First home buyers, mortgage deferrals, electric vehicles: This week’s best banking news

young first home buyers looking at bank statement
  • COVID-19 delays first home buyers’ plans to secure a property 
  • ASIC lays out expectations for mortgage deferral deadlines 
  • Over half of drivers willing to purchase an electric vehicle
  • Super early access: how some Australians are misusing their money  
  • AUD jumps up again! 
  • Would-be travellers opting to spend on eating out instead

All in this week’s best banking news recap: editor’s pick. 

First home buyers: 52% delay jumping into the property market due to COVID-19

Over half of first home buyers have been delayed in purchasing a property as a result of the global pandemic. 

This is according to fresh research by Gateway Bank which found that 52% have experienced a setback in their hunt for a home, while a further 16% have put their plans on hold indefinitely.

Alarmingly, the stats also showed that of the 700 Aussies surveyed, 45% dipped into their deposit savings to cover everyday expenses. In addition, 17% made withdrawals to help support their family financially. 

Read full article:
Property buyers delay plans due to COVID-19, finds Gateway Bank to hear from Gateway Bank chief executive officer, Lexi Airey. 

ASIC instructs lenders as mortgage deferral deadline approaches

Over 800,000 Aussies have deferred mortgage repayments since COVID-19 support started in March, according to the Australian Banking Association’s (ABA) July stats. 

But as September approaches, so does the deadline for many of these loan deferrals - meaning customers will have to start making regular repayments again. 

Australian corporate regulator ASIC has released a guidance on what it expects from home loan lenders as these deferral expiries get closer. Here are a some of ASIC’s instructions: 

  • Lenders must contact customers before expiry date. 
  • Customers must be offered a clear outline of their payment obligation moving forward and assistance where required. 
  • Lenders must contact customers who cannot afford their old repayments directly and assess the situation thoroughly.

Read full article: Mortgage deferral deadline: ASIC lays out expectations as September nears for more of ASIC’s outline to lenders.  

Drivers charged up for electric vehicles but still in small number

couple buying electric car from dealership

The recent State of Electric Vehicle Report 2020 unveiled that a massive 3,266 electric vehicles (EVs) were purchased at the beginning of this year. Plus, 56% of Aussies would consider buying one as their next car. 

And when it comes to sustainability, Australian drivers also have that in mind. The report showed that 45% of respondents claimed they’d use renewable energy to power the car, such as solar power from their rooftop (31%) or green power sources (14%). 

However, the adoption of EVs is still relatively slow. In 2019, EVs only accounted for a low 0.6% of vehicles purchased. 

Read full article:
Aussies ready for electric vehicles but stuck in neutral and find out what chief executive of the council, Behyad Jafari says about the latest figures. 

Aussies are misusing their early access super money

Aussies have collectively withdrawn over $31 billion from their superannuation funds since the government granted early access as a form of COVID-19 support. 

But the truth is, not everyone who withdrew necessarily needed the extra cash injection. 

In fact, 38% of people who accessed their funds didn’t experience a drop in income, according to financial data and analytic company Illion. Plus, an additional 21% received a pay rise, as well as dipping into their superfund. 

The report also revealed that 64% of people were spending their super on discretionary items such as clothing, furniture, eating out and alcohol. However, essential spending also saw a jump from 22% to 24% between the two rounds of early super access. 

Read full article:
Some Australians are misusing their early access super and see who early access to super will impact the most. 

Australian dollar holds ground as it hits another high

young woman on laptop making international money transfer

Although many feared the Aussie dollar would crash, it has remained solid and gained strength against the US dollar. 

Late last month, the AUD cracked 70 US cents for the first time in 15 months, and has been steady since then. 

On Wednesday, the AUD/USD exchange rate was at 0.724699 (about 72 US cents to an Australian dollar). When compared to mid-March levels at 55 US cents and even pre-pandemic levels at 66 US cents, it exceeds both numbers. 

OFX’s head of Australia and New Zealand, Michael Judge, attributes the positive trend in part to the weakened US dollar as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Read full article:
Aussie dollar hits another high: what are my best money transfer moves? for more from Michael Judge and to check out how to protect your international money transfer.  

Aussies move spending from travel to food 

As many would-be jetsetters hang up their sight-seeing shoes, a bunch have turned to eating out instead. 

This is according to Toluna’s ongoing COVID-19 Barometer that reveals that people living in non-lockdown states plan to eat out more over the coming months. In particular, 60% of those living in WA say they intend to visit local cafes and restaurants in the near future. 

So instead of hitting up Parisian cafes in the Euro summer sun, they’ll opt for options closer to home, as well as spend more money at local hairdressers, salons, cinemas and gyms. 

Read full article:
Aussies spend on eating out given no overseas travel

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