Westpac: House prices will rebound, but there will be some 'urgent' sales

Westpac: House prices will rebound, but there will be some 'urgent' sales

A big four bank believes the fall in the housing market will be half as bad as originally projected, claiming they’ll overcome a sell off of defaulting properties to return to growth much quicker than expected.

Westpac is walking back its projection that the property market will experience a 10 per cent fall by June next year as the economic fallout from the COVID-19 coronavirus isn’t as bad as anticipated. 

A fall half the size is now forecast to take place across the country instead, the bank’s senior economists said in a bulletin, occurring in four phases to culminate in a strong return to growth.

“We now expect many capital city markets to be more resilient with a national fall of 5 per cent between April and June next year,” chief economist Bill Evans and senior economist Matthew Hassan said.

“Of most importance is that we are much more optimistic about the pace of price appreciation over the following two years with a total expected increase of around 15 per cent.”

Melbourne properties are still expected to fall 12 per cent, but the projections of other capital cities have generally eased. Sydney is forecast to drop by 5 per cent and Brisbane by 2 per cent, while Perth prices could hold flat and Adelaide properties could rise by 2 per cent.

The update anticipates a period when people sell their homes because they can no longer afford the repayments.

It comes after the typical home shed about $12,500 since the beginning of the year, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), and follows revised forecasts of a 6 per cent fall by Commonwealth Bank.

Four phases and a return to 15 per cent growth

The property market’s road to recovery could take place in four phases, the economists said, but that road could be bumpy.

  1. Property prices could drop. Mostly behind us, this phase has to do with the drop in property values that took place because of the collapse in economic activity in the June quarter.
  2. Prices could stabilise over the December and March quarters, the economists forecast. There’s the possibility for some modest rises in property prices, but that is unlikely to be the case for Melbourne, which could still be falling in the December quarter. It’s expected to trail by about a quarter behind other states.
  3. There could be an increase in “urgent or distressed sales” as mortgage defaults go up as people fail to make repayments early next year.
  4. Prices will lift again. The most influential factors behind this recovery are a substantial boost from lower interest rates, especially low fixed rates, and a milder than expected recession.

Phase 3 poses “the greatest uncertainty for dwelling prices”

The combination of loan deferrals beginning to taper and government stimulus payments drying up could create an uncertain swell where house prices slip back again and endure “a minor softening”.

“This third stage of the cycle – when borrowers are obliged to resume loan servicing – presents the greatest uncertainty for dwelling prices,” the economists said.

They estimate about 60,000 ‘urgent’ sales could take place around March 2021, about 15 per cent of all homes sold in a year, and that it could be enough to shift prices downwards, particularly in areas where there are clusters.

“We anticipate a more benign disruption with the incidence of distress being lower, the widespread use of loan restructuring and the timing and volume of distressed sales being carefully managed by lenders,” they said. 

Where we are today

Property prices have dropped recently, according to the ABS, but a rise in the number of loan commitments offers some promise that people have an appetite to buy.

Homes across all capital cities -- other than Canberra -- experienced a drop in the June quarter, the ABS, while the number of transactions fell substantially due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Melbourne home values dropped by 2.3 per cent, followed closely by Sydney at 2.2 per cent, with the drops being more pronounced for houses than they were for units, townhouses and villas.

The general fall in property prices is creating buying opportunities for investors, PIPA said. About 45 per cent of investors believed the economic conditions brought by the COVID-19 pandemic made it an ideal time to buy.

But there signs of a recovery are emerging. The value of home loan applications rebounded by nearly 9 per cent to $18.92 billion in July, the ABS said, marking the strongest monthly rebound in its data series. 

“New loan commitments for owner occupier housing rose in all states and territories, except the Australian Capital Territory,”  Amanda Seneviratne said, head of finance and wealth at the ABS.

The rebounding value of home loan applications still represented a drop from prior COVID-19 levels. 

At the beginning of the year in January, for instance, home loan commitments were valued at $20.73 billion

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Your current home loan interest rate. To accurately calculate how much you could save, an accurate interest figure is required. If you are not certain, check your bank statement or log into your mortgage account.

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Select a number of years to see how much money you can save with different home loans over time.

e.g. To see how much you could save in two years by switching mortgages,  set the slider to 2.

How much deposit do I need for a home loan from ANZ?

Like other mortgage lenders, ANZ often prefers a home loan deposit of 20 per cent or more of the property value when you’re applying for a home loan. It may be possible to get a home loan with a smaller deposit of 10 per cent or even 5 per cent, but there are a few reasons to consider saving a larger deposit if possible:

  • A larger deposit tells a lender that you’re a great saver, which could help increase the chances of your home loan application getting approved.
  • The more money you pay as a deposit, the less you’ll have to borrow in your home loan. This could mean paying off your loan sooner, and being charged less total interest.
  • If your deposit is less than 20 per cent of the property value, you might incur additional costs, such as Lenders Mortgage Insurance (LMI).

What are the pros and cons of no-deposit home loans?

It’s no longer possible to get a no-deposit home loan in Australia. In some circumstances, you might be able to take out a mortgage with a 5 per cent deposit – but before you do so, it’s important to weigh up the pros and cons.

The big advantage of borrowing 95 per cent (also known as a 95 per cent home loan) is that you get to buy your property sooner. That may be particularly important if you plan to purchase in a rising market, where prices are increasing faster than you can accumulate savings.

But 95 per cent home loans also have disadvantages. First, the 95 per cent home loan market is relatively small, so you’ll have fewer options to choose from. Second, you’ll probably have to pay LMI (lender’s mortgage insurance). Third, you’ll probably be charged a higher interest rate. Fourth, the more you borrow, the more you’ll ultimately have to pay in interest. Fifth, if your property declines in value, your mortgage might end up being worth more than your home.

How much deposit do I need for a home loan from NAB?

The right deposit size to get a home loan with an Australian lender will depend on the lender’s eligibility criteria and the value of your property.

Generally, lenders look favourably on applicants who save up a 20 per cent deposit for their property This also means applicants do not have to pay Lenders Mortgage Insurance (LMI). However, you may still be able to obtain a mortgage with a 10 - 15 per cent deposit.  

Keep in mind that NAB is one of the participating lenders for the First Home Loan Deposit Scheme, which allows eligible borrowers to buy a property with as low as a 5 per cent deposit without paying the LMI. The Federal Government guarantees up to 15 per cent of the deposit to help first-timers to become homeowners.

What is a loan-to-value ratio (LVR)?

A loan-to-value ratio (otherwise known as a Loan to Valuation Ratio or LVR), is a calculation lenders make to work out the value of your loan versus the value of your property, expressed as a percentage.   Lenders use this calculation to help assess your suitability for a home loan, and whether you need to pay lender’s mortgage insurance (LMI). As a general rule, most banks will require you to pay LMI if your loan-to-value ratio is 80 per cent or more.   LVR is worked out by dividing the loan amount by the value of the property. If you are looking for a quick ball-park estimate of LVR, the size of your deposit is a good indicator as it is directly proportionate to your LVR. For instance, a loan with an LVR of 80 per cent requires a deposit of 20 per cent, while a 90 per cent LVR requires 10 per cent down payment. 

LOAN AMOUNT / PROPERTY VALUE = LVR%

While this all sounds simple enough, it is worth doing a more accurate calculation of LVR before you commit to buying a place as there are some traps to be aware of. Firstly, the ‘loan amount’ is the price you paid for the property plus additional costs such as stamp duty and legal fees, minus your deposit amount. Secondly, the ‘property value’ is determined by your lender’s valuation of the property, not the price you paid for it, and sometimes these can differ so where possible, try and get your bank to evaluate the property before you put in an offer.

How can I get ANZ home loan pre-approval?

Shopping for a new home is an exciting experience and getting a pre-approval on the loan may give you the peace of mind that you are looking at properties within your budget. 

At the time of applying for the ANZ Bank home loan pre-approval, you will be required to provide proof of employment and income, along with records of your savings and debts.

An ANZ home loan pre-approval time frame is usually up to three months. However, being pre-approved doesn’t necessarily mean you will get your home loan. Other factors could lead to your home loan application being rejected, even with a prior pre-approval. Some factors include the property evaluation not meeting the bank’s criteria or a change in your financial circumstances.

You can make an application for ANZ home loan pre-approval online or call on 1800100641 Mon-Fri 8.00 am to 8.00 pm (AEST).

What is a low-deposit home loan?

A low-deposit home loan is a mortgage where you need to borrow more than 80 per cent of the purchase price – in other words, your deposit is less than 20 per cent of the purchase price.

For example, if you want to buy a $500,000 property, you’ll need a low-deposit home loan if your deposit is less than $100,000 and therefore you need to borrow more than $400,000.

As a general rule, you’ll need to pay LMI (lender’s mortgage insurance) if you take out a low-deposit home loan. You can use this LMI calculator to estimate your LMI payment.

Will I have to pay lenders' mortgage insurance twice if I refinance?

If your deposit was less than 20 per cent of your property’s value when you took out your original loan, you may have paid lenders’ mortgage insurance (LMI) to cover the lender against the risk that you may default on your repayments. 

If you refinance to a new home loan, but still don’t have enough deposit and/or equity to provide 20 per cent security, you’ll need to pay for the lender’s LMI a second time. This could potentially add thousands or tens of thousands of dollars in upfront costs to your mortgage, so it’s important to consider whether the financial benefits of refinancing may be worth these costs.

How much debt is too much?

A home loan is considered to be too large when the monthly repayments exceed 30 per cent of your pre-tax income. Anything over this threshold is officially known as ‘mortgage stress’ – and for good reason – it can seriously affect your lifestyle and your actual stress levels.

The best way to avoid mortgage stress is by factoring in a sizeable buffer of at least 2 – 3 per cent. If this then tips you over into the mortgage stress category, then it’s likely you’re taking on too much debt.

If you’re wondering if this kind of buffer is really necessary, consider this: historically, the average interest rate is around 7 per cent, so the chances of your 30 year loan spending half of its time above this rate is entirely plausible – and that’s before you’ve even factored in any of life’s emergencies such as the loss of one income or the arrival of a new family member.

How long does NAB home loan approval take?

The time required to get your home loan from NAB approved can vary based on a number of factors involved in the application process. 

Once you have applied for a home loan, a NAB specialist will contact you within 24 hours over the phone to take down relevant information, including your total income, debts (existing loans, credit cards, etc.), assets (car, shares, etc.), and your monthly expenses (food, utility bills, etc.). Your lender might also ask for information related to the property you want to purchase, including the type of dwelling and preferred postcode.

NAB will then verify all your information and check your credit score, and if the details stack up, you should be given a conditional approval certificate. This certificate stipulates how much money NAB is willing to lend you and is typically valid for 90 days. 

Once you have your conditional approval, you can start browsing for properties that you like and that fit within the budget that NAB has provided. After you find a suitable property, you’ll need to give a copy of the signed deed to NAB, following which you should get full approval and access to the funds. This process can take up to 4-6 weeks. 

Can I take a personal loan after a home loan?

Are you struggling to pay the deposit for your dream home? A personal loan can help you pay the deposit. The question that may arise in your mind is can I take a home loan after a personal loan, or can you take a personal loan at the same time as a home loan, as it is. The answer is that, yes, provided you can meet the general eligibility criteria for both a personal loan and a home loan, your application should be approved. Those eligibility criteria may include:

  • Higher-income to show repayment capability for both the loans
  • Clear credit history with no delays in bill payments or defaults on debts
  • Zero or minimal current outstanding debt
  • Some amount of savings
  • Proven rent history will be positively perceived by the lenders

A personal loan after or during a home loan may impact serviceability, however, as the numbers can seriously add up. Every loan you avail of increases your monthly installments and the amount you use to repay the personal loan will be considered to lower the money available for the repayment of your home loan.

As to whether you can get a personal loan after your home loan, the answer is a very likely "yes", though it does come with a caveat: as long as you can show sufficient income to repay both the loans on time, you should be able to get that personal loan approved. A personal loan can also help to improve your credit score showing financial discipline and responsibility, which may benefit you with more favorable terms for your home loan.