Is The Spring Property Market Signalling a Renewal?

Spring has sprung! So, what does that mean for the world of finance and property?

Well, on the face of it, a lot is still the same – there is still reasonably low confidence in the market, house prices are continuing to fall lower (good for first home buyers), and mortgage rates are creeping back up to where they have traditionally been over the last 10 years.

But, with spring here, there’s hope that things might start turning around soon.

Let’s look at what’s going on right now.

Mortgage Rates Are Creeping Up

It wouldn’t be a monthly update without a look at the latest mortgage rates.

Last month we reported that rates had been dropping, especially for longer fixed terms, but recently ASB and ANZ have raised their fixed home rates for one-year and 18-month terms. Finding a fixed rate below 5% is close to impossible now. [source]

This is interesting given that spring is usually when the housing market picks up and mortgages get competitive. But the market signs aren’t that flash, so this year may be different.

Because the market isn’t moving as much and people aren’t necessarily buying, banks may think people will be more likely to just stick where they are.

So does that mean you shouldn’t be shopping around if your fixed term is up? Not necessarily.

Depending on your situation, it might still be worth looking for a new lender for your next term or even breaking your mortgage to switch to a different fixed-rate term.

With competition high, banks are offering attractive incentives, such as cash backs, which might make switching worthwhile. If you’d like to review your options, then get in touch, and we can look at what might work for you.

Spring Bounce Back? Maybe Not This Year

Spring is generally a time that real estate agents look forward to. After the quiet of winter, spring usually signals an uptick in the housing market with more sales.

This year though, it might not be quite as good as usual.

ASB’s latest Housing Confidence Survey shows public confidence in the housing market has finally dropped. Now people expect house prices to drop.

The survey found that 31% more people thought prices would drop than thought they would rise. According to the report, that’s the lowest level of confidence for 13 years. [source]

In the market, the number of homes available for sale is much higher than last year, but prices are still falling. figures for August showed almost double the number of homes for sale compared to last year with stock at a seven-year high. [source]

So, what does it mean if you were hoping to sell?

Well, it’s true that you might not get as much for your property as you would have at the height of the boom.

But it also means that it won’t cost you as much to buy property.

It’s worth weighing up your options if you need to upsize, downsize, or move locations.

First home buyers can now enter the market with prices somewhat lower than 6 months ago, with a lot more choice of property and less urgency so that finance requirements and due diligence can be completed without undue stress.

Moving Your Mortgage Could Be Getting Easier

If you want to switch your mortgage between lenders, moves by the Government could potentially make it easier.

The Government has signalled it is taking the next steps in introducing a data sharing scheme.

This would introduce a Consumer Data Right (CDR) to allow people to share data held about them by third parties. [source]

This would mean banks would need to share data about your loan details with a rival lender if you asked them to.

The move could be a while off, but in the long term, it could make switching loans easier.

As always, though, we’d advocate getting expert advice before you make any changes to your home loan.

So, if you are considering changes, drop us a line for an obligation-free chat.

Rent Freeze Suggested by The Human Rights Commission

The Human Rights Commission has suggested that private landlords should freeze rents amid the cost-of-living crisis.

But landlords have retaliated saying they shouldn’t have to suffer because of a situation out of their control. 

There was a widespread rent freeze in 2020 due to Covid-19 which most landlords supported, but the idea of another pause has caused concern.

President of the New Zealand Property Investors Federation said most landlords were not “fat cats”, but normal people trying to plan for the future who were also facing rising costs. [source]

Generally, most rental property loans are on an “Interest Only” basis, and we find that lenders are asking for the principal payments to commence whenever the Interest Only period expires.

This can create cash flow problems for you as the landlord. So, before you agree to their terms, talk to us first.

So, if you own a rental property, now might be a time to consider what you want to do with it.

If you have good tenants and can afford to offer reasonable rents for a time, then it will be worth holding onto it.

But if not, you might want to consider what options are available to you.

As always, we are happy to explore what those options could be with you.

Get in touch with the friendly team at Oliver Broomfield Mortgage & Insurances today.

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.

Frequently Asked Questions

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