Category Archives for "News"

Aug 10

Update on the Australia Property Market Amidst the Lockdowns

By Shane | News

Amidst the pandemic and lockdowns, frustration and stress, the Australia property market continues to forge on, even as an eventual slowdown is inevitable.

And, as predicted by CoreLogic research director Tim Lawless, the property market that has been on a strong growth path from late 2020 until the autumn season of 2021 has been gradually losing steam. But the keyword here is ‘gradually’, as the market still managed to surprise industry insiders with its performance in recent auction results.

Sydney and Melbourne auction outcomes

Despite the extended lockdowns and COVID restrictions, Sydney’s weekend auction market performed exceedingly well. Stiff competition among buyers has pushed clearance rates up in never-before-seen levels (86.3%) since March this year.

Another positive trend is the lower number of auction withdrawals, which also supports higher clearance levels. However, experts caution that the higher clearance rates in the past weekend also reflect the reduction in the number of listings.

Meanwhile, the Melbourne auction market recorded a lower clearance rate of 64.9%, which is still substantially higher than the 55.1% outcome during the same period last year. This time, listing numbers were also higher compared to the number of lockdown-impacted ones last year.

Lockdown-related market slowdown

COVID restrictions and lockdowns being imposed all across Australia will inevitably impact the property market in the short term. Aside from affecting business operations and eroding consumer confidence, the lockdowns also make it more difficult to schedule inspections and sell property.

In mid-August, the latest wage figures published by the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed an increase in the average weekly earnings for full-time workers, with a 1.7% increase compared to the same time last year. This translates to weekly earnings averaging at around $1,844, or $96,000 per year. Moreover, unemployment rates fell in July 2021.

The problem now, of course, is that whatever gains we experienced earlier, the new spate of COVID outbreaks could disrupt such developments.

This is especially true since 4.160 million Australians were recorded to be working part time as of May this year. Out of this number, there would be part-time workers who opted for this work setup as a matter of choice – such as mums and students who want shorter hours. There will also be others whose working hours were shortened because of COVID.

One silver lining of this, though, is that interest rates are unlikely to be increased until 2024, according to the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA).

On the whole, however, the limited ability of some Australians to work full time will dampen labour market activity and halt or slow down the growth of wages. This, in turn, will impact the ability of some Australians to buy property and the level of activity in the market.

Unsurprisingly, as mentioned earlier, listing numbers are also starting to reduce due to COVID lockdowns – a pattern already being observed in key cities.

Property market still a matter of fundamentals

Even with COVID-19 still around and lockdowns being imposed across the country, industry experts still believe that the fundamentals count the most when it comes to the property market.

Having experienced crisis after crisis, the Australian housing market is expected to withstand and recover – whether it’s a pandemic like COVID or something else.

Also, market fundamentals like demographics, regulations, taxation, affordability, financing, consumer confidence, and supply and demand are the ones most likely to remain and influence the market – the way they’ve always done in the past.

If and when Australian property market prices do fall, it would be such a great opportunity for those who are ready to ride the wave.

Jan 06

ANZ Updated Its Banking Code Provisions

By Shane | News

One of the four major banks in Australia has made revisions on their home lending policy in accordance with the new banking code that was recently implemented.

ANZ has recently updated its co-borrower and financial abuse provisions as provided by the new Banking Code of Practice.

The purpose of their revisions is to address the concerns within the original wording of the declaration forms from which the broking industry stakeholders are worried to impose legal obligations on brokers who are unqualified to assess a borrower’s vulnerability.

Let Us Take A Look The Changes That ANZ Has Made:

The broker must document the details of the substantial benefit if each co-borrower is receiving a substantial benefit from a loan. This applies to the following situation:

  • When the co-borrower will acquire a legal rightful share or a reasonable interest in assets purchased with the loan funds.
  • When a rightful share of the loan funds is used to repay the co-borrowers debts or other obligations owed by the co-borrowers.

If in the case that substantial benefit can’t be proven, some additional questions are required in order to protect a co-borrower.

  • They have stated that all co-borrowers should understand all the involved risks before entering into the loan. Similarly, they should know the difference between being a co-borrower and a guarantor.
  • The co-borrowers should provide reasons why they want to become a co-borrower, and this must be in line with the lending policy.

In addition, ANZ revised its financial abuse declaration form in which a broker’s obligation is to make sure that all throughout their dealings in accordance with the loan application that:

  • None of their applicants has stated that he or she is subject to financial abuse
  • They have not seen anything that they would consider to be a form of financial abuse.

All of the revisions from the ANZ were implemented after the Australian Banking Association, the Mortgage & Finance Association of Australia, and the Finance Brokers Association of Australia have all agreed on a common strategy to identify financial abuse in a co-borrower arrangement.

Dec 19

Canstar Have A New Analysis On The Current Situation Of The Mortgage Market

By Shane | News

The Variable Mortgage interest rates have gone down to 2.89%, this is in line with the monetary policy adjustments of the RBA (Reserve Bank of Australia).

Canstar, a research and expert ratings agency in Australia, have presented a snapshot of the mortgage rate environment in compliance with the RBA’s consecutive adjustments with their monetary policy which predicted that cash rate fall by a total of 50 basis point to a new record low of 1%.

RBA’s main objective why they need to have a back to back cut rates is to encourage the labour market, stating that lower rates could help support the needed growth in employment. The mortgage market promptly responded to the cut rates as they have already implemented it to their home loan clients.

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Dec 19

NAB Last Among The Big Four To Cut Rates

By Shane | News

NAB (National Australia Bank), one of the 4 major banks in Australia, has updated its mortgage serviceability assessment policy.

Their amendment is in response to APRA’s (Australian Prudential Regulation Authority) changes to its home lending guidance earlier this month which allowed banks greater flexibility to set their testing rates after scrapping a minimum of 7% interest for loan applications by up to 2.5%.

With APRA’s easing credit conditions, it is intended to boost the borrowing capacity of many new customers, the RBA (Reserve Bank of Australia) has stated that the conditions in the housing market were gradually stabilizing following a drawn-out property downturn, but noted fall in prices had slowed in some markets and auction clearance rates increased.

NAB has lowered to a minimum of 5.5%, in line with its major peers. its interest rate floor to 5.5% and increased its interest rate buffer to 2.5% which covers all new home loan applications starting August 5.

It is the latest among the 4 major banks to amend it serviceability policy and joining all other competitors, the ANZ (Australia and New Zealand Banking Group), Westpac, and CBA (Commonwealth Bank), Macquarie, MyState Bank, Bendigo and Adelaide Bank, Suncorp, the Bank of Sydney and Auswide Bank.

The new NAB interest rate floor is in line with ANZ’s announcement that they would lower their interest rate floor to 5.5%.

The bank’s announcement has seen it undercut CBA and Westpac as they are the 2 major competitors which dropped their rates to only 5.7%.

At this point, Macquarie holds the lowest interest rate floor of 5.3%, on the other hand, MyState dropped its interest rate floor to only 6.2%.

Dec 18

RBA Made Changes For Their ESA Policy

By Shane | News

What Is ESA (Exchange Settlement Account)?

ESA is an account that all banks should have for the purpose of making payments with each other within the Australian payments system. These Exchange Settlement Accounts are owned by the Reserve Bank of Australia, there must be positive balances and are used to settle debts that have accumulated in the clearing process.

They are also used as a precautionary measure, as the RBA has committed to cover any gaps in payments among the members, this is to ensure the Australian payments system functions all the time.

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Dec 16

Increased Percentage Rate Of First Home Buyers

By Shane | News

A research conducted by CBA (Commonwealth Bank of Australia) has shown that 91% of First Home Buyers are confident that their dream of owning their own home is already within reach.

The percentage came from a total sample size of 1,012 home loan clients, including non-CBA mortgagors. The result from CBA, which gives an outstanding 91% only means that home ownership is now feasible. The research result has a significant difference in comparison to the research result in the previous year, in which 1 out of 5 Australians or 20% have said that home ownership is not feasible.

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