Fixed-rate mortgages in demand

John Kavanagh

The spread of cheaper fixed-rate home loans may have helped lift demand for new loans in September.

Mortgage aggregator AFG reported yesterday that 16.6 per cent of the loans written by its brokers in September were for fixed-rate mortgages. The proportion of fixed-rate loans was up from 9.4 per cent in August and 7.9 per cent in July.

AFG’s general manager of sales and operations, Mark Hewitt, attributed the increase to the return of first-home buyers to the market. First-home buyers accounted for 15.7 per cent of AFG sales in September – up from 13.8 per cent in August.

In New South Wales, first-home buyer activity accounted for 18.9 per cent of sales and in Queensland it was 17.4 per cent.

Hewitt said: “In September, we saw very aggressive competition, with lenders cutting their fixed rate offers. The combination of more realistic property prices and attractive financing options seems to be coaxing first-home buyers and investors back into some markets.”

AFG brokers sold 6687 loans worth A$2.6 billion in September. This was down on the previous month but above the average for the year.

The average loan size was $393,800 and the average loan-to-valuation ratio was 66 per cent.