Borrowers are starting to realise that loyalty to banks is not always the best way to get a good deal on a home loan, says 1300HomeLoan managing director, John Kolenda.
A survey carried out by the aggregator found property owners refinancing to get a better deal on their mortgage have been the major source of housing finance activity so far in 2013.
The poll of 237 1300HomeLoan brokers found 59% believe refinancing has been the primary source of enquiry this year, while 29% have had most enquiries come from first home buyers.
Only 6% nominated investors as most active and another 6% singled out self-employed borrowers.
Kolenda says it’s a ‘healthy’ development to see more borrowers shopping around for a better home loan deal.
"Australians have traditionally been loyal to their banks, but since the GFC the lending landscape has changed dramatically and people are realising there can be a price to pay for loyalty.”
He says in the current, highly competitive lending environment there can be more than 1% difference between variable mortgage rates on offer and similar variations with fixed rates.
"Home owners on an average $400,000 mortgage can save thousands of dollars a year if they can be bothered switching lenders to get a better home loan deal, so it is encouraging to see more borrowers looking to refinance.
Kolenda says almost a third of brokers surveyed have seen a surge of enquiry from first time buyers, who largely went quiet in the latter half of 2012 as a suite of state-based grants for that sector ended.
"First time buyers have been reluctant to dip their toe in the market despite the RBA regularly lowering interest rates during 2012. More rate reductions will be needed to entice first home buyers back."