New home loan approvals fall but refinancing is on the rise

Niko Iliakis

12 Jun 2020

Lending activity down content

The number of home loan approvals slipped 4.8% in April to $18.6 billion, according to recent data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), the largest month-on-month decline since May 2015

Low confidence, fragile finances, and outright bans on auctions and open home inspections saw mortgage approvals fall by 5% to $13.7 billion for owner occupiers, and 4.2% to $4.8 billion for investors.

However, the ABS noted that the overall drop in lending activity was tempered by a backlog of applications from March, which took longer than usual to process due to disruptions caused by the coronavirus outbreak. 

Momentum has slowed for first home buyers too. Though they make up around a third of all owner occupied home loan commitments, mortgage approvals among the cohort pulled back by 3.8%. 

While the fall in new commitments was smaller than expected, lending activity is expected to remain depressed in the months ahead as the current economic crisis weighs on households’ finances and appetite for debt.

RELATED: Will young Australians be able to get a foot in the door?

But things haven’t been so downbeat for existing mortgage holders, who are taking advantage of record low interest rates to switch to better deals. Over the month, $7.9 billion of owner occupier home loans were refinanced, an increase of 50% from last year.

The current rate setting has fueled intense competition among lenders. Before the RBA cut official interest rates back in March, the average variable rate on a $400,000 loan (owner occupier, 80% LVR) sat at 3.68% p.a. By June that number had fallen to 3.43% p.a.

Fixed rates have seen an even sharper drop. In March, the average 2-year fixed home loan rate was 3.14% p.a. It now sits at 2.59% p.a. — a difference of 55 basis points.

If you’re paying too much on your mortgage and are looking to refinance to a cheaper loan, be sure to visit our home loan comparison page for an overview of what’s available, or browse the selection below.

Refinance home loans

Rates updated daily. Advertiser disclosure.

  • loans.com.au
    Mozo Expert Choice Badge" style="width:60px;">

    1.85% p.a.variable for 24 months and then 2.25% p.a.

    2.21% p.a.

    $1234

    Product details Close details
    Smart Booster Home Loan

    2 Year Discounted Variable Rate, Owner Occupier, Principal & Interest, <80% LVR

    1.85% p.a.variable for 24 months and then 2.25% p.a.

    2.21% p.a.

    New super low introductory rate home loan for two years. Min 20% deposit. No monthly or ongoing fees. Fast settlement times. Mozo award-winning online lender. Friendly, local Australian based team.

    Smart Booster Home Loan

    New super low introductory rate home loan for two years. Min 20% deposit. No monthly or ongoing fees. Fast settlement times. Mozo award-winning online lender. Friendly, local Australian based team.

    • $0.00

    • $0.00

    • yes - free

    • yes - free

    • Optional - with 0.10% additional interest

    • $520

    • 1.85% p.a.variable for 24 months and then 2.25% p.a.

    • 2.21% p.a.

    • $520

    • 80.00%

    • $50,000

    • $1,000,000

    • Variable

    • Principal & Interest

    • Owner Occupier

    • Weekly, Fortnightly, Monthly

    Read our Mozo Review to learn more about the Smart Booster Home Loan

    Details Close

  • Athena
    Mozo Expert Choice Badge" style="width:60px;">

    1.99% p.a.

    1.99% p.a.

    $1234

    Product details Close details
    Celebrate Variable Home Loan

    <60% LVR, Owner Occupier, Principal & Interest

    1.99% p.a.

    1.99% p.a.

    Fast and efficient online application. Automatic discounts as loan is paid down. Free extra repayments and redraw facility. Zero fees. Min 40% deposit required. Winner of three Mozo Expert's Choice Awards for 2021.

    Celebrate Variable Home Loan

    Fast and efficient online application. Automatic discounts as loan is paid down. Free extra repayments and redraw facility. Zero fees. Min 40% deposit required. Winner of three Mozo Expert's Choice Awards for 2021.

    • $0.00

    • $0.00

    • yes - free

    • yes - free

    • no

    • $0

    • 1.99% p.a.

    • 1.99% p.a.

    • $0

    • 60.00%

    • $100,000

    • $2,000,000

    • Variable

    • Principal & Interest

    • Owner Occupier

    • Weekly, Fortnightly, Monthly

    Read our Mozo Review to learn more about the Celebrate Variable Home Loan

    Details Close

  • HSBC

    p.a.

    2.87% p.a.

    $1234

    Product details Close details
    Fixed Rate Home Loan Home Loan Package

    Owner Occupier, Principal & Interest, LVR <80%

    p.a.

    2.87% p.a.

    Ability to split your home loan between Fixed and Variable. Dedicated Relationship Manager. Min 20% deposit. Refinancers borrowing $250,000 or more could receive $3,288 cashback (T&Cs, eligibility and lending criteria apply).

    Fixed Rate Home Loan Home Loan Package

    Ability to split your home loan between Fixed and Variable. Dedicated Relationship Manager. Min 20% deposit. Refinancers borrowing $250,000 or more could receive $3,288 cashback (T&Cs, eligibility and lending criteria apply).

    • $390.00 yearly

    • $300.00

    • yes - free up to $10,000 p.a.

    • no

    • no

    • $270

    • p.a.

    • 2.87% p.a.

    • $270

    • 80.00%

    • $500,000

    • $7,500,000

    • Fixed

    • Principal & Interest

    • Owner Occupier

    • Weekly, Fortnightly, Monthly

    • Receive $3,288 cashback when you refinance an existing home loan of $250,000. Must apply by 31 December 2021 and settle by 28 February 2022.

    Read our Mozo Review to learn more about the Fixed Rate Home Loan

    Details Close

  • Macquarie

    p.a.

    2.19% p.a.

    $1234

    Product details Close details
    Basic Home Loan

    Fixed, Owner Occupier, Principal & Interest, LVR<70%

    p.a.

    2.19% p.a.

    No upfront or ongoing fees. Free extra repayments and redraw facility. Option to earn Qantas points. Min 30% deposit required. Borrow up to $750,000.

    Basic Home Loan

    No upfront or ongoing fees. Free extra repayments and redraw facility. Option to earn Qantas points. Min 30% deposit required. Borrow up to $750,000.

    • $0.00

    • $400.00

    • yes - free

    • yes - free

    • no

    • $0

    • p.a.

    • 2.19% p.a.

    • $0

    • 70.00%

    • $150,000

    • $750,000

    • Fixed

    • Principal & Interest

    • Owner Occupier

    • Monthly

    Read our Mozo Review to learn more about the Basic Home Loan

    Details Close

  • Yard
    Mozo Expert Choice Badge" style="width:60px;">

    1.99% p.a.

    2.02% p.a.

    $1234

    Product details Close details
    Variable Home Loan Special

    Owner Occupier, Principal & Interest, LVR <70%

    1.99% p.a.

    2.02% p.a.

    Special rate applies to home loan applications submitted by 31 October 2021. Unlimited additional repayments, free redraw, 100% offset account. 30% deposit required. Simple online application. Low Cost Home Loan winner in the Mozo Expert's Choice Awards for 2021.

    Variable Home Loan Special

    Special rate applies to home loan applications submitted by 31 October 2021. Unlimited additional repayments, free redraw, 100% offset account. 30% deposit required. Simple online application. Low Cost Home Loan winner in the Mozo Expert's Choice Awards for 2021.

    • $0.00

    • $500.00

    • yes - free

    • yes - free

    • Optional - $10 per month

    • $530

    • 1.99% p.a.

    • 2.02% p.a.

    • $530

    • 70.00%

    • $150,000

    • $5,000,000

    • Variable

    • Principal & Interest

    • Owner Occupier

    • Weekly, Fortnightly, Monthly

    • Special rate applies to home loan applications submitted by 31 October 2021.

    Read our Mozo Review to learn more about the Variable Home Loan Special

    Details Close

^See information about the Mozo Experts Choice Home loans Awards