Trending Financial News 26 September 2019

Sydney no longer Australia’s most expensive housing market

Sydney has lost its title as Australia’s most expensive city for homes to Byron Bay, population 30,000. Byron Bay now has the highest median house price in Australia according to realestate.com.au. The previously sleepy tourist destination has become an up-market residential area due to the growth in multi-million dollar mansions.

The median house price in Byron Bay is $987,500, compared with Sydney’s $900,000. The Melbourne average median house price was $650,000 last quarter.

Frydenburg urges banks to lend

The Treasurer Josh Frydenberg will call for “appropriate” adherence with responsible lending rules in a speech today reports the Australian Financial Review. 

The treasurer will call for “personal responsibility and personal accountability” by borrowers. Frydenburg will also tell banks be reasonable in applying stronger responsible lending rules.

“If responsible lending laws are applied too stringent, they will negatively impact consumer behaviour.”

The corporate regulator, ASIC, has been consulting with banks and other lenders for months about responsible lending rules and how loan applicants are assessed and approved for credit.

Home loan borrowing rules drive mortgage demand

Australian financial regulators noted on Monday that home loan approvals been ‘weak’ but “loan approvals have picked up recently.”

Moody's Investors Service expects loan rules to remain strict. Moody’s reported this week that “banks will maintain stringent underwriting practices.”

Anna Bligh, chief executive of the Australian Banking Association warned that strict serviceability rules could lead to perverse outcomes. The ABA said “a more prescriptive approach may result in delays in obtaining credit, increases in the cost of credit and limit consumers’ ability to change credit providers.”

ANZ leads on cardless cash

ANZ Bank’s cardless cash offering uses contactless Paywave readers at ATMs to issue cash through Apple Pay or other mobile wallets.

The other two big banks to offer cardless cash withdrawals at ATMs are Commonwealth Bank and the Westpac Group – Westpac, Bank of Melbourne, St George Bank and BankSA. Both CBA and Westpac’s cardless cash function uses unique codes sent to user’s mobile phones via SMS and/or app message.

Read more about cardless cash at InfoChoice.

LMI with monthly premiums

Big mortgage insurer, Genworth, has released a new Australian-first LMI product that charges borrowers in monthly instalments rather than one up-front lump sum.

Genworth Mortgage Insurance CEO Georgette Nicholas said the new product would “address the increasing demand for “entry level” first homes which are held for less than five years.”

“Our new monthly premium LMI provides borrowers with the flexibility to refinance at a later date,” said Georgette Nicholas. Read more about Lenders Mortgage Insurance at InfoChoice.

Aussie homebuyers benefit from Trump’s twitter tirade

The President of the USA, Donald Trump has been urging the US Federal Reserve to cut interest rates.

“The Federal Reserve should get our interest rates down to ZERO, or less,” the president tweeted last week.

“The USA should always be paying the lowest rate.

“No Inflation! It is only the naïveté of (US Federal reserve chairman) Jay Powell and the Federal Reserve that doesn’t allow us to do what other countries are already doing.

Last week the US Federal Reserve delivered a 0.25 per cent rate cut. The RBA’s governor Dr Philip Lowe noted the US rate cut on Tuesday and raised expectations of an Aussie rate cut for next week.

The RBA “is prepared to ease monetary policy further if needed to support sustainable growth in the economy,” said Dr Lowe.

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