AFG processed more home loans last month than in any January before, according to new figures. AFG’s Mortgage Index shows that the company processed $2.2 billion-worth of home loans, 24% more than in January 2012, despite the natural disasters in QLD and NSW last month.
AFG has 10% of the total mortgage market and the aggregator says its mortgage index trends ‘usually foreshadow’ ABS figures for each month published six weeks later.
Mark Hewitt, general manager of sales and operations, says borrowers seem to be responding to the combination of a more positive, global economic outlook, lower rates and enhanced affordability.
“These figures build on other statistics published recently showing an uplift in activity in property markets. But we shouldn't lose sight of the fact that first home buyer activity in Queensland and NSW is only one third of the long term AFG average of around 15% of all home loans processed.'
Driving demand were strong levels of activity in WA and NSW. In WA mortgage volumes were somewhat higher than for NSW ($583 million compared to $569 million) with a variety of buyer types including first home buyers, upgraders and investors.
AFG says NSW would have been even stronger, except for the slump in first home buyer demand by about two thirds since the withdrawal of first home buyer grants for established properties last September.
Fixed rate loans fell to their lowest level since August, 2011, comprising 16.3% of all new home loans.
“Non-major lenders managed to claw back some of the gains majors made last month, especially among first home buyers.”