Borrowers taking advantage of falling interest rates

Borrowers taking advantage of falling interest rates
Joel RobinsonDecember 7, 2020

Borrowers refinancing are at the highest levels in three years, according to data released by the ABS.

They're taking advantage of the lower interest rates, with a 7.7 per cent jump in the value of new homes loans being refinanced.

Owner-occupiers lead the charge, posting an 8.4 per cent jump in value, the highest value of refinanced loans since September 2016.

There was a surprise to see a drop in the number of loans to first home buyers over the month, down 0.7 per cent.

Sally Tindall, research director at, said the increase in refinancing activity came on the back of the June and July rate cuts.

“The first two rate cuts have clearly encouraged borrowers to sit up and take notice of their home loan rates.

Borrowers taking advantage of falling interest rates
Source: Westpac

“We expect this trend will continue as refinance applications, that are still in the pipeline, are settled.

"The most recent cash rate cut, and the decision by most banks not to pass it on in full, is also likely to spur more refinancing activity."

There are suggestions the loosening of serviceability is starting to effect the market. 

Despite the value of owner-occupier loans soaring, the number of new loans for owner-occupiers rose just 0.7 per cent, suggesting there are bigger loans being approved as opposed to a large uptick in number of loans.

Westpac's Matthew Hassan said the 0.7 per cent rise in owner-occupier loans was considerably softer than the consensus forecast of a 2.3 per cent gain, however he noted approvals have risen 5.9 per cent from their April low.

Borrowers taking advantage of falling interest rates
Source: Westpac

Approvals are still down -5.1 per cent over the year.

Investors are well and truly back in the market. The 5.7 per cent increase in value of investor loans over August puts the value of loans approved up 10 per cent over the last two months, adding to the 4.2 per cent rise in July.

The values however are still 13 per cent lower than they were a year ago.

Mortgage Choice chief executive Susan Mitchell said the growth in demand from investors is unsurprising given the factors which may be positively impacting their appetite.

"The result of the Federal Election took the potential removal of property tax concessions off the table," Mitchell said.

"“Things are looking up for investors with the election now behind them, and the threat of negative gearing changes gone. 

Borrowers taking advantage of falling interest rates
Source: Westpac

"As a result, once cautious investors may have been encouraged to put their buying plans in action. 

“Policy and pricing on investment loans are now much more favourable," Mitchell added.

"Investor rates have continued to tumble, in many cases further than owner occupier rates.

"This, combined with the relaxing of APRA’s serviceability requirements means the market is looking increasingly appealing for investors."





Joel Robinson

Joel Robinson is a property journalist based in Sydney. Joel has been writing about the residential real estate market for the last five years, specializing in market trends and the economics and finance behind buying and selling real estate.

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