Pulling In Two Directions – The Property Imperative Weekly 21 Oct 2017

The latest economic and finance data appears to be pulling in two directions, so we discuss the trends.

Welcome to the Property Imperative Weekly to 21st October 2017. Watch the video, or read the transcript!

In this week’s review of the latest finance and property news, we start with data from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare in their newly released report Australian Welfare 2017. This is a distillation of data from various public sources, rather than offering new research.

In the housing chapter, they reinforce the well-known fact that home ownership is falling in Australia, while rates have been rising in a number of other comparable countries. Contributing to this trend overseas, at least in part, they say, are changes in the characteristics of households (including population ageing, household structure, and income and education) and policy influences, such as mortgage market innovations (including the relaxation of deposit constraints, increasing home ownership rates among lower income households, and tax reliefs on mortgage debt financing). In Australia, the steepest decline in home ownership rates across the 25 years to 2013–14 has been for people aged 25–34. This is typically the age at which first transitions into home ownership are made. But, fewer and fewer people in this age group are entering home ownership, with a 21 percentage point decline to just 39% in 2013–14 (compared with 60% in 1988–89). Home ownership rates for people aged 35–44 also fell, but not so much (12 percentage points).

Also, the proportion of home owners without a mortgage has continued to fall, while the proportion of renters has increased. Now more home owners have a mortgage, compared with those who own their property outright. Another fact is the startling gap between the rise in home prices, relative to disposable incomes, creating a barrier to home ownership for many. This gap has been fuelled by rapid house price growth (up 250% since the 1990’s), after the financial system was deregulated, with the total value of Australian housing estimated to be more than $6.5 trillion. Of course, the impact of higher house prices has been partially offset by lower mortgage interest rates, increased credit availability and changes in financial agency practices. These favourable lending conditions and low interest rates have encouraged buyers into the market, despite the growth in house prices themselves. This could all got wrong should mortgage rates rise.

The final piece of data shows that households are getting a mortgage later in life, and holding it longer, often well into retirement. In 2013, 71% of people born between 1957 and 1966 (mainly baby boomers), were financing a mortgage when aged 45–54. This trend is of particular concern as these households’ approach retirement without their home and asset base being paid off. For people looking to retire in the next 10 years, 45% of 55–64-year-olds in 2013 were still servicing a mortgage, compared with just 26% in 1982.

As the recent Citi report emphasises, and using our Core Market Data, the large level of debt outstanding by borrowers aged in their 50s and 60s means many investors will need to sell property to discharge their debts, especially those holding interest only loans. Given that the average age of wealthy seniors is 63 and the average IO debt is $236,400, Citi expressed concern that this cohort will not have enough time to repay the principal “without a significant hit to household cash flows”.

We still think the mortgage underwriting standards are too lose in Australia, as regulators try to balance slowing the market, but not killing the goose which is laying the golden economic egg.  So we found the Canadian regulators intervention in their mortgage market this week significant. There the index of house prices to disposable income has increased 25%, from 2000,  raising the prospect that real estate overvaluation is driving up overall household debt and overextending borrowers. So they tightened serviceability requirements and imposed loan to value limits on lenders.

Good news on housing affordability this week from the HIA, at least for some. Their Housing Affordability index for Australia improved by 0.5 per cent in the September 2017 quarter but still remains 4.4 per cent below the level recorded a year ago. It also showed that while some owner occupied borrowers had seen their mortgage rates drop, many property investors, has seen their rates rise. Sydney remains the least affordable market they say.

Our friends at Mozo wrote a blog post for us on the impact of the APRA changes to mortgage rates, which underscored the movements by type of loan.

More good news from the ABS. The monthly trend unemployment rate decreased by 0.2 per cent over the past year to 5.5 per cent in September, the lowest rate seen since March 2013. The participation rate remained steady at 65.2 per cent, within that male participation rate was 70.8 per cent, while the female participation rate reached a record high of 59.9 per cent. Over the past year, the states with the strongest annual growth in employment were Queensland (4.1 per cent), Tasmania (3.9 per cent), Victoria (3.1 per cent) and Western Australia (2.9 per cent). However, the underemployment trend rate still does not look that flash, especially in TAS, SA and WA, and we have a very high unemployment rate among younger workers as well as a rise in more casual, part-time work. All of this translates to lower wages.

The latest data from S&P showed a small decline in mortgage defaults in August. S&P said arrears decreased in all states and territories except the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) over the month, with noticeable improvements in Australia’s mining states and territories. The Northern Territory recorded the largest improvement, with arrears declining to 1.63% from 1.98% a month earlier. In Western Australia, arrears fell to 2.22% in August from a historic high of 2.38% in July. They still warned of potential risks in the system, especially from higher LVR IO loans written before 2015. And of course, this is looking a selection of securitised loans which may not be typical, and in any case, in most places home price rises mean struggling borrowers should have the capacity to sell and repay the bank. That would change if prices started to fall seriously.

Talking of risks, there were interesting comments from ASIC this week, suggesting that whilst brokers may be having appropriate conversations with their interest only mortgage customers, there was evidence of poor record keeping. This follows the regulator’s announcement they would commence a loan file review, to ensure that consumers are not paying for more expensive products that are unsuitable. Without good documentation brokers and lenders leave themselves open to the charge of making unsuitable loans, which can have significant consequences.

Another indicator of potential risks in the system is the rise in the number of households seeking short term loans from pay day lenders and other providers. Our surveys show that more than 1.4 million of the 9.5 million households in Australia are looking for finance (and it is rising fast as cash flows are stressed). Not all will successfully obtain a loan. We think more than $1 billion in loans are out there, and our research shows that such short term loans really do not solve household financial issues. However, when people are desperate, they will tend to grasp at any straw in the wind, regardless of cost or consequences. We also find these households are within certain household segments, who tend to be less affluent, and less well educated.

The RBA minutes, release this week, did not tell us much more, but contained this morsel. “Members noted that housing loans as a share of banks’ domestic credit had increased markedly over the preceding two decades. APRA intended to publish a discussion paper later in 2017 addressing the concentration of banks’ exposures to housing.  Members also noted that APRA had intensified its focus on Australian banks strengthening their risk culture”.  We can barely contain our excitement at the prospect! A discussion paper later in the year!

CoreLogic’s latest auction clearance results showed there is still demand for property, with a preliminary clearance rate of 70.6 per cent, and increase from last week when the final clearance rate slipped to 64.4 per cent, the lowest clearance rate since January 2016.

Finally, we released our latest flagship report – The Property Imperative, Volume 9. This is available free on request from our web site and is a distillation of our research into the finance and property market, using data from our household surveys and other public data. Whilst we provide these weekly updates via our blog, twice a year we publish a full report. Volume 9 offers, in one place, a unique summary of the finance and property markets, from a household perspective, over more than 70 pages.

What really struck us as we wrote the report was the amount of change in the property and finance sector, with significant regulatory tightening, changes in mortgage pricing and a rotation in mortgage lending. But the underlying facts of high prices, mortgage stress and rising risks in the system appear unchanged. The number of reports highlighting the risks have risen substantially.

Standing back, sure the data is pulling to two directions, with employment higher, auction clearance rates firm and affordability for some manageable. But the bigger picture contains a number of risks, stemming from the divergence of incomes and home prices, the lose lending standards over the past few years, and the risks from the more recent tightening of the rules, at a time when interest rates are more likely to rise than fall. Without a significant rise in incomes in real terms – and we cannot see where this will come from – the risks to growth and financial stability are still not fully understood.

And that’s the Property Imperative to 21st October 2017. Follow this link to request the Volume 9 Property Imperative Report.

Is positive credit reporting a flawed deal?

From Australian Broker.

The move towards more comprehensive credit reporting may be beneficial on the surface, but one legal expert has warned that it will have negative impacts on consumers and won’t solve a root issue in the reporting process.

While regulators and credit providers have been singing the praises of this expanded credit reporting regime, it won’t improve the number of inaccuracies in the data collected by credit reporting agencies, Joseph Trimarchi, solicitor at Joseph Trimarchi & Associates told Australian Broker.

“It’s not their fault,” he noted. “They are the custodians of the systems and the information they collect is the information fed to them by credit providers.”

What is lacking is a more precise method of recording this information, he said.

“What we find is that the level of inaccuracies that exist on credit files hasn’t diminished. Those mistakes are still there.”

This is a systematic issue caused by the way credit reporting has been structured since its inception in Australia. While the Privacy Act legislates credit reporting, it does not have an enforcement arm to ensure information is correct, Trimarchi said.

Around 70-80% of lenders are accurate in their listings, he added, with the remainder causing issues for consumers. These inaccuracies existed prior to comprehensive credit reporting and will exist afterwards, he said.

“The information which is collected and the information which appears on the credit file – be it the limited information that was on there prior to positive reporting or the expanded information which is now there – this needs to be correct, accurate and up-to-date.”

This inaccurate information will provide a skewed version of an individual’s credit history with every single credit agency in Australia, Trimarchi said.

“It’s not about the volume of information going in. It’s the accuracy of that information that needs to be looked at.”

The increased volume of information has another potential impact on consumers, he added, in that minor financial missteps will now be recorded.

“Even if a loan is in arrears for a few days, it still has capacity to be recorded on the credit file. It certainly does help the banks in determining creditworthiness but at the same time it will make it more difficult for a client who’s gone through a little bit of an upheaval in life … that puts them behind by two or three or four weeks before they catch up.”

How lenders will view these cases in future is yet to be determined, he said.

Canada Reinforces Mortgage Underwriting Guidelines

From Moody’s.

On Tuesday, Canada’s Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) published the final version of “Guideline B-20 − Residential Mortgage Underwriting Practices and Procedures,” which mandates more stringent stress-testing for uninsured mortgages. The guideline, which takes effect on 1 January 2018 and applies to all federally regulated financial institutions in the country, is credit positive because it will improve asset quality for Canadian banks.

The guideline sets a new minimum qualifying rate, or stress test, for uninsured mortgages at the higher of the five-year benchmark rate published by the Bank of Canada, the central bank, or the contractual mortgage rate plus 2%. Lenders also will be required to impose and continuously update more effective loan-to-value (LTV) limits and measurements.

A key vulnerability of Canadian banks is the high and rising level of private-sector debt/GDP. Canadian mortgage debt outstanding has more than doubled in the past 10 years (see Exhibit 1) and the index of house prices to disposable income has increased 25% over this period (see Exhibit 2), raising the prospect that real estate overvaluation is driving up overall household debt and overextending borrowers.

OFSI’s action is the latest in a series of macro-prudential measures aimed at slowing house-price appreciation in Canada and moderating the availability of mortgage financing. These measures will address the increasing risk that that growing private-sector debt will weaken Canadian banks’ asset quality. Canada’s growing consumer debt and elevated housing prices threaten to make consumers and Canadian banks more vulnerable to downside risks.

In addition to requiring that all uninsured mortgages be stress-tested against a potential rise in interest rates (high-ratio insured mortgages are already required to meet such tests to qualify for mandatory mortgage insurance), the guideline requires that banks establish and adhere to risk-appropriate LTV limits that keep current with market trends. Additionally, the guideline expressly prohibits banks from arranging with another lender a mortgage, or a combination of a mortgage and other lending products (known as bundled mortgages), in any form that circumvents a bank’s maximum LTV ratio.

Housing prices are at record highs owing to price increases in the urban areas of Toronto, Ontario, and Vancouver, British Columbia. Macro-prudential initiatives dampened volumes and prices in Toronto over the summer, but the effects of similar moves in Vancouver last year appear to be lessening this year as prices regain momentum. We believe that high consumer leverage could result in future asset-quality deterioration in an economic downturn or a housing price correction. Although Canadian banks have demonstrated prudent underwriting standards in the past, this is attributable in part to thoughtful regulatory oversight.

The new guideline follows a consultation period that ended in August. Some industry participants recommended a delay in implementation, cautioning that the combined effect of multiple macro-prudential measures affecting the mortgage market risked unduly depressing the housing market, thereby triggering a severe price correction.

The Property Imperative Volume 9 Report Released Today

The latest and updated edition of our flagship report “The Property Imperative” is now available on request with data to mid October 2017.

This Property Imperative Report is a distillation of our research into the finance and property market, using data from our household surveys and other public data. Whilst we provide weekly updates via our blog, twice a year we publish this report. This is volume 9. It offers, in one place, a unique summary of the finance and property markets, from a household perspective.

Residential property, and the mortgage industry is currently under the microscope, as never before. Around two thirds of all households have interests in residential property, and about half of these have mortgages. More households are excluded completely and are forced to rent, or live with family or friends.

We believe we are at a significant inflection point and the market risks are rising. Many recent studies appear to support this view. There are a number of concerning trends. While household incomes are flat in real terms, the size of the average mortgage has grown significantly in the past few year, thanks to rising home prices (in some states), changed lending standards, and consumer appetite for debt. In fact, consumer debt has never been higher in Australia. As a result, households are getting loans later, holding mortgages for longer, even in to retirement, so household finances are being severely impacted, and more recent changes in underwriting standards are making finance less available to many.

Property Investors still make up a significant share of total borrowing, and experience around the world shows it is these households who are more fickle in a downturn. Many use interest only loans, which create risks downstream, and regulators have recently been applying pressure to lenders to curtail their growth.

Mortgage rates are now higher for Investors and those holding Interest Only loans, while low-risk customers with a Principal and Interest loan should be able to find some amazingly low rates. While mortgage underwriting standards are now tighter, there is an overhang of existing loans which would now fall outside existing underwriting standards. Interest Only loans are especially at risk, not least because rental incomes are being compressed.

We hold the view that home prices are set to ease in coming months, as already foreshadowed in Sydney. We think mortgage rates are more likely to rise than fall as we move on into 2018.

Finally, lenders have been able to repair their margins, under the umbrella of supervisory intervention, and their back book repricing has created a war chest to fund attractor offers.

We will continue to track market developments in our weekly Property Imperative weekly video blogs, and publish a further consolidated update in about six months’ time.

Here is the table of contents.

1 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
 2 TABLE OF CONTENTS
 3. OUR RESEARCH APPROACH
 4. THE DFA SEGMENTATION MODEL
 3 PROFILING THE PROPERTY MARKET
 3.1 Current Property Prices
 4 MORTGAGE LENDING TRENDS
 4.1 Total Housing Credit Is Up
 4.2 ADI Lending Trends Are Suspect
 4.3 Housing Finance Flows
 4.4 The Rise of the Bank of Mum and Dad
 5 HOUSEHOLD FINANCES AND RISKS
 5.1 RBA Financial Stability at Risk
 5.2 IMF Warnings On Growth and Debt
 5.3 Household Ratios Under Pressure
 5.4 Housing Occupancy Costs Are High
 5.5 Households Are Spending More On Basics
 5.6 Savings Are Shrinking
 5.7 DFA Mortgage Stress Rises Again
 5.8 Top Ten Stressed Post Codes
 5.9 More Households Have No Equity
 5.10 Greater Risks from Interest Only Loans
 5.11 The Consumption Crunch 34
 5.12 A Fall in Household Financial Security
 5.13 Mortgage Rates Will Rise – Sometime
 5.14 Defaults Are Down a Little, But Risks Remain
 5.15 Observations
 6 HOUSEHOLDS’ DEMAND FOR PROPERTY
 6.1 Property Active and Inactive Households
 6.2 Cross Segment Comparisons
 6.3 Property Investors
 6.4 How Many Properties Do Investors Have?
 6.5 SMSF Property Investors
 6.6 First Time Buyers.
 6.7 Up Traders and Down Traders
 6.8 Auction Clearances Remain Quite Strong
 7 MORTGAGE UNDERWRITING STANDARDS
 7.1 ASIC Looks at Interest Only Loans
 7.2 APRA Lifts Capital
 7.3 APRA Lifts Underwriting Standards
 7.4 APRA to Regulate Non-Bank Lenders
 7.5 APRA Delays Mortgage Reporting Standards
 7.6 The Impact On Interest Only Loans
 7.7 Standards Are Tighter Now
 7.8 Risks Are Increasing; Standards Still Too Lose
 8 MORTGAGE PRICING
 8.1 It Pays to Haggle
 9 FINAL OBSERVATIONS
 10 ABOUT DFA
 11 COPYRIGHT AND TERMS OF USE

Request the free report [72 pages] using the form below. You should get confirmation your message was sent immediately and you will receive an email with the report attached after a short delay.

Note this will NOT automatically send you our ongoing research updates, for that register here.

ANZ agrees to sell shareholding in Metrobank Card Corporation

ANZ has announced it has entered into an agreement with its joint venture partner Metropolitan Bank & Trust Company (Metrobank) regarding the sale of ANZ’s 40% stake in the Philippines based Metrobank Card Corporation (MCC).

More evidence of its “back to the knitting” strategy.

ANZ has agreed to sell half its 40% stake in MCC to Metrobank1, for US$144 million2 (A$184 million). ANZ has also entered into a put option to sell its remaining 20% stake to Metrobank, exercisable in the fourth quarter of FY18 on the same terms for the same consideration. If exercised, this would deliver a total sale price of US$288 million (A$368 million).

MCC is the leading provider of credit cards in the Philippines with more than 1.5 million cards in force. ANZ’s joint venture with Metrobank, which owns the remaining 60% of MCC, has been a successful financial and commercial transaction since it was formed in 2003:

  • ANZ’s original investment in MCC was A$14 million.
  • Since 2003, ANZ has recognised A$177 million of equity accounted earnings and received A$101 million in dividends.
  • MCC contributed A$34.5 million of equity accounted earnings to ANZ in FY16.
  • The sale of ANZ’s 40% stake (assuming the put option is exercised) represents:
    ‒ An implied P/B multiple of 4.4×4.
    ‒ An expected post-tax gain on sale of approximately A$245m5 and an increase in ANZ’s APRA CET1 capital ratio by 9 basis points in FY2018.
  • Excluding the gain on sale, the ROE and EPS impact to ANZ is broadly neutral.
  • The sale is subject to customary regulatory approvals. Payment for the initial 20% stake would occur post receipt of these approvals.

ANZ Deputy Chief Executive Officer Graham Hodges said: “This has been a highly successful joint venture for both ANZ and Metrobank creating the leading credit card company in the Philippines. The sale makes sense for ANZ given our continued efforts to simplify our business and is also a good outcome for MCC and its card customers given the strength of the business. ANZ remains committed to its institutional business in the Philippines.”

Why non-banks could be the new home for non-resident borrowers

From Mortgage Professional Australia.

Lenders eyeing up wealthy foreigners currently locked out of the banks and developing new processes to combat fraud

Non-resident lending could be set for a return as non-bank lenders become increasingly interested in the sector.

According to La Trobe Financial’s vice president Cory Bannister, “non-resident is a great example of a product that suits non-banks generally.” Speaking at MPA’s Non-Banks Roundtable last week, Bannister said that the low LVRs, low arrears and high net-worth associated with non-resident borrowers made them similar to prime clients.

The banks largely pulled out of non-bank lending in early 2016, citing fears of fraud. However, Bannister believes non-banks can operate safely: “we believe it requires manual assessment and that’s the single characteristic which meant the banks had to step out of that space.”

La Trobe, who have lent to non-residents on and off over the past year, have an international desk with bilingual staff which help ‘weed out’ fraudulent cases.

Growing niche in expat lending

Two other lenders at the panel were already lending to Australian expats: Better Mortgage Management and Homeloans Ltd.

Expats often struggle to find finance at the banks because they earn income abroad and in foreign currencies. BMM’s managing director Murray Cowan told the panel that “I think the expat sector may have been unfairly characterised as the same as non-residents and that might have created a bit of an opportunity for us there.”

Aaron Milburn, director of sales and distribution at Pepper Money, said that although Pepper doesn’t currently lend to non-residents “I wouldn’t discount it for the future.” He noted that Pepper’s international spread helped provide the infrastructure to do so.

Can non-banks handle non-residents?

Non-banks at the panel were concerned however that a return to non-resident lending could lead to a surge in business.

In fact, it could cause volumes to triple ‘overnight’, suggested Homeloans and RESIMAC general manager of third party distribution Daniel Carde. The panel broadly agreed that such a surge would be difficult to deal with. “No business is set up for triple volumes,” argued Liberty’s national sales manager John Mohnacheff “we can probably handle 5-10% variability”.

A note of caution was sounded by FirstMac founder Kim Cannon. “The RBA wants to stop [non-residents buying property]; they don’t want to cure it,” he told the panel. He warned that surge in non-residents getting financed by non-banks would be “treading on dangerous ground” with regulators.

What happened to home loan rates a year on from APRA’s changes

Our friends at Mozo have written a highly relevant blog post for DFA on the impact of the APRA changes.  No wonder, some households are under pressure! And thanks to Mozo for their insights!

There’s been a reasonable amount of ups and downs in home loan interest rates over the last 12 months, especially considering the official cash rate hasn’t changed since August last year. Many of those changes served to draw clear lines between borrower and repayments types, as banks aim to cut back on risky lending after APRA updated regulations earlier in the year. The changes included a 30% cap on new interest-only lending and a mandate for stricter limits on interest-only loans with LVRs above 80%.

And the different interest rate changes between borrowers types have been pretty dramatic. While at one end of the scale, owner-occupiers making principal and interest repayments saw hardly any change, on the other, riskier, end, investors with an interest-only loan – who perhaps saw the biggest changes thanks to APRA’s updated rules – have been hit by the equivalent of more than two typical RBA rate hikes.

Here’s a full breakdown of the movement in different rate types over the 12 months from October 2016 to today.

Owner occupiers making principal and interest repayments – 0.01% increase

People buying their own home and paying off the principal and interest each month have fared the best over the past year, with an increase of just 0.01%, bringing the average rate to just 4.03%.

That’s good news, since according to analysis done by ASIC, the majority of owner occupiers fall into this category. Even better news is that the lowest rate around at the moment for this borrower group is 3.54% – 0.10% higher than it was in October 2016, but still a very competitive offer.

This very minimal rate change over a 12 month period in part reflects the fact that this group is the least risky from a bank’s perspective. Unlike other rate types, there was a pretty even split between the number of lenders who increased rates (30) and those who decreased (33).

Owner occupiers making interest only repayments – 0.25% increase

According to ASIC, one in four owner occupiers have an interest only loan. Unlike loans with principal and interest repayments, in this category there was an undeniable trend toward rate increases, with 40 lenders raising rates, while just 5 lowered them over the 12 month period from October 2016. This points to the extra risk interest only repayments pose for banks.

Borrowers in this category have been hit by an average rate increase of 0.25%, equal to a typical RBA rate hike. The average interest rate went from 4.15% in October 2016, to 4.40% today.

On a $500,000 home loan that change equates to $1,250 of extra interest per year.

Investors making principal and interest repayments – 0.27% increase

Investors are often hit harder by rate increases, and with APRA regulations tightening around new lending to ‘riskier’ borrower types, this year has been no different.

Rates rises for investors making principal and interest repayments were more or less on par with owner occupiers on an interest only loan, with an increase of 0.27%, to 4.61%. That change meant an extra $1,350 in interest over a year long period for those is this rate category.

This is a bit more than the equivalent of a Reserve Bank rate rise, reflecting the level of risk lenders see in investment lending. Again, there was a trend toward increases by lenders (53) rather than decreases (8).

Investors making interest only repayments – 0.53% increase

Where investors making principal and interest repayments saw a little over the equivalent of one typical RBA rate rise in the last 12 months, rates for interest only investor loans went up by an average of 0.53% – or more than two times an RBA rate rise.

There was an overwhelming trend towards lenders increasing instead of decreasing rates in this category as well, with just 1 lowering rates, while 45 hiked.

That brought the average rate from 4.39% in 2016 to 4.92% this year, a change that meant a whopping $2,650 of extra interest paid on average. Not only is this rate increase bigger than that for other borrower types by a pretty large margin, but it also likely affected more people, considering ASIC data found two in three investment borrowers have an interest only loan.

What this means

While the banks have the prerogative to protect themselves against riskier lending by imposing higher premiums, overall I’d argue that the rate changes over the past year have potentially had a negative effect on the wider economy.

Most borrower categories saw rate increases equivalent to one or more Reserve Bank hikes, which can have a significant impact on household budgets – and the economy overall. As more money goes toward home loan repayments and borrowers brace for more rate hikes to come, consumer confidence drops, and the economy starts to stall.

And that’s bad news for everyone, risky home loan or not.

About the Author: After starting his career working for the banks, Peter Marshall has spent the last 15 years helping consumers compare financial products. At Mozo he manages the Data Team which keeps track of banking, insurance and energy products in Australia.

Basel III Implementation Status In Australia

The Basel Committee published its latest status report on Basel III implementation to end-September 2017 – the 13th progress report. This includes a status report on Australia:

There are areas (in red) where the deadline has passed, and as yet plans are not announced. Many other countries have red marks, but it is worth noting the Euro area is ahead of many other regions. Disclose is a major gap in Australia according to the committee.

APRA provided comments on the status.

It also, once again, highlights the complexity in the Basel framework. Here the overall Basel Committee statement summary.

As of end-September 2017, all 27 member jurisdictions have final risk-based capital rules, LCR regulations and capital conservation buffers in force. 26 member jurisdictions have issued final rules for the countercyclical capital buffers and for domestic systemically important banks (D-SIBs) frameworks.

With regard to the global systemically important banks (G-SIBs) framework, all members that are home jurisdictions to G-SIBs have final rules in force. 21 member jurisdictions have issued final or draft rules for margin requirements for non-centrally cleared derivatives and 22 have issued final or draft rules for monitoring tools for intraday liquidity management.

With respect to the standards whose agreed implementation date passed at the start of 2017, 20 member jurisdictions have issued final or draft rules of the revised Pillar 3 framework (as published in January 2015, ie at the end of the first phase of review), 19 have issued final or draft rules of the standardised approach for measuring counterparty credit risk (SA-CCR) and capital requirements for equity investments in funds, and 18 have issued final or draft rules of capital requirements for bank exposures to central counterparties (CCPs).

Members are now striving to implement other Basel III standards. While some members reported challenges in doing so, overall progress is observed since the previous progress report (as of end-March 2017) in the implementation of the interest rate risk in the banking book (IRRBB), the net stable funding ratio (NSFR), and the large exposures framework. Members are also working on or turning to the implementation of TLAC holdings, the revised market risk framework, and the leverage ratio. The Committee will keep on monitoring closely the implementation of these standards so as to keep the momentum in implementing the comprehensive set of the Committee’s post-crisis reforms.

Regarding the consistency of regulatory implementation, the Committee has published its assessment reports on all 27 members regarding their implementation of Basel risk-based capital and LCR standards.

How Much Can Mortgage Holders Really Save By Refinancing?

We showed recently that households with specific post codes may have significantly higher mortgage rates than their neighbours. As a result, significant savings may be made by seeking out a mortgage with a better rate.

Of course households need to be careful, as they may incur transaction costs, and even break costs if the loan is fixed.

But we went though our Core Market Model looking at those who refinanced in the past year. We then calculated the annual savings they had, on average achieved. Here are the results:

The larger the loan, the bigger the potential saving, which is why there are state variations. There were quite big differences between the old rate and new rates, and we incorporated break costs where appropriate.

This again highlights that households should be checking their rates and seeking out better, lower rates. Substantial savings are available, and when we consider the average loan life is more than 5 years, the potential savings are significant.

 

Demand For Short Term Credit Skyrockets

While personal credit, according to the RBA is not rising, as shown from their credit aggregates – to August 2017 – we see a more disturbing trend.

One of the less obvious impacts of flat incomes, rising costs and big mortgages or rents is that more households are under financial pressure, and so choose to turn to various unsecured lenders to tide them through.

Many of these are online lenders, offering instant loans, and confidential settlements. Re-borrowing rates are high, once they are on the hook inside the lenders “portal”.

In our household surveys we asked whether households were likely to seek unsecured credit to assist in managing their finances. Here are the results by state to September 2017. More than 1.4 million of the 9 million households in Australia are in this state (and it is rising fast). Not all will get a loan.

Households in NSW and WA are most likely to seek out other forms of credit. These loans, could be from SACC (Pay Day) lenders, or other sources; but are not reported at all in the official figures.

We think more than $1 billion in loans are out there, and our research shows that such short term loans really do not solve household financial issues. However, when people are desperate, they will tend to grasp at any straw in the wind, regardless of cost or consequences. We also find these households within certain household segments, who tend to be less affluent, and less well educated.

We also think more robust official reporting would help shine a light on the sector, and separate the sheep from the goats!