Nearly 70 per cent of Australians have experienced a challenge in the home loan process, with more than a quarter saying they are delaying buying a home because of it, new research has found.
According to Aussie’s new Cutting through the Home Loan Crap report, of the 2,079 Australians surveyed by Lonergan Research between 28 June and 7 July 2019, 70 per cent of respondents described the home loan application process negatively.
More than two-thirds (68 per cent) of Australians stated that they had experienced a challenge whilst trying to get a home loan, with more than half (53 per cent) citing challenges relating to the application process itself.
Issues with the process included “a long, tedious process”, “too much red tape/paperwork” and “feeling unsure of which home loan was suitable”.
Opaque pricing, time to approval, and length of time to send or receive documentation were also commonly cited challenges faced by mortgagors as were problems relating to seeing or contacting a representative from the financial institutions for their home loan (22 per cent). Moreover, just under a fifth said they “never knew where they stood”.
Overall, 40 per cent of respondents said the home loan application process was “stressful”, 30 per cent said it was “a waiting game”, 28 per cent believed it to be “overwhelming”, while just under a quarter (24 per cent) found it “confusing”.
Respondents also said they found it difficult, “seemingly endless”, painstaking and “rigid”, leading to feelings of anxiety, apprehension and worry.
In comparison, just 34 per cent of respondents believe the process to be positive.
Buyers delaying home purchases
The survey found that, despite the RBA cutting the official cash rate to a new record low in June and given softening house prices, 29 per cent of Australians are delaying a home loan purchase because of the home loan process.
More than half (55 per cent) of young adults (Gen Z) said they had put off home buying because the home loan application process is daunting, compared to one in 10 Baby Boomers.
Moreover, 69 per cent of home owners stated that while they knew they should review their refinancing options, it just seemed too hard.
Mortgage ‘myths’ compounding the problem
Notably, more than half (58 per cent) of experienced home buyers said they were still not sure as to what documents banks need to assess during the home loan application process – with 47 per cent of respondents believing that banks needed to check tax returns during the process.
The issue seems to be compounded by misinformation and “mortgage myths”, the report found.
Sixteen per cent of respondents said they had received strange or quirky advice from someone about applying for home loans, with half (52 per cent) of the myths relating to the size of the deposit needed. Some respondents said they had been told that they did not need a deposit to get a loan, while a third (33 per cent) said they had been told they needed a 20 per cent deposit, and others outlined that they had been told they needed a 50 per cent deposit.
Other “myths” included being told that “fixed interest loans don’t exist”, “you can only get a home loan direct from a bank” and “women are high risk for home loans because they tend to get pregnant”.
Interestingly, while more than half of Australians state they have received home loan advice from friends and family, only 37 per cent said they trusted it (compared to 44 per cent for third-party professionals).
Just under half of respondents (47 per cent) said they were confident in their ability to get a home loan, while a third of those that had been through the process before said that they were not confident in their ability to get a home loan now.
The research found that 87 per cent of Australians believe it is important to know that someone is across all the current regulations, procedures and processes, while four in five seasoned home buyers, such as investors, believe a mortgage broker makes getting a home loan easier.
The findings could be a calling card for brokers, the chairman of Aussie, John Symond, suggested, given that many of the barriers to accessing mortgages appear to be challenges that brokers can help borrowers overcome.
Indeed, as previously reported, the vast majority (84 per cent) of borrowers said they believed there were benefits to using a “home loan expert (e.g. mortgage brokers)” throughout the home loan process, largely due to their knowledge of bank processes and legislation, understanding of “how to get the process done faster” or because “they know the way to get [the borrower] the best deal”.
As previously highlighted, 68 per cent of Australians agreed that using a mortgage broker makes getting a home loan easier, with younger adults (Gen Z, Millennials and Gen Y) more likely to agree that brokers make the mortgage process easier than their older counterparts.
Given the findings, Aussie is now launching a new advertising campaign aimed at demonstrating that mortgage brokers can help simplify the “mortgage mumbo jumbo”, dispel any myths, and do the heavy lifting for Australians in securing a loan.
Mr Symond continued: “The last two years have brought sweeping changes to regulations around lending, making it more important to talk to an expert.
“A broker can help guide you through the application process and are across the constant change in regulations and lender policies.”
Annie Kane is the editor of The Adviser and Mortgage Business.
As well as writing about the Australian broking industry, the mortgage market, financial regulation, fintechs and the wider lending landscape – Annie is also the host of the Elite Broker and In Focus podcasts and The Adviser Live webcasts.
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