Refinancing Will Be The Next Big Thing
As the banks dial back investor lending to meet the speed limit set by APRA, owner occupied loans are becoming the focus. Within that, we are already seeing very attractive refinance deals – including low rates and cash backs. One lender has announced a 4.19% home loan variable rate for owner occupiers, with an LVR 80-85% LMI refund offer for new owner occupier home loans and $2000 cashback for owner occupiers purchasing or refinancing their own home.
We think refinancing, will become the centre of attention, so the latest findings from our household surveys include detailed analysis of the dynamics of refinancing households. There are around 535,000 owner occupied households in our refinance segment, plus 134,000 who are investors, and 3,300 who have property in a SMSF account. This is a significant number. The latest monthly transaction data from the ABS shows a lift in refinancing, and we think this will continue as investment lending tightens.
First we look at underlying drivers. The most significant reason to consider a refinance is to reduce monthly repayments with 40% of households considering refinance looking for lower rates. The recent rate reductions for such deals will help stoke the market. We also see a rise in those looking to refinance to facilitate withdrawing capital thanks to recent house price gains. The capital is being used for a range of activities, including paying off credit card debt, paying for renovations, a holiday, or a wedding. For many, this makes economic sense, as interest rates on a mortgage are lower than short-term finance. However, it lifts the LVR and raises household debt, not necessarily without risk. Some will fix a rate, but more are thinking rates may go lower yet, so are preferring to go for a variable rate. Not a bad call in the current conditions.
Looking at the refinance drives across the loan value, we see that those with the largest loans are most likely to release capital, and those with loans between $250-500k most likely to seek to reduce monthly payments, and also will reset a fixed term loan.
Larger loans are more likely to be refinanced to interest only, whereas smaller loans are more likely to be principal and interest refinancing,
Finally, those seeking to refinance are most likely of any segment to use a broker in the transaction. So brokers need to be honing their refinancing discussion (having spend the last few months focussing on the investment sector).