Low doc loans still available – but not for long

Low Doc home loans where the borrower self certifies their income and ability to repay the loan may disappear from the market when responsible lending rules are introduced next year.

There are currently 58 low doc loan products available from 32 lenders according to Infochoice. Rates on low doc loans range from 5.38 per cent to 8.49 per cent, compared to 6.2 per cent or 6.3 per cent for a standard variable loan with a big four bank.

The head of mortgages at Bankwest, Dean Gillespie, says the demand for low-doc loans has remained constant but Bankwest, like others, has increased scrutiny of applications.

“We are asking more questions. We are wanting to see their ABN, that they're registered for GST, to see that they're a legitimate low-doc borrower.”

Credit ombudsman Raj Venga says lenders will soon have to comply with “responsible lending” rules requiring them to determine that a loan is “not unsuitable”.

“I think it will make it very hard to have a low-doc loan,” he says.

The responsible lending laws apply to non-bank lenders from July 1 and to banks from mid-2011.

Source: Sydney Morning Herald