Mortgage research needed by homeowners

JOANNE BENNETT AND FAIRFAX
Last updated 05:00 11/12/2013

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Restrictions to lending criteria mean new homeowners are having to do a lot more research, leading to more work for Timaru mortgage brokers.

Broker Gary Dobbs said he had been busier since restrictions came into force. "Loans with less than 20 per cent deposit are harder to be approved, so people tend to seek help and advice."

Banks can give loans to just 10 per cent of their new mortgage customers who do not have a 20 per cent deposit.

Mr Dobbs said banks were advertising to attract quality applicants who might not have 20 per cent, and offering incentives to those who did.

Fellow Timaru mortgage broker Malcolm McDonald has noticed the amount of lending has reduced.

"The number of inquiries is about the same, the quality of lending is better, though the amount of lending approved has reduced a little with the need to plan and prepare people to be in a stronger position.

"With Christmas approaching it's busy due to the need to be 'sorted' as clients prepare for the New Year."

Westpac is the first bank to offer different lending rates to those who do and those who do not have 20 per cent of the deposit.

Borrowers with less than 20 per cent deposit will pay 6.55 per cent interest for a fixed rate two-year mortgage, compared with the 5.59 per cent offered to those with deposits of 20 per cent or more.

Although Westpac is the first to split lending rates, Mr McDonald said all banks have the same options. "They can provide clients with other options, but they all operate governed by the Reserve Bank Act."

Harcourts sales manager Stewart Burgess said he hadn't noticed a great deal of change since October 1. "It really doesn't seem to have affected us too much at all, and it doesn't seem to have made an impact on sale price either."

The Reserve Bank announced yesterday new home builders will be exempt from lending restrictions.

It comes after the building industry raised concerns the restrictions would reduce the number of new houses being built, affecting government efforts to increase the supply of new homes to help curb house price inflation.

Mr McDonald said he didn't expect the announcement to make much difference to new home builders in South Canterbury.

"My understanding is that this is a major concern in the Auckland locale and Christchurch, but is not greatly evidenced as a concern here."

Generally, most new home owners had at least 20 per cent as a deposit, he said.

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- The Timaru Herald

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