New home loan approvals fall but refinancing is on the rise

Niko Iliakis

12 Jun 2020

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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

    1.99% p.a.variable for 12 months and then 2.48% p.a.

    2.47% p.a.

    $1234

    Product details Close details
    Smart Booster Home Loan

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

    1.99% p.a.variable for 12 months and then 2.48% p.a.

    2.47% p.a.

    A super low introductory rate home loan with no monthly or ongoing fees. Unlimited free redraws and unlimited additional repayments to help you build your equity and own your home sooner. Multiple loan splits available. (Rates revert after introductory period ends). 20% minimum deposit required.

    Smart Booster Home Loan

    A super low introductory rate home loan with no monthly or ongoing fees. Unlimited free redraws and unlimited additional repayments to help you build your equity and own your home sooner. Multiple loan splits available. (Rates revert after introductory period ends). 20% minimum deposit required.

    • $0.00

    • $0.00

    • yes - free

    • yes - free

    • Optional - with 0.10% additional interest

    • $520

    • 1.99% p.a.variable for 12 months and then 2.48% p.a.

    • 2.47% 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

  • UBank
    Mozo Expert Choice Badge

    p.a.

    2.22% p.a.

    $1234

    Product details Close details
    UHomeLoan

    Owner Occupier, Principal & Interest

    p.a.

    2.22% p.a.

    $0 fees and easy application with the Mozo Experts Choice Home Lender Bank of the Year.^ Choose between weekly, fortnightly or monthly repayments. 3 year fixed rates are for new Owner Occupier Principal & Interest loans.

    UHomeLoan

    $0 fees and easy application with the Mozo Experts Choice Home Lender Bank of the Year.^ Choose between weekly, fortnightly or monthly repayments. 3 year fixed rates are for new Owner Occupier Principal & Interest loans.

    • $0.00

    • $0.00

    • yes - free up to $20,000 p.a.

    • no

    • no

    • $395

    • p.a.

    • 2.22% p.a.

    • $395

    • 80.00%

    • $100,000

    • $2,000,000

    • Fixed

    • Principal & Interest

    • Owner Occupier

    • Weekly, Fortnightly, Monthly

    • $395 Establishment fee waived for fixed rate loans that settle by 31 March 2020. Receive 1.75% Receive 1.75% 3 year fixed rate when you apply by 26 February 2021 and settle within 90 days.

    Read our Mozo Review to learn more about the UHomeLoan

    Details Close

  • Athena
    Mozo Expert Choice Badge

    2.19% p.a.

    2.19% p.a.

    $1234

    Product details Close details
    Celebrate Variable Home Loan

    <60% LVR, Owner Occupier, Principal & Interest

    2.19% p.a.

    2.19% p.a.

    Fast online application with no fees. Free extra repayments and redraw facility. Min 40% deposit. Crowned Best New Home Loan for 2020 by the Mozo Experts.^

    Celebrate Variable Home Loan

    Fast online application with no fees. Free extra repayments and redraw facility. Min 40% deposit. Crowned Best New Home Loan for 2020 by the Mozo Experts.^

    • $0.00

    • $0.00

    • yes - free

    • yes - free

    • no

    • $0

    • 2.19% p.a.

    • 2.19% 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

  • Macquarie

    p.a.

    2.53% p.a.

    $1234

    Product details Close details
    Basic Home Loan

    Fixed, Owner Occupier, Principal & Interest, LVR 70-80%

    p.a.

    2.53% p.a.

    Flexible loan structure – create up to six loan accounts with different rate and repayment types. Free redraw from your loan using Macquarie Online.

    Basic Home Loan

    Flexible loan structure – create up to six loan accounts with different rate and repayment types. Free redraw from your loan using Macquarie Online.

    • $0.00

    • $400.00

    • yes - free

    • yes - free

    • no

    • $0

    • p.a.

    • 2.53% p.a.

    • $0

    • 80.00%

    • $150,000

    • $750,000

    • Fixed

    • Principal & Interest

    • Owner Occupier

    • Monthly

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

    Details Close

  • Suncorp

    p.a.

    2.90% p.a.

    $1234

    Product details Close details
    Fixed Home Loan Special Offer Home Package Plus

    Owner Occupier, Principal & Interest, <80% LVR

    p.a.

    2.90% p.a.

    Competitive low rates starting from 1.89% (2.94% comparison rate) 2 years fixed for owner occupiers. No monthly account keeping fees & No loan establishment fee.

    Fixed Home Loan Special Offer Home Package Plus

    Competitive low rates starting from 1.89% (2.94% comparison rate) 2 years fixed for owner occupiers. No monthly account keeping fees & No loan establishment fee.

    • $375.00 yearly

    • $350.00

    • yes - free up to $500 per month

    • no

    • no

    • $0

    • p.a.

    • 2.90% p.a.

    • $0

    • 80.00%

    • $150,000

    • -

    • Fixed

    • Principal & Interest

    • Owner Occupier

    • Weekly, Fortnightly, Monthly

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

    Details Close

^See information about the Mozo Experts Choice Home loans Awards