chancellor is one of Australia's most respected property journalists, having been at the top of the game since the early 1980s. Jonathan co-founded the property industry website Property Observer and has written for national and international publications.

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