Mortgage values have risen by 70% in 18 months: Equifax

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on November 18, 2021 Fact Checked
Mortgage values have risen by 70% in 18 months: Equifax

Increased mortgage limits might make getting a home loan even harder as increasing house prices and APRA's rules make a splash.

Boosted by the housing boom, mortgage values in Australia have skyrocketed by 70% over the past 18 months - from January 2020 to July 2021 - according to new analysis by global data, analytics and technology company Equifax.

During this timeframe, total mortgage limits have increased by $110 billion or 5.6%.

As house prices continue to accelerate, increased mortgage limits will impact the loan serviceability for both new and existing homeowners according to Equifax.

Average individual mortgage debt increased by 2.7%, or an average of $13,100.

Additionally, 190,000 first home buyers entered the housing market throughout this time, making up 23% of newly-opened mortgage applications.

Comparatively, homeowners refinancing made up 35% of mortgage applications; 26% took out new financing for renovations; and 16% took out additional financing.

Kevin James, Equifax General Manager Advisory and Solutions, said it's good to see more first home buyers in the market with encouragement from government incentives.

"Still, it is worrying that mortgage limits are growing at a rate faster than most homeowners' ability to service their loans," Mr James said.

Mortgagees scrapping credit cards to stay on top of home loans

Even before APRA tightened home loan lending rules, prospective homeowners have been 'increasingly aware' of the challenges they'll face to meet their mortgage repayments.

In response, many were already taking steps to improve their financial situations.

According to Equifax's data, mortgage borrowers are a 'standout group' that have steadily scrapped credit cards over the past 18 months.

Within the 'typical' first home buyer demographic (under 30 years old), 24% cut their credit cards.

Additionally, 12% of people between 30 to 40 years old have given up their credit cards.

East coast home to more first home buyers

First home buyers are more common on the Australian east coast according to Equifax.

Loans for first home buyers rose by 12% in Greater Sydney and 14% throughout the rest of the state.

Mortgages also increased by 10% in Greater Melbourne and 9% throughout Greater Victoria.

Queensland's mortgage sizes increased by 13% in Greater Brisbane and 10% across the rest of the Sunshine State.

In comparison, Western Australia saw first home buyer home loans rise by 6% in Greater Perth and 7% throughout the rest of state.

"The size of first home buyer grants are similar across the board; however, disparities in the cost of living and the housing market opportunities in each state continue to be key contributing factors that are pricing mortgage borrowers out of the market, particularly in NSW and Victoria," Mr James said.

Pandemic dampened demand of new home owners across the board

Despite the volume of mortgage enquiries increasing over time, lockdowns in NSW and Victoria 'tempered' the enthusiasm of prospective buyers to enter the property market.

Mortgage enquiries peaked in March 2021, when enquiries rose by 82% in NSW, 59% in Victoria, and an average of 72% across the country. 

However, there was a 'collective downturn' in May and June 2021 as lockdowns and restrictions were put in place.

"Mortgage enquiry volumes are a strong indicator of future loan take-outs, and economic developments related to the pandemic will continue to steer borrowers’ sentiment for many months to come," Mr James said.

"We will be monitoring volumes closely as the economy reopens in states emerging from lockdowns to see how this will flow through to the mortgage market."


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Image by Steve Smith on Unsplash

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Rachel is a Finance Journalist, and joined Savings in 2021. Coming from a background in the FinTech space, her interests include the innovation of lending technology, property, investing, and more. With a passion for educating and informing people about their finances, she hopes to increase the financial literacy of everyday Australians.

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