Homeowners face refi challenges as values fall

by AB02 Aug 2018

by Abel Riotar

As many as 15% of surveyed homeowners have faced challenges when trying to refinance, due to falling property prices.

Research conducted by mortgage lender State Custodians, quizzed 1,022 home owners on their ability to refinance in the current climate, as national average home values continues to fall.

According to CoreLogic market data for the month of July, capital city home prices declined by 0.6% and now stand 2.4% lower over the year; it is the largest monthly decline in six and a half years. The national home price index also declined by 0.6% to average a 1.6% decline over the year.  

The figures published by State Custodians also revealed that young people were the most affected, with around 34% of those under the age of 34 saying they’ve been unsuccessful in re-financing because of declining property values.

“Property prices have been stagnating and falling across much of Australia for some time now – especially in the major capital markets of Sydney and Melbourne – which has made refinancing tougher for some,” State Custodian general manager Joanna Pretty said in a statement.

“Anyone who has not yet built up a substantial amount of equity in property or whose property has fallen in value is more likely to be unsuccessful in seeking refinancing,” she added.

However, there is some good news as 29% of respondents said they are confident their property’s value has improved since purchase. Further, 41% of people with mortgages have successfully refinanced their home and experienced no problem getting a better rate as their property’s value increased.

Pretty said that when refinancing, homeowners and investors are often overly confident that their property increased in value.

“Declines in property value are influenced by what is happening in the market and the land value of the area,” she said. She explained that valuation of homes even in good areas can still come back below expectation due to poor property maintenance and upkeep.

Pretty suggested that “it may also be helpful to be present when a valuer visits to point out improvements that may not be immediately apparent, such as solar panels.”


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