Home buyers urged not to wait for LVR lift

By Tamsyn Parker

Home buyers are being urged not to wait for the Reserve Bank to lift lending restrictions on banks. Photo/ Dean Purcell.
Home buyers are being urged not to wait for the Reserve Bank to lift lending restrictions on banks. Photo/ Dean Purcell.

Don't wait until the restrictions have come off the banks to ask for a home loan if you can buy now - that's the message from mortgage brokers and banking experts.

Deputy Reserve Bank governor Grant Spencer signalled last week that loan to value restrictions on banks could be lifted by the end of the year.

Since October all banks have had a 10 per cent cap on new lending to home-buyers with a deposit of less than 20 per cent driving many first home buyers away from the market.

But experts say those who wait for the restrictions to come off face higher interest rates and potentially higher house prices - especially in Auckland.

Jeff Royle, a mortgage broker for iLender, said waiting could be an expensive option.

"If you look at a house worth $500,000 now in six months time it could be $525,000."

Figures released by the Real Estate Institute last week showed the number of houses selling in April fell 20 per cent compared to April last year.

But prices have continued to rise with the national median sales price up 10.7 per cent, mostly driven by the Auckland market.

Royle said in his view the sales decline in April was a "blip" caused by the long Easter holiday break.

"In my view the Auckland market is roaring away."

And he doesn't see that changing any time soon.

Royle said there were still not enough houses being built to satisfy demand in Auckland.

"There are 65 people a day moving into the city.

"The pressure on the housing market has got nothing to do with not being able to get a 95 per cent loan."

Massey University banking expert David Tripe said the other concern for those who waited was rising interest rates.

"Interest rates will be higher meaning the cost of the mortgage will be more. You can't fix the rates now for a mortgage you want to take out in six months time."

The official cash rate has already risen half a percentage point from 2.5 to 3 per cent.

Tripe said he expected it to go up to 3.5 per cent by the end of the year.

Floating mortgage rates are around 6.25 per cent at the moment but could go up to 6.75 per cent by then to reflect the increase.

Tripe said banks had the capacity to lend more to low deposit borrowers but were not seeing people come through their doors.

"There is no harm in asking."

Karen Tatterson, a mortgage broker with Loan Market, said lending restrictions had "put the fear of god" into a lot of people but if they were in a position to go ahead now they should.

"There are probably less people looking which puts them in a better place."

Tatterson said despite people's fears it was still possible to get a loan for people who only had a 10 per cent deposit.

"If you have 10 per cent or more I think it is worthwhile going to speak to a professional adviser. There are ways and means people can buy a house.

"It's worth seeing an adviser. They should be able to come up with a strategy to enable that person to buy in the future and they might be surprised and find they are in a position to go now."

Tatterson said there was a lot of information that the average first home buyer did not have around Welcome Home loans, first home buyer subsidies and KiwiSaver.

- NZ Herald

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