The latest lending indicators data shows Australian owner occupier mortgage sizes grew by $4,242 in one month.
The average owner occupier mortgage size, in original terms, was $481,790 in January, up from $477,548 according to the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics' (ABS) data.
While there was a pullback in the number of owner occupier loans written - after a December rush due to HomeBuilder being scaled back in January - the average mortgage size continues to grow.
ABS data also shows that first home buyers also continued to flood the market in January, up 9.6% from December's figures in seasonally adjusted terms.
This represents the highest level of first home buyer growth since May 2009, and first home buyers accounted for 36.5% of all owner occupier loans written in January.
In seasonally adjusted terms, first home buyer numbers are up 70.8% compared to a year ago, and are also borrowing an average of $429,669.
ABS head of finance and wealth Katherine Keenan put some of the growth down to HomeBuilder.
“Since the HomeBuilder grant was introduced in June 2020, there have been record rises in the value of construction loan commitments," she said.
"Loan applications made late in 2020 (prior to the reduction of the HomeBuilder grant on 1 January 2021), contributed to the strong rise in January’s construction loan commitments of 15.7%.”
Buying a home or looking to refinance? The table below features home loans with some of the lowest variable interest rates on the market for owner occupiers.
Smart Booster Home Loan
- Discount variable for 1 year <=80% LVR
- No ongoing fees
- Unlimited redraw facility
Monthly repayments: $1,476
- Discount variable for 1 year
- No ongoing fees
- Unlimited redraw facility
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%. If products listed have an LVR <80%, they will be clearly identified in the product name along with the specific LVR. The product and rate must be clearly published on the Product Provider’s web site. Monthly repayments were calculated based on the selected products’ advertised rates, applied to a $400,000 loan with a 30-year loan term.
Housing Industry Association economist Angela Lillicrap said the pandemic has changed Australians' spending habits.
"Many have diverted funds that would have typically been spent on travel and entertainment into improving their homes," she said.
"Low interest rates, rising house prices, higher savings and a demographic shift in demand towards detached housing and regional areas should ensure ongoing demand for new homes into 2021."
ABS data coincides with the CoreLogic home value index growing at its fastest rate in 17 years.
Variable loans funded continued to be more popular than fixed rate loans, at $23.8 billion worth, compared to $14.3 billion in January.
However the gap is narrowing for first home buyers, with $2.88 billion in variable loans funded versus $2.24 billion in fixed rate loans funded.
Prudential regulator data released last Friday also shows that the number of mortgage deferrals continues to slide, representing just 1.8% of the overall Australian mortgage market as at the end of January.
This is down from highs of 10-11% seen in May and June last year, however high loan-to-value ratio (LVR) borrowers are over-represented in deferral data - making up 11% of deferrals, yet only 6% of the wider loan market.
Approximately $14 billion in loans (both residential and small business lending) exited deferrals in January, while $1 billion entered or extended their deferrals.
A new way to invest in 'affordable' housing
Fragmented property platform Bricklet has partnered with Evolve Housing to allow Australians to invest in affordable housing.
The partnership will initially allow fragmented investors to invest in 18 affordable housing apartments in Rydalmere, in Sydney's west.
Each apartment consists of 30 'fragments', and each fragment is priced at $21,400, implying a unit price of $642,000.
CEO of Bricklet Darren Younger said there is a "shortfall in investment" in affordable housing.
"By fragmenting affordable housing supply into affordable bricklets, we can incentivise new investors into the sector, giving everyday Australians the ability to fund the housing projects Australia so desperately needs," he said.
Property management rests on affordable housing providers, such as Evolve Housing, and there is scope to expand the scheme nationally.
'Fragmented' property platforms, such as Bricklet, differ from 'fractional' platforms in that investors are buying real estate with a title, instead of investing into a trust that then invests in property.
Bricklet's fee is typically 6% of the fragment price, which includes stamp duty and conveyancing.
Image: Bricklet/Evolve Housing
Photo by Marc RR Dorda on Unsplash