Borrowers less gloomy on housing

by Adam Smith21 May 2012

Borrowers are becoming more optimistic, and their confusion surrounding mortgage products represents an opportunity for brokers.

The Commonwealth Bank and MFAA Home Finance Index has revealed that borrower sentiment toward the property market is improving. The index found that households were at their highest level of confidence in a year, with 51.7% saying now was a good time to buy a home. Though the number may seem somewhat low, the MFAA pointed out that it was up from 36.1% six months ago.

The MFAA said the rebound in confidence had been driven by flat property prices, coupled with growing rates of saving. Rising rents also have two-thirds of potential first homebuyers re-evaluating the idea of buying rather than renting.

However, though sentiment may be up, buying intentions still appear weak. Only 17.2% of potential first homebuyers intend to enter the market sometime in the next 12 months, while 69.2% said they would hold off out of concern for servicing higher debt and the fear of future job redundancies.

Should buyers begin to move back into the market, the complexity of mortgage products could drive many toward brokers. Nearly half of respondents said they were uncertain about what mortgage product would best suit their needs. There has been a slight decline in the number of first homebuyers who say they will seek the advice of a broker, however, down to 32.5% from 34.6% in September 2011.