Equifax’s latest Quarterly Consumer Credit Demand Index for the March 2021 quarter shows auto loan applications rose by 3.7% compared to the previous March quarter in 2020.

That's by far a more positive change compared to the 15.3% fall Equifax recorded in September 2020 and the 2.8% quarterly drop in December. 

This follows other recent trends showing car sales and purchases are recovering, after new car sales saw record monthly declines during the early pandemic months. 

According to recent Australian Bureau of Statistics data (ABS), Spending on cars skyrocketed 31.8% to end the year, the largest increase ever recorded. 

Equifax's data shows demand for auto loans grew in every state bar Tasmania and the ACT.


In the market for a new car? The table below features car loans with some of the lowest fixed and variable interest rates on the market.

Lender

VariableNew1 year
More details
  • Available for purchasing new and demo vehicles
  • $5,000 to $150,000 loan amount
  • Redraw facility available up to $5000/day
  • Required: Good credit history, stable employment history. Aus citizenship or PR.

New Car Loan - Home Owner Special

  • Available for purchasing new and demo vehicles
  • $5,000 to $150,000 loan amount
  • Redraw facility available up to $5000/day
  • Required: Good credit history, stable employment history. Aus citizenship or PR.
FixedNew99 years
More details
Loan amounts from $2k to $75k
  • Available for any new motorised vehicle
  • No ongoing or early exit fees
  • 1-7 years loan terms. Pay monthly, fortnightly, or weekly
  • Get quick decision. Funds in 24 hrs if approved
Loan amounts from $2k to $75k

New Car Loan

  • Available for any new motorised vehicle
  • No ongoing or early exit fees
  • 1-7 years loan terms. Pay monthly, fortnightly, or weekly
  • Get quick decision. Funds in 24 hrs if approved
FixedNew1 year
More details
Approval within 24 hoursEarly payout available
  • Required: Good credit history, stable employment history. Aus citizenship or PR.
Approval within 24 hoursEarly payout available

New Car Loan - Special (Fixed)

  • Required: Good credit history, stable employment history. Aus citizenship or PR.
Important Information and Comparison Rate Warning

All products with a link to a product provider’s website have a commercial marketing relationship between us and these providers. These products may appear prominently and first within the search tables regardless of their attributes and may include products marked as promoted, featured or sponsored. The link to a product provider’s website will allow you to get more information or apply for the product. By de-selecting “Show online partners only” additional non-commercialised products may be displayed and re-sorted at the top of the table. For more information on how we’ve selected these “Sponsored”, “Featured” and “Promoted” products, the products we compare, how we make money, and other important information about our service, please click here.

The comparison rates in this table are based on a loan of $30,000 and a term of 5 years unless indicated otherwise. The comparison rates for car loans and secured personal loans for the relevant amounts and terms are for secured loans unless indicated otherwise. The comparison rates for unsecured personal loans are applicable for unsecured loans only. WARNING: This comparison rate applies only to the example or examples given. Different amounts and terms will result in different comparison rates. Costs such as redraw fees or early repayment fees, and cost savings such as fee waivers, are not included in the comparison rate but may influence the cost of the loan. Comparison rates are not calculated for revolving credit products.

Monthly repayment figures are estimates only, exclude fees and are based on the advertised rate for the term and for the loan amount entered. Actual repayments will depend on your individual circumstances and interest rate changes. Rates correct as of April 16, 2024. View disclaimer.

Overall, credit demand fell by 14%, despite some categories recording an increase in applications. 

That's still a better result than previous quarterly index figures, which recorded a 21.9% and 30% decline in December and September 2020 respectively. 

Home loan demand up nearly a quarter

Perhaps unsurprisingly given recent property market news, demand for mortgages grew 23.5% in the first three months of the year compared to the same time in 2020. 

Every state and territory recorded sizeable increases, with the smallest belonging to Victoria at 15.2% growth:

  • NT (+50.5%)
  • WA (+48.6%)
  • QLD (+33.4%)
  • ACT (+31.5%)
  • SA (+25.9%)
  • NSW (+24.5%)
  • TAS (+18.4%)
  • VIC (+15.2%)

According to Equifax General Manager Advisory and Solutions Kevin James, the market is showing a shift to asset-based lending, with mortgages and auto loans proving more popular than liabilities like credit cards and personal loans.

“Ultra-low interest rates are enticing more people into the market, but (are) also an incentive for homeowners to refinance in the quest to find a better rate,” Mr James said

Australia's median house price hit a new record high of almost $900,000 in March, and Equifax's demand index typically coincides with higher prices. 

Buying a home or looking to refinance? The table below features home loans with some of the lowest interest rates on the market for owner occupiers.

Lender

Variable
More details
Online ExclusiveUp To $4K Cashback
  • Immediate cashback upon settlement
  • $2,000 for loans up to $700,000
  • $4,000 for loans over $700,000
Online ExclusiveUp To $4K Cashback

loans.com.au – Variable Basic Cashback Home Loan (Principal and Interest) (LVR < 70%)

  • Immediate cashback upon settlement
  • $2,000 for loans up to $700,000
  • $4,000 for loans over $700,000
Variable
More details
Apply In Minutes
  • No application or ongoing fees. Annual rate discount
  • Unlimited redraws & additional repayments. LVR <80%
  • A low-rate variable home loan from a 100% online lender. Backed by the Commonwealth Bank.
Apply In Minutes

Unloan – Variable Rate Home Loan LVR < 80%

  • No application or ongoing fees. Annual rate discount
  • Unlimited redraws & additional repayments. LVR <80%
  • A low-rate variable home loan from a 100% online lender. Backed by the Commonwealth Bank.
Variable
More details
Unlimited Redraws
  • No annual fees - None!
  • Get fast pre-approval
  • Unlimited additional repayments free of charge
  • Redraw freely - Access your additional payments when you need them
  • Home loan specialists available today
Unlimited Redraws

ubank – Neat Variable Home Loan (Principal and Interest) (LVR < 60%)

  • No annual fees - None!
  • Get fast pre-approval
  • Unlimited additional repayments free of charge
  • Redraw freely - Access your additional payments when you need them
  • Home loan specialists available today
Important Information and Comparison Rate Warning

Base criteria of: a $400,000 loan amount, variable, fixed, principal and interest (P&I) home loans with an LVR (loan-to-value) ratio of at least 80%. However, the ‘Compare Home Loans’ table allows for calculations to be made on variables as selected and input by the user. Some products will be marked as promoted, featured or sponsored and may appear prominently in the tables regardless of their attributes. All products will list the LVR with the product and rate which are clearly published on the product provider’s website. Monthly repayments, once the base criteria are altered by the user, will be based on the selected products’ advertised rates and determined by the loan amount, repayment type, loan term and LVR as input by the user/you. *The Comparison rate is based on a $150,000 loan over 25 years. Warning: this comparison rate is true only for this example and may not include all fees and charges. Different terms, fees or other loan amounts might result in a different comparison rate. Rates correct as of April 16, 2024. View disclaimer.

Buy now, pay later sees an increase 

Buy now, pay later (BNPL) applications increased by 3.7% annually in the March 2021 quarter, despite following a 13.2% decline in the previous quarter. 

Every state except for Tasmania and Victoria saw an uptick in BNPL demand, with New South Wales seeing a 7% rise.

However, those two states still saw a recovery on the last quarter.  

  • NT (+123.5%)*
  • NSW (+7.0%)
  • SA (+6.5%)
  • QLD (+5.3%)
  • ACT (+2.8%)
  • WA (+2.0%)
  • TAS (-1.9%)
  • VIC (-1.3%)

*Low volumes. 

“Demand for BNPL continues to come from Generation Y and Generation Z, but there are signs this cohort may have reached saturation," Mr James said. 

The younger generation – Generation Z – may soon catch up as they accounted for 26% of total applications.

"The lowest share remains with the baby boomer generation, not unsurprisingly since many are in retirement."

Since December 2020, the BNPL market has seen new entrants such as Commbank BNPL and PayPal Pay in 4 to rival traditional powerhouses Afterpay and Zip

Related: Why buy now, pay later is so popular with millennials.

Personal loans, credit cards still struggling 

Every single state reported a decline in personal loan and credit card applications, which fell by 14.5% and 28.9% annually in the March quarter respectively. 

These falls are smaller than the previous quarter (32.3% and 39.5%), but still mean these lending categories have now fallen for seven consecutive quarters (12 for credit cards). 

“Despite signs that the market may be moving towards post-COVID recovery, credit card demand continues to decline," Mr James said. 

"The reduced economic activity in Victoria from their second lockdown didn’t help, but ultimately a change in consumer behaviour is pushing credit cards out of favour."

Victoria recorded the lowest demand for credit cards at -30.9%, while the ACT had fewest personal loan applications (-25.4%). 


In the market for a personal loan? The table below features personal loans with some of the lowest interest rates on the market.

Lender

FixedUnsecuredN/A
More details
Loan amounts from $2k to $75k
  • No ongoing or early exit fees
  • 1-7 years loan terms. Pay monthly, fortnightly, or weekly
  • Get quick decision. Funds in 24 hrs if approved
Loan amounts from $2k to $75k

Low Rate Personal Loan Unsecured (Excellent Credit)

  • No ongoing or early exit fees
  • 1-7 years loan terms. Pay monthly, fortnightly, or weekly
  • Get quick decision. Funds in 24 hrs if approved
FixedUnsecuredN/AN/A
More details

Unsecured Personal Loan (Excellent Credit)

    VariableUnsecuredN/AN/A
    More details

    Personal Loan

      Important Information and Comparison Rate Warning

      All products with a link to a product provider’s website have a commercial marketing relationship between us and these providers. These products may appear prominently and first within the search tables regardless of their attributes and may include products marked as promoted, featured or sponsored. The link to a product provider’s website will allow you to get more information or apply for the product. By de-selecting “Show online partners only” additional non-commercialised products may be displayed and re-sorted at the top of the table. For more information on how we’ve selected these “Sponsored”, “Featured” and “Promoted” products, the products we compare, how we make money, and other important information about our service, please click here.

      The comparison rates in this table are based on a loan of $30,000 and a term of 5 years unless indicated otherwise. The comparison rates are for unsecured personal loans only for the relevant amounts and terms. The comparison rates for car loans and secured personal loans are for secured loans unless indicated otherwise. WARNING: This comparison rate applies only to the example or examples given. Different amounts and terms will result in different comparison rates. Costs such as redraw fees or early repayment fees, and cost savings such as fee waivers, are not included in the comparison rate but may influence the cost of the loan. Comparison rates are not calculated for revolving credit products.

      Monthly repayment figures are estimates only, exclude fees and are based on the advertised rate for the term and for the loan amount entered. Actual repayments will depend on your individual circumstances and interest rate changes. Rates correct as of April 16, 2024. View disclaimer.

      Personal loan interest rates have seen some major decreases by big lenders recently, including Westpac and NAB, to try and entice customers back. 

      For credit cards meanwhile, American Express has launched a new 'cash back' card it calls the best in the market, but the trend away from these products continues. 

      Credit card debt accruing interest fell by 25% throughout 2020, and the number of cards in circulation dropped 7%. 

      Photo via Flickr