Is Australia’s mortgage market in good health?

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It’s boom time for property markets in Sydney and Melbourne – but how healthy is the mortgage market which underlies it all?

According to Genworth’s annual survey, the overall health of the market was rated positively by consumers and industry professionals alike.

The Home Grown: Mortgage Industry Perspectives report identified a number of underlying contributors for the market’s good health.

These included:
  • The RBA’s cash rate setting
  • An appropriate mix of funding sources
  • Robust competition between lenders
  • Government policy
  • A level of consumer debt that was not cause for concern
Genworth COO Bridget Sakr said there was general agreement that APRA’s current regulatory position struck the right balance between responsible lending and access to housing credit.

However, it was also acknowledged that rate rises or a correction in property prices could change the assessment, she said.

“But industry experts predict stable interest rates over the next year and believe factors such as population growth and supply constraints may put a floor underneath property prices over the short term.”

Sakr said there was consensus that first homebuyers were finding it increasingly difficult to enter the housing market.

“Concerns around market access for first homebuyers highlight the value of low deposit options such as Lenders Mortgage Insurance,” she adds.

Sakr said first homebuyers only comprise 10.5% of all lender originated loans and 18.9% of all broker originated loans.

Meanwhile, the entry of supermarkets into the sector was flagged as likely to have the biggest impact on the mortgage market.

Sakr said that, in comparison to last year, the potential influence of online competitors and superannuation funds on the market had been downgraded.

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