Rate cuts halt rising fixed rate demand

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Variable rate cuts put a stop last month to rising demand for fixed rate home loans, according to new home loan approval data from Mortgage Choice.

The mortgage broker’s home loan figures show that after four consecutive months of rising appetite for fixed rate home loan products, borrower’s interest in the more conservative loan type tapered off in December to 20.14% of new home loan approvals, down from 22.37% in November.

Falling below the 12-month average of 21%, fixed rate loan popularity decreased in the majority of states, by an average of 4.26 percentage points, but rose in Queensland by 4.12 percentage points.

Mortgage Choice spokesperson Belinda Williamson says fixed rates have fallen out of favour in December for the first time in five months as recent variable rate cuts gain the attention of of new borrowers.”

December home loan data shows a rise in demand for variable rates to 79.86% from 77.63% in November.

“While fixed rate home loans continue to offer piece of mind with a steady repayment level, a variable rate home loan that has the potential to shift down in price is proving more attractive. Borrowers may also be heeding the advice that there may be more cuts to come, particularly as recent media reports suggests some lenders may cut their home loan rates out of cycle with the Reserve Bank of Australia’s cash rate setting and as soon as next month.”

Williamson says 2013 presents a great opportunity for borrowers who have “done their homework” and who have been waiting and watching to enter the property market.

The data shows that ongoing discount rate loans remained the loan of choice, amounting to 41.16% of all new home loan approvals in December.  

Demand for basic variable rate home loans rose by 1.75 percentage points to 17.71%, while standard variable rates were relatively steady dipping by only 0.12 percentage points to 16.78%. Line of credit loans rose slightly to 3.26%, while introductory rates dropped marginally to 0.95%

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