In the era of COVID-19 and record-low interest rates, Aussie Home Loans brokers have highlighted key localities where they are seeing the most refinance and new sales activity.
Nathan Misell, principal of Aussie Mount Barker, has noted that the Adelaide Hills is seeing a flurry of activity from refinancers and first home buyers alike.
“Despite the challenging economic conditions faced by everyone, we are finding a strong level of inquiries from first home buyers, refinancers and downsizers who have spent the lockdown period rethinking their current position,” Mr Misell said.
“With my customer base, there has been a strong level of refinancing activity, with mortgage-holders who have had older loans with rates above 4 per cent enquiring about loans with a combination of a low variable and fixed rates in the 2 per cent range,” he added.
Mr Misell said that there are a range of first home buyers – mainly professional couples in their 20s – seeking to secure a property in one of several housing developments in Adelaide Hills, while he has seen a trend of customers in their 30s seeking to refinance.
He added, “I believe the Adelaide market is generally stable with minor price fluctuations and our customers are more comfortable in committing to a property price and a mortgage, without the fear of a market plunge.
“However, lately we have noticed that there has been more attention being paid to fixed rates as they are very low, and our customers want more certainty of repayments while also holding part of the mortgage at a variable rate with redraw and offset facilities,” Mr Misell said.
Meanwhile in Victoria, residents of Sunbury have been reaching out to brokers to assist in claims of hardship and mortgage deferrals throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, while others commit to buying a new property or refinancing their current home loan under new economic conditions.
Franchisee of Aussie Sunbury Mary McKenna said, “We are committed to helping our existing customers who have found themselves affected by COVID-19 and are seeking direction regarding deferrals and options to reduce their repayments.
“Over the past few weeks, I have seen an increase in inquiries and it appears customers are checking in to see how they are placed in this current environment, with some looking to take advantage of the current low rates, while others are potential buyers.
“In our position as mortgage brokers, we are helping customers navigate the current confusing environment, including the banks’ evolving lending policies and how they will deal with JobKeeper income,” she added.
Renee Diane Taggart, franchisee of Aussie Morayfield in Queensland, has also been helping a range of “new and existing” local customers explore their options during the COVID-19 lockdown, including loan deferral requests.
“Our team has seen an influx of inquiries and is now dealing with approaches about taking advantage of the lower rates in both fixed and variable rate loans, as well as the various incentives like cash rebates offered by some lenders,” Ms Taggart said.
“We are receiving calls from a wide range of customers, from existing borrowers to first and next home buyers on the hunt for a better home loan deal. Fixed rates are especially popular as some lenders are advertising rates as low as 2 per cent.
“Many of our existing customers are interested in refinancing their mortgages in a local property market that remains steady, despite the headwinds being felt in capital cities,” she concluded.
Cutting through the confusion or refinancing found that more than two-thirds (69 per cent) of mortgage-holders believe now is a good time to refinance their home loan as the coronavirus pandemic places financial pressure on households in meeting their mortgage repayments.
It also found that more than three-quarters of respondents (78 per cent) are confused about what refinancing is. Just over a fifth (22 per cent) were able to identify correct examples of refinancing without also choosing incorrect examples.
Aussie CEO James Symond said that over the last month, 42 per cent of appointments with an Aussie broker were related to refinancing, “indicating that during uncertain times, there are options available and consumers want a broker to investigate if they have the right home loan for the current market conditions”.
“With COVID-19 placing households under pressure to meet their mortgage repayments, the RBA recently dropping the cash rate to a historical low of just 0.25 per cent and increasingly competitive products and rates, mortgage-holders recognise there are opportunities to get a better deal,” Mr Symond said.
Hannah Dowling is a journalist for The Adviser and Mortgage Business.
Prior to joining Momentum Media, Hannah worked as a content producer for a podcast catering to property investors. She also spent six years working in the real estate sector at a local agency.
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