Mortgage sales increased by 18.8 per cent in May as investors took advantage of softer market conditions according to the latest report from mortgage broker AFG.
While May is traditionally a strong month for sales before the quieter winter period, AFG Mortgage Index figures showed surprising strength, after a natural disaster-hit first quarter and subdued figures for April. Total mortgage volume for May was $2,517 million – only 1.7 per cent lower than the figure recorded for May last year ($2,561 million).
Victoria and New South Wales saw the biggest month on month upswings in mortgage volumes, increasing by 27.2 per cent and 23.3 per cent respectively. Both states also had the highest proportion of investment loans with 38.8 per cent of loans in Victoria and 37.9 per cent of those in New South Wales, processed for investors.
May also saw a surprise increase of investment loans in Queensland, up to 36.5 per cent – its highest such figure for well over a year. Mark Hewitt, General Manager of Sales and Operations said that property investment has remained at consistent levels throughout the ups and downs of the property cycle, but strengthened significantly in May.
“It is certainly a buyer’s market right now and investors looking at rising yields are probably better insulated from the impact of rising interest rates than other types of buyers”, Mr Hewitt said. Refinancing remained steady at 36.8 per cent despite higher levels of competition between lenders, and the abandoning of exit fees by many.
Non-major lenders captured greater market share than in recent months, with 19.6 per cent of all mortgages processed in May for non-major lenders. These were best supported by First Home Buyers, 22.9 per cent of whom chose a non-major, and least supported by investors, (17.0 per cent), probably indicative of established relationships with major lenders.
The proportion of fixed rate loans rose slightly to 8.4 per cent from 6.4 per cent in April as more buyers chose to lock in rates.
Source: Quartile Research www.quartileresearch.com.au