Kieran Salsone

Mortgage volumes highest for two years

AUSTRALIAN Finance Group processed $3.1 billion of mortgages in October - its highest volume for any October on record, and for any month since March 2009.

October volumes are generally lower than those for September, but last month bucked the trend being 14.6 per cent higher than the month before.

The volume was also almost a quarter greater than for October 2011.

Refinancing was not the driver for mortgage volumes last month, with the level of refinancing (34.8%) at its lowest level than since September 2009.

AFG general manager of sales and operations Mark Hewitt said the group was not seeing a surge of confidence sweep across the country, but different categories of borrowers in different states were feeling more comfortable about taking on loans.

"New South Wales is by far the most popular state for investors, while WA is leading the way for First Home Buyers," Mr Hewitt said.

In New South Wales, loans for investors comprised 43.1% of all new loans, compared with 35.1% in Queensland, 33.6% in Victoria, 32.2% in South Australia and 29.9% in Western Australia.

In Western Australia, loans for first home buyers comprised 25.2% of all new loans, compared with 18.3% in Victoria. 15.0% in Queensland, 12.8% in South Australia and 5.7% in New South Wales.

One in five new borrowers chose to fix their loans (20.8%), somewhat lower than last month high of 21.5%.

Loan to value ratios, which are new loans stated as a percentage of property values, rose to 70.5%, the highest level since September 2009.

Higher LVRs typically signal increased first home buyer activity and/or increased confidence among borrowers.


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