Mortgagees shed GFC jitters

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Australia’s largest mortgage broker processed more home loans in August than in any time since March 2009, according to figures published on the weekend. 

The latest AFG Mortgage Index, which normally has its findings reflected in ABS figures published six weeks later, showed that the company processed $3bn in mortgages over August. This was an increase of 10% on July figures and a 7.4% increase on figures for August 2011. 

The index revealed that the proportion of new borrowers choosing fixed interest rates rose from 16.8% in July to 19.9%, as one in five new mortgage holders choose to lock in rates. 

AFG general manager Mark Hewitt cautioned that August is traditionally a strong month for mortgages as property buyers come out of hibernation, but said the results were still positive. 

“What’s different about this year is that borrowers have remained relatively active during the winter months – July was also a very strong month for us. There is a sense that conditions for property buyers are quite positive in terms of pricing and affordability,” he said. 

The proportion of mortgages processed for investors in New South Wales was the highest in the country, accounting for 44.7% of all new home loans in the state over August. The next strongest state for investors was Queensland with 36.6%. 

The reverse trend was true for first homebuyers. This group was most active in Western Australia, where they accounted for 20.7% of new home loans, compared to 17.7% in Victoria, 13.4% in South Australia, 13.1% in New South Wales and 13.0% in Queensland.

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