Mortgage sales soared 40 per cent in January 2012 in comparison to this time last year, new data shows.
According to the latest AFG Mortgage Index, sales in Queensland were up 80.6 per cent, 84.5 per cent in South Australia, 37.4 per cent in Western Australia, 25 per cent in Victoria and 14.5 per cent in NSW.
AFG, a mortgage broker aggregator, handles around 10 per cent of mortgages settled in Australia.
The latest data also revealed that WA usurped NSW as the most popular state for first home buyers.
Almost one in five new mortgages in WA was arranged for first home buyers. This compared to 14 per cent in NSW, which was down from 18.8 per cent in December. This drop coincides with the state government decision to scrap stamp duty exemptions for first home buyers purchasing existing properties.
However NSW retains its position as the most popular state for investment, with 40.2 per cent of loans there arranged for investment purposes, compared to 36.8 per cent in Victoria, 34.9 per cent in Queensland, 32.6 per cent in Western Australia and 32.0 per cent in South Australia.
AFG's general manager of sales and operations Mark Hewitt said borrowers were keenly awaiting the Reserve Bank of Australia's next interest rate decison, which is due on February 7, although doubts remained about whether any reduction would be passed on by lenders.
"Will the RBA cut rates, and if so, how much of this will be passed on by lenders?," he said. "It seems that we are moving to a new paradigm where there is less and less linkage between the cash rate and mortgage rates.
"An RBA cash rate cut will not automatically translate into improved consumer confidence."