High prices foiling first-home buyers

Original article by Patrick Commins
The Australian – Page: 4 : 17-Jan-20

The number of first-home buyers approved for new loans in November fell by 0.9 per cent, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, while the average loan for first-home buyers increased to a record $410,000. ANZ economist Adelaide Timbrell says fewer first-home buyers taking out bigger loans is an indication that rising house prices are making it harder for first-home buyers to get into the property market. She says the ANZ expects an interest rate cut in February, which is likely to push up house prices and reduce housing affordability.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND BANKING GROUP LIMITED – ASX ANZ,{SPAC}AUSTRALIAN BUREAU OF STATISTICS

One in five households facing mortgage stress

Original article by Duncan Hughes
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 3 : 3-Jan-20

Around two million households are finding it hard to make mortgage repayments despite low interest rates, according to comparison website Finder. The number of households in this position has risen since May 2018, the month before the Reserve Bank made the first of its three cash rate cuts. Brendan Coates from the Grattan Institute notes that borrowers should be looking around more for better mortgage rate offers, while Kate Browne from Finder comments that "mortgages need constant monitoring"

CORPORATES
FINDER.COM.AU, GRATTAN INSTITUTE, NATIONAL AUSTRALIA BANK LIMITED – ASX NAB

Economy fear with credit in the doldrums

Original article by David Rogers, Michael Roddan
The Australian – Page: 13 & 17 : 24-Dec-19

Data from the Reserve Bank of Australia shows that lending to businesses and property buyers increased by 0.1 per cent in November and 2.3 per cent in the year to November. This is the lowest rate of growth in private sector credit since April 2010. The figures also show that growth in home loans was 0.2 per cent in November and 2.9 per cent year-on-year, while non-housing credit fell by 0.5 per cent in November and 4.9 per cent year-on-year.

CORPORATES
RESERVE BANK OF AUSTRALIA, COUNCIL OF FINANCIAL REGULATORS, AUSTRALIAN SECURITIES AND INVESTMENTS COMMISSION, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE TREASURY, AUSTRALIAN PRUDENTIAL REGULATION AUTHORITY, CORELOGIC AUSTRALIA PTY LTD

Reserve finds silver lining in household debt cloud

Original article by Cliona O’Dowd
The Australian – Page: 27 : 15-Nov-19

Australia’s household debt-to-income ratio is now about 190 per cent, compared with around 70 per cent in the early 1990s. However, the Reserve Bank’s assistant governor Michele Bullock notes that households that are in the top 40 per cent of income distribution account for three quarters of household debt. Bullock adds that while there has also been an increase in mortgage loan arrears, it is largely confined to several states. She also says negative housing equity is generally not a major concern unless somebody becomes unemployed and must sell their home.

CORPORATES
RESERVE BANK OF AUSTRALIA

First home buyer risk riles banks

Original article by John Kehoe
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 1 & 8 : 11-Nov-19

Major banks are doubtful that the federal government’s scheme to assist first-home buyers will start on its proposed date of 1 January. The scheme, announced during the final days of the May election campaign, will see the government provide up to 10,000 first-home buyers each year with free lenders’ mortgage insurance for people with deposits of as little as five per cent and less than 20 per cent. The big banks want the ability to charge higher interest rates for participants in the scheme, claiming that they will be a greater risk because of the low deposits involved.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND BANKING GROUP LIMITED – ASX ANZ, COMMONWEALTH BANK OF AUSTRALIA – ASX CBA, WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION – ASX WBC, NATIONAL AUSTRALIA BANK LIMITED – ASX NAB

Comyn claims ACCC exaggeration but welcomes probe

Original article by Bo Seo
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 12 & 17 : 17-Oct-19

Commonwealth Bank of Australia CEO Matt Comyn and chair Catherine Livingstone are supportive of a new inquiry into mortgage pricing. However, Comyn has questioned the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission’s claim that the pricing gap for new and existing customers of the nation’s major banks is 32 basis points. He says this gap is significantly lower than 30 basis points at CBA. Livingstone notes that the bank takes into account the interests of borrowers, deposit-holders and shareholders when deciding upon its mortgage pricing.

CORPORATES
COMMONWEALTH BANK OF AUSTRALIA – ASX CBA, AUSTRALIAN COMPETITION AND CONSUMER COMMISSION, WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION – ASX WBC, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE TREASURY

Regionals undercut bigger bank rivals

Original article by Joyce Moullakis, Andrew White
The Australian – Page: 17 & 21 : 16-Oct-19

Analysis by RateCity shows that some of Australia’s regional banks are currently offering much lower variable home loan interest rates than the ‘big four’ bank. However, Victor German of Macquarie Group notes that existing customers at some of the smaller banks are also paying much higher mortgage interest rates than new customers. The mortgage pricing of smaller banks is among the issues that will be examined by the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission’s new inquiry into the sector.

CORPORATES
RATECITY PTY LTD, MACQUARIE GROUP LIMITED – ASX MQG, AUSTRALIAN COMPETITION AND CONSUMER COMMISSION, SUNCORP BALANCED PROPERTY FUND, SUNCORP GROUP LIMITED – ASX SUN, BENDIGO AND ADELAIDE BANK LIMITED – ASX BEN, MACQUARIE BANK LIMITED – ASX MBL, BANK OF QUEENSLAND LIMITED – ASX BOQ, AMP BANK LIMITED, ING BANK (AUSTRALIA) LIMITED, AUSTRALIAN PRUDENTIAL REGULATION AUTHORITY, WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION – ASX WBC, COMMONWEALTH BANK OF AUSTRALIA – ASX CBA, JP MORGAN AUSTRALIA LIMITED

Credit raters circle wagons around banks

Original article by James Eyers, James Frost
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 11 & 14 : 10-Oct-19

Australia’s banks are under growing scrutiny over their failure to reduce their mortgage interest rates by 0.25 per cent in line with the latest official interest rate cut. However, S&P Global Ratings says banks’ profits and capital buffers may be adversely affected if they yield to political pressure and match the Reserve Bank’s rate cut. S&P adds that this could in turn prompt a review of the banking sector’s credit rating. Moody’s Investors Service and Fitch Ratings are also supportive of the banks’ decision to withhold part of the official interest rate cut.

CORPORATES
S&P GLOBAL RATINGS, MOODY’S INVESTORS SERVICE INCORPORATED, FITCH RATINGS LIMITED, RESERVE BANK OF AUSTRALIA, IBISWORLD PTY LTD, COPLEY FUND RESEARCH, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET

Strong economies need profitable banks, says Wilson

Original article by James Frost, Vesna Poljak, Aleks Vickovich, Peter Ker
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 1 & 16 : 9-Oct-19

Wilson Asset Management chairman Geoff Wilson has rejected criticism of Australia’s major banks for failing to pass on the latest official interest rate cut in full. He contends that strong and profitable banks are essential for a strong economy, and he estimates that the sector’s earnings would be $4.5bn-$6bn lower if banks had reduced their mortgage interest rates by 0.75 per cent since June, in line with the Reserve Bank. Bendigo & Adelaide Bank chairman Robert Johanson has also dismissed claims by Prime Minister Scott Morrison that the banks are profiteering by withholding interest rate cuts.

CORPORATES
WILSON ASSET MANAGEMENT, BENDIGO AND ADELAIDE BANK LIMITED – ASX BEN, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET, AUSTRALIAN FOUNDATION INVESTMENT COMPANY LIMITED – ASX AFI, COMMONWEALTH BANK OF AUSTRALIA – ASX CBA, AUSTRALIAN PRUDENTIAL REGULATION AUTHORITY, AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY

We’ve ourselves to blame for paying banks too much

Original article by Adam Creighton
The Australian – Page: 12 : 8-Oct-19

Australia’s banks have attracted widespread criticism for reducing their mortgate rates by about half of the 0.25 per cent official interest rate cut on 1 October. However, banks are entitled to pass on as much or as little of the cash rate cut as they like, and customers can easily switch to another lender if they are dissatisfied. Consumers effectively pay a loyalty tax for remaining with their existing lender; this may be more appropriately called a stupidity tax, as it raises some $6.3bn each year for mortgage lenders. While banks are the biggest beneficiary of the stupidity tax, it is paid across the economy.

CORPORATES
RESERVE BANK OF AUSTRALIA, AUSTRALIAN COMPETITION AND CONSUMER COMMISSION