Loan arrears dropping as rates fall
Market watch top headlines
SYDNEY, Dec 27 AAP
December 27 2012, 2:49PM
Interest rate cuts have pushed the number of people falling behind in their home loan repayments to the lowest level in more than 12 months.
The percentage of residential mortgage loans more than 30 days in arrears fell to 1.35 per cent in the September quarter, ratings agency Standard & Poor's said in its latest RMBS Performance Watch report.
The result was down from 1.5 per cent in the previous quarter and the lowest level since October 2011, the report said.
"This suggests the progressive lowering of interest rates during the past year is taking effect," S&P said in a statement.
In 2012, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) delivered 125 basis points of interest rate relief for borrowers, sending the cash rate to three per cent - its lowest level since the height of the global financial crisis in 2009.
Some economists were forecasting further cuts in 2013, which should bring further easing in borrowing rates even though Australia's banks have not been passing on the RBA moves in full.
On a state-by-state basis, the S&P report found Queensland had 1.63 per cent of loans behind in their repayments by more than 30 days, the highest level in the country.
Although this was down from 1.82 per cent in the previous quarter, the report warned that recent moves from the Queensland government to slash public sector jobs and the slowdown in mining investment in the state could affect arrears.
Next highest was Western Australia at 1.6 per cent and Tasmania at 1.58 per cent.
In terms of specific suburbs, the Nelson Bay area north of Newcastle in NSW, had the highest arrears of all Australian postcodes.
S&P said Australia's economic outlook "bodes well for a stable housing-loan market" in 2013.
"This is particularly the case because the demand for housing remains unmet by the supply of available housing stock," the report said.