Variable rate demand reaches 6-month high

February 04, 2013
David Wilson

Variable interest rate home loans continue to dominate the new loan approval market, presumably as borrowers bank on further rate cuts, according to national figures from Mortgage Choice.  

Demand for variable rate loans reached a six-month high in January, accounting for 83.65% of the company’s new home loan approvals. Consequently, demand for fixed rate loans slipped, for the second consecutive month, to 16.35% of newly approved loans.  

For two consecutive months now borrowers have fled from fixed rate loans and have instead opted for variable rates. This is the first occasion since July 2012 that demand for variable rates has been this high.  

These results come at a time when cash rate cuts from the Reserve Bank are still on the cards. There is now also the possibility of out-of-cycle variable rate cuts from lenders thanks to recent news of eased funding costs. In any case, we would expect to see any future rate cuts passed on in full to borrowers.  

Ongoing discount rate loans remained the top variable rate product for new borrowers, at 41.43% of approvals in January. The closest contender to follow was standard variable rates, with demand for this loan type rising by 3.83 percentage points to reach 20.61%, at the same time interest in basic variable rate loans remained relatively steady at 17.90%.  

This suggests that there is an increase in borrowers who prefer to pay more in return for the extra flexibility and features offered by standard variable rate loans. Keep in mind that borrowers who have a large loan amount are likely to qualify for ongoing discount rate loans or may be able to negotiate a discount off their standard variable rate. We can help you look into whether you’re eligible for such offers.  

With variable loan demand reaching a six-month high of almost 84% of approvals, it appears Australians are confident that rates will remain at very low levels for some time yet.  

Demand for line of credit loans fell by 0.5 percentage points to 2.76%, while introductory rates remained steady at 0.95%.

Note: Mortgage Choice writes almost one in every 20 new home loans in Australia, equating to approx. $10 billion in approvals per year, hence it provides a clear insight into borrower preferences. The 20 year old mortgage broker has a loan book of over $45 billion

Posted in: Home loans

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