Homebuyers lock in fixed rate loans

Record numbers of homebuyers have opted for fixed-interest home loans since the Reserve Bank began raising interest rates. In November, 15.2 per cent of the 19,200 loans refinanced were for fixed rate home loans for two years or more. A record 32.7 per cent of all loan approvals in November were for the refinancing of existing mortgages while a record low of 13.1 per cent of the month's loans went to first-home buyers. Overall, finance for housing fell 3.9 per cent in November after a 1.3 per cent decline in October. Financing for both established homes and new houses decreased. Economists interpreted the figures as a sign that the housing market has slowed but were divided as to whether this would prevent a further rate rise in February.