Is The Property Market Finally Trending Down?

Another month has gone by and as usual, there are more developments in the world of finance and property!

Is The Property Market Finally Trending Down?

So, what’s going on as we come to the close of the financial year?

Well, quite a lot!

This month there are signs that the property market might finally be starting to climb down from its peak.

However, many things are still impacted by Covid and its associated response.

And let’s not forget that inflation and lending criteria are all playing a part in the current situation.

Let’s look at what’s been happening in the sector recently.

Mortgage Rates Look Set To Keep Rising

We have seen ANZ raise mortgage rates again this month, and the other big banks are likely to follow suit.

Most of the rate changes have been related to fixed mortgage rates.

That means you aren’t likely to be affected until you have to re-fix your mortgage.

But, it’s good to be mindful of the changes now so that you know what is coming up.

The latest changes from ANZ aren’t major – a small step in what could be a long relentless climb over the next few months…

For those watching financial markets closely, these ANZ rises aren’t a surprise.

They are the start of a new push to higher interest rates. This will clearly put rising pressure on household budgets that include mortgage repayments. And they will pressure landlords.” [source]

If your fixed-rate mortgage is up for renewal soon, it might be worth shopping around to see if another lender can offer you a better rate.

If you are fixed for another few years, then you might want to assess your situation.

It is possible to break a fixed term mortgage to swap to another one, but there is usually a fee involved.

However, that may be cost-effective to get a better deal now, rather than risk even higher rates when you come to re-fix in a few years.

Advice from a mortgage broker, like the team here at Oliver Broomfield Mortgage & Insurances, will be invaluable when making decisions about fixed-term mortgages.

Trouble Getting Mortgages Approved?

Those changes to the lending laws are rearing their ugly heads again!

New research shows that changes to the Credit Contracts and Consumer Finance Act have not done much to protect vulnerable people against taking on debt but are affecting people with solid applications.

The report from credit agency, Centrix, says low-risk applications have been affected.

Loan conversion rates had dropped for people with credit scores above 700 (a good score), but there had not been much change in approvals for people with credit scores below 500 (low to average score).

The report says that lenders would typically have more discretion over-lending, but the new Act has taken some of that discretion away.

“Where there used to be a lot of discretion, brokers would say, that if you take out this mortgage we know you would cut back on some of that discretionary spending, and therefore we are OK with this.

Banks would say, you have had three loans in the past and you have met all your obligations and we have never had a problem with you.

So there used to be an element of discretion, whereas under the CCCFA, you look at the income and then the expenditure and if there is not a surplus, you cannot issue the loan.” [source]

If you are thinking about taking out a mortgage, you need to make sure your finances are in good shape and have a good idea of all your income and outgoings.

You may need to get rid of some discretionary expenditure like subscriptions to streaming services or eating out before making your mortgage application.

If you’d like to talk more about your situation and your mortgage options, get in touch with Oliver Broomfield Mortgage & Insurances.

Undoing The CCCFA Blunders

We’ve just finished saying that it has been harder for people with good credit scores to get loans approved, but hopefully, that could all be a thing of the past soon!

Further changes to the CCCFA have been announced on 11 March due to intense criticism of the act.

Here’s the lowdown:
“The changes include removing regular ‘savings’ and ‘investments’ as examples of outgoings that lenders need to enquire into when assessing the borrower’s future expenses.

They also clarify that when borrowers provide a detailed breakdown of their future living expenses, and these are benchmarked against robust statistical data, there is no need to also enquire into their current living expenses from recent bank transactions.

They also say that where lenders choose to estimate future expenses from recent bank transaction records, they are permitted to obtain information about how their current expenses are likely to change once the contract is entered into.

And they say that the requirement to obtain information in ‘sufficient detail’ only relates to information provided by borrowers directly, rather than relating to information from bank transaction records.

They provide further guidance on when a lender needs to allow for a ‘reasonable surplus’ and how lenders should set surplus requirements.

And the changes provide alternative guidance and examples for when it is ‘obvious’ that a loan is affordable.

In cases like that, a full income and expense assessment will not be required.” [source]

What does it all mean?

Well, hopefully, these changes will make it more viable for many families to access lending. But, only time will tell if these changes have the impact we are looking for.

Property Prices Might Finally Be On The Way Down

The latest Quotable Value (QV) House Price Index figures show that house values may have started declining.

Is The Property Market Finally Trending Down?

According to the Index, the average value of all homes throughout New Zealand was down to $1,053,483 at the end of February from $1,068,765 at the end of January.

That’s down $10,282 for the month.

There were falls in both Auckland and Wellington as well as other regions like Dunedin and Queenstown-Lakes.

QV General Manager David Nagel says while some of the changes might be down to Covid, it is also a sign of a changing market.

“There are fewer buyers out there now, with the tightened credit rules and rising interest rates taking a number of first home buyers and investors out of the market altogether.

Increased listings from both new builds and existing homes are providing the dwindling buyer pool with ample choice and this is putting downward pressure on prices.

It’s taking a lot longer to sell a house this year, with open home attendance and auction clearance rates significantly impacted.

While part of this may be attributed to Covid-19, primarily we’re seeing a residential property market that has peaked and is searching for the new equilibrium.” [source]

What does that mean if you are planning to buy or sell?

Well, of course, this won’t have much impact if you are buying and selling in the same market.

However, if you are buying and selling in different markets, it’s definitely worth seeking advice from a mortgage broker to see what your options are.

But Confidence In The Market Is Down Too

ASB’s latest Housing Confidence Survey paints quite a gloomy picture.

The survey, conducted over three months to the end of January, found 28% more people thought it was NOT a good time to buy.

This is the lowest level of confidence in the survey’s 26-year history.

So, what does it all mean?

While lower property prices could be good news for people looking to get onto the property ladder, higher interest rates and tight lending criteria could still be barriers.

Lower property prices are not such good news for people looking to sell, especially if they were hoping to release equity by downsizing or moving to a cheaper area.

However, for people looking to buy a second property to act as a rental investment, it may open the market up.

So, depending on your situation, it is always best to seek advice from a mortgage broker to ensure you are making the right more for your individual situation.

If you have questions about any of the ideas raised here or just want financial advice you can trust, get in touch with Oliver Broomfield Mortgage & Insurances today.

The advantage of using a mortgage adviser is that they can negotiate with a number of lenders to find the deal that best suits you. They do all the leg work for you, saving you time.

We help assess all your options, whereas the Bank is restricted by being only able to present one view.

While banks expect the client will negotiate with them, or accept the given rate, mortgage brokers are more likely to go to bat for you, to get a lower interest rate.

Our processes make financing your house purchase easy; providing quick personal service that takes the stress out of financing your home loan. With our wealth of experience in the finance industry, we know how to get the best deal for you.

Absolutely! We can still work with you using email, phone calls, and video calls. Whatever your financial situation is, we have a range of options to communicate with you whatever circumstances.

Yes, we have an online application system or a pdf form that can be completed. Supporting documents can either be uploaded directly into our system or emailed. We can use telephone, zoom, or email for further clarification or look at scenarios and receive and send information.

A home loan pre-approval is a conditional approval confirming that we can lend you a certain amount of money, provided the property you purchase meets the lender’s home loan criteria. It’s a good idea to ask us for a home loan pre-approval before you start house hunting. It will help you determine how much you can borrow and to give you some bargaining power when negotiating a purchase price.

Saving a deposit is probably the biggest hurdle for most first home buyers. First home buyers need to have saved at least 5% deposit with 20% or more being the optimum. Remember that this can be made up from a KiwiSaver first home withdrawal and some first home buyers may also be eligible for a HomeStart Grant. Gifts and deed of debts from friends and family are also common.

While there has been a lot of publicity about the need for home buyers to have a 20% deposit; there are still options available for you. We can talk you through what may be available to you including:

  • The ability to access low equity loans
  • Using your Kiwisaver contributions towards your deposit
  • Building your own home
  • Accessing parental assistance to increase your deposit.

The size of your deposit makes a big difference to the interest rate and the other costs you could potentially pay on your home loan. Generally, for lending where the deposit is less than 20%, the lender will also charge a Low Equity Fee (LEF) or Lenders Mortgage Insurance (LMI). Interest rates may also be higher for loans with a low deposit.

Whilst assessing a loan application, banks will scrutinise your bank account (usually the most recent 3 months bank statements).

In particular, they are looking at how well (or not) you manage your account.

Do you have dishonors, and or unauthorised overdrafts?

The better your account conduct the better your chances!

The banks also want to make sure all expenses including fixed and discretionary costs are included in the mortgage application expenses.

This will be determined by your income, your capacity to repay the loan, and the property type along with the current lending restrictions imposed by the reserve bank. Contact us today to find out.

The income you will need to earn will depend on the size of the loan, the bigger your loan the more you will need to earn.

As a rule of thumb if you are a first home buyer who is currently renting and have also been able to save some money there is a good chance you will meet the banks’ income criteria.

A LIM report is a summary of information that the local Counsel hold on a property. The report covers off information regarding consents, permits, code of compliance, potential erosion, subsidence, flooding of any type and the possible presence of hazardous substances. private and public stormwater and sewerage drain, rates, including any overdue rates.

Your solicitor should review this document.

Absolutely, we do this every day for many existing clients. We can use our scenario calculator to ensure you meet lender criteria and affordability for yourself.

Yes, you can borrow money in New Zealand and may be able to borrow up to 80-90% of the purchase price of a home.

To be eligible to for the KiwiSaver First Home Withdrawal Scheme you must:

Be purchasing your first home;

  • Have been a member of KiwiSaver for a minimum of three years;
  • Have your KiwiSaver account with a KiwiSaver provider that allows saving withdrawals; and
  • Intend to live in the property for at least six months
  • We recommend that you contact your KiwiSaver provider and check their individual policy on withdrawals for first homes.
  • If you are eligible to withdraw money from your KiwiSaver, you may also be eligible for a first home deposit subsidy of up to $20,000.00 from Housing New Zealand – known as a HomeStart Grant.

Using a mortgage broker generally means no direct costs to you for their services but there are other unavoidable costs. These may include:

  • A Registered Valuation ($800 – $1,200)
  • Solicitor Costs ($800 – $1,500)
  • LIM report ($150 – $400)
  • Builder’s Report ($100 – $500)
  • Weather Tightness Report for Monoclad houses ($300 – $1,000)
  • Finance fee for non-bank lending (~1%)

Prices can vary. Always request a quote before ordering any of these services. 

The banks all have different policies and risk tolerances. Buyers can get frustrated and waste a lot of time going to banks that won’t suit their needs.

Using a mortgage broker gives you a view of all the banks and their policies. It means you find the right bank faster and with less stress. With a mortgage broker, getting a mortgage isn’t complicated.

It’s about proving you have enough deposit and enough income and then heading to the right bank with that information.

Some tips to making your mortgage application easier: get your documentation sorted early and keep your spending as low as possible in the 3 months leading up to your application.

We will always act in the best interest of the client and will ensure that any deal we broker is the best we can do for the client.

While there can be variances in the amount different lenders pay us we do not favour any particular lender for this reason.

We are also members of NZFSG & Financial Advice New Zealand both of which have ethics that we must adhere to.

We can also be audited at any time by the FMA (Financial Markets Authority)

No… The lenders that use our services see us as an efficient channel to obtain business from. They only pay us on success i.e. when the loan settles.

We sit alongside their other channels such as a bank branch or mobile manager.

The cost of obtaining business from a mortgage broker is comparable to these other channels the banks choose to use.

For this reason, it will cost you no more to use our services.

Mortgage advisers (often called mortgage brokers) are paid by the bank when a mortgage is drawn down.  If that mortgage is discharged (repaid and closed) within a short amount of time – typically 27 months – the broker must repay some or all of the commission (often referred to as a clawback).  In this instance, the mortgage broker has essentially done the work for no pay.

We reserve the right to charge for our time if a clawback is incurred.  The fee will be the estimated amount of hours the mortgage took at an hourly rate of $250 per hour.  Unlike other fees, such as Break Fees from the bank, we have capped the amount we can charge clients at $2,500.

If you are refinancing or selling your house, the best thing to do is immediately talk to your adviser and discuss if any clawback fees will be charged.

If the property is for you to live in, this is something you should discuss with your Lawyer at your initial meeting.  If it will be an Investment Property, you should discuss with your Accountant.  We would also suggest you find a property accountant, someone who deals in property all the time rather than just as a side part of their business.  

Refinancing creates an entirely new mortgage and an opportunity to restructure in a way that better suits your personal situation.

People refinance for lots of personal reasons, from changing circumstances to life goals and interest rates.

People often refinance with us because they want to get ahead faster and take advantage of the smart Go Home Loan structure and personalised support we offer.

The key to an effective loan structure is putting your savings and income into an account that helps reduce the daily interest costs of your mortgage, not a separate unlinked account.

Why? By combining all your income and savings against your Go Home loan, you’re making your money work harder for you.

A Go Home Loan is a much simpler mortgage structure that still uses your income and savings to reduce your daily interest costs.

Generally, banks offset your money from multiple accounts. Some clients find it difficult to track multiple accounts and figure out how much interest is being charged or offset.

We find that using a Go Home Loan is an effective loan structure by putting your savings and income into an account that helps reduce your daily interest costs.

As soon as you have decided to look for a property, the earlier the better.  We recommend a good, early, communication plan with your entire team including your Mortgage Broker, Accountant, and Lawyer/Solicitor