Proving the residential property market is far from flat, mortgage broker aggregator AFG has recorded its highest February mortgage sales on record, processing $2.8 billion of loans.
This is significantly higher than the $2 billion recorded in February 2011 and $2.2 billion in February 2010.
AFG handles around 10 per cent of mortgages settled in Australia.
Around 23.2 per cent of all sales were fixed rates, surpassing the previous high of 20.4 per cent for fixed rate loans recorded in October last year.
AFG Mortgage Index also shows that, for the first time ever, the average new home loan in Australia reached $400,000 – up from $385,000 in January and $382,000 in February 2011.
Across the nation, NSW had the highest average new home loan - $471,000, followed by Western Australia on $421,000 and Victoria on $409,000.
AFG’s general manager sales and operations Mark Hewitt said the dynamics of the home loan market are changing in a number of ways.
“The very good news is that the past six months has seen a steady stream of First Home Buyers return, which is vital to the future of property markets. As well as this, increasing competition among major and non major lenders, and the decoupling of lender rate announcements from the RBA is making the mortgage market a more complex place. This is an environment in which brokers thrive, because borrowers know they really need to shop around for the best deal, and increasingly rely on us to do so,” he said.
“Concern about the future of rates is also the reason why record numbers of borrowers are choosing to fix rates.”
Major lenders saw their market share drop somewhat from 79.0 per cent in January to 76.1 per cent in February. Most of this change was because of an increasing trend among first home buyers to opt for non-major lenders – up from 27.4 per cent in January to 29.1 per cent in February.