Genworth FY16 Results Highlight Changing Market Conditions

Lender’s Mortgage Insurer Genworth released their results to December 2016 today. From it, we get insights into the changing nature of the housing market, and also a view of the pressure LMI’s are under.

Genworth reported a statutory net profit after tax (NPAT) of $203.1m, down 10.9% on prior year. After adjusting for the after-tax mark-to-market move in the investment portfolio of $9.1m, underlying NPAT was $212.2m down 19.8% on prior year. The loss ratio was 35.1%, compared with 24% last year. They remain strongly capitalised, and though claims are higher, they declared a final fully franked dividend of $14.00,  a FY16 payout ratio of 67.2%, but down from last half.

Banks are clearly writing less high LVR mortgages, thanks to APRA, and when households default, and are forced to sell, there is sufficient capital appreciation in most properties to avoid a LMI claim due to strong price rises.  The banks, can’t loose! (Remember the LMI protects the bank, not the borrower). However, in regions where prices are falling – for example in the mining belts of WA and QLD, and home prices are falling, claims are up. This does not bode well if home prices were to revere more widely.

Genworth was listed in 2014, but since then has completed share buy-backs to reduce the number of issued shares. Further restructure will simplify the corporate structure in 2017, with a view to driving efficiency. They are the only separately listed LMI in Australia, (the banks have their own LMI captives, and the other player in the market is less transparent).

We will look at the market data they provided first, then look at the drivers of their results more specifically.

Genworth had an in-force portfolio of approximately $324 billion at Dec 2016. Standard LMI accounted for 91% of the book, and Low Doc 5%. 26% of the book relates to Investment loans.

The seasoning picture is interesting.  This shows the evolution of Genworth’s 3 month+ delinquencies (flow) by residential mortgage loan book year, from issue.

The delinquency population by months in arrears aged buckets shows that over the past two years, the mortgagee in possession (MIP) as a proportion of total delinquency is trending down. This is because the strong property market has allowed stressed households to sell and release equity, with no LMI claim.

With regards to the current results, a range of factors influenced the lower outcomes.

New Insurance Written (NIW) fell 18.4% in FY16, to $26.6 billion. Moreover, NIW above 90% LVR decreased 39.8%, and 80-90% LVR fell 17.2%. This reflects changing appetite among lenders for higher LVR business, following regulatory intervention from APRA.

Lower Sales (Gross Written Premium – GWP) fell 24.8% compared to previous period due to the lower number of high loan-to-value (LVR) penetration in the market and a lower LVR mix of business.

The average price for Flow (GWP/NIW) decreased from 1.63% to 1.51% in FY16. However, they got some benefit from premium repricing in the second half.

Lower Revenue (Net Earned Premium) – NEP fell 3.6% reflecting lower earned premiums from current and prior book years.

Higher Net Claims Incurred – Net claims incurred increased by $46.1 m to $158.8m due to an increase in the number of delinquent loans relative to a year ago, and a higher average claim amount.  The performance in QLD and WA is “challenging”, reflecting increased delinquencies, especially in resource exposed regions. NSW and VIC were better performers.  Overall, the delinquency rate rose from 0.38% to 0.46%.

Whilst financial income (interest income and realised and unrealised gains/losses) increased by $18.1 m, to $126.0 m in FY16, the yield on the investment portfolio dropped 3.69%.

Regulatory capital fell from $2,600 m in 2015 to $2,213 m in 2016. CET1 decreased in FY16 mainly reflecting the $250 m of dividends, $202 m capital reduction and $86 m decrease in the excess technical provision, offset by $203 m NPAT. Tier 2 capital decreased following the redemption of $50 m of the $140 m notes issued. The PCA coverage ratio was consistent with FY15.

Increase in delinquencies predicted for 2017

From Australian Broker.

After sitting at historically low levels for 2014 and 2015, the number of mortgage delinquencies rose last year. This signalled the start of a trend which analysts expect to continue throughout the coming 12 months.

S&P Global Ratings’ RatingsDirect noted that arrears increased in 2016 despite low interest rates and stable unemployment rates.

This rise – which commenced in November 2015 and continued until May – was driven by a surge in the rate of under and part-time employment while fulltime employment growth declined.

“When we say they’ve gone up, these are modest increases. It was slightly under 1% a year ago and it’s 1.15% now but clearly there’s a trend. If you’re looking at year-on-year comparisons, these have been moving upwards,” Erin Kitson, primary credit analyst at S&P Global Ratings told Australian Broker.

This trend would persist if the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) increases the cash rate or if lenders continue to move out-of-cycle. Conversely, a drop in rates would see arrears performance trend lower.

“In terms of any meaningful movement, it will largely be driven by what happens with interest rates.”

These predictions are based on the Australian residential mortgage backed securities (RMBSs) that S&P rates, Kitson said. This includes about $140 million worth of loans outstanding.

“So it’s really a bit of a snapshot of the overall mortgage performance. Obviously, it doesn’t include every single loan in the Australian mortgage market.”

Since most of the loans included in these RMBS’s have variable rates, there is a correlation between what interest rates and arrears are doing, she said.

However, Kitson noted that overall numbers of delinquencies are still relatively low with even the 90+ day mortgage arrears around 0.55%.

“Your 90+ day mortgage arrears are a good proxy for default. At 0.55%, that’s still quite a low number. Given that, my opinion is it’s probably not likely to tip over into lots of defaults which then impact the housing market.”

Mortgage holders at greatest risk of rising interest rates and economic changes are those with higher loan to valuation (LTV) ratios as they have less wriggle room and less equity in their home loans, she said.

“If we’re looking at the RMBS portfolio, about 17% of borrowers have an LTV of greater than 80%. Generally in terms of when an economic situation starts to change, that will be felt first on higher LTV borrowers.”

Prime mortgage arrears rise 25% from a year ago

From Mortgage Professional Australia.

Prime mortgage arrears are up 25% from a year earlier, but remain relatively low, a report by S&P Global Ratings shows.

However, the number of prime home loan delinquencies fell in November 2016 from the previous month.

A total of 1.15% of the mortgages underlying Australian prime RMBS were more than 30 days in arrears in November, as measured by Standard & Poor’s Performance Index (SPIN), down from 1.16% in October.

Arrears fell month on month for most originator categories apart from regional banks, which recorded an increase in arrears to 1.88% from 1.85% a month earlier.

Nonbank financial institutions have maintained the lowest arrears, at 0.63%, followed by nonbank originators, at 0.95%, then other banks, at 0.96%. Major bank arrears were unchanged month on month in November.

A $90 Billion Debt Wave Shows Cracks in U.S. Property Boom

From Bloomberg.

A $90 billion wave of maturing commercial mortgages, leftover debt from the 2007 lending boom, is laying bare the weak links in the U.S. real estate market.

It’s getting harder for landlords who rely on borrowed cash to find new loans to pay off the old ones, leading to forecasts for higher delinquencies. Lenders have gotten choosier about which buildings they’ll fund, concerned about overheated prices for properties from hotels to shopping malls, and record values for office buildings in cities such as New York. Rising interest rates and regulatory constraints for banks also are increasing the odds that borrowers will come up short when it’s time to refinance.

“There are a lot more problem loans out there than people think,” said Ray Potter, founder of R3 Funding, a New York-based firm that arranges financing for landlords and investors. “We’re not going to see a huge crash, but there will be more losses than people are expecting.”

The winners and losers of a lopsided real estate recovery will be cemented as the last vestiges of pre-crisis debt clear the system. While Manhattan skyscraper values have surged 50 percent above the 2008 peak, prices for suburban office buildings still languish 4.8 percent below, according to an index from Moody’s Investors Service and Real Capital Analytics Inc. Borrowers holding commercial real estate outside of major metropolitan areas are now feeling the pinch as they attempt to secure fresh financing, Potter said.


The delinquency rate for commercial mortgages that have been packaged into bonds is forecast to climb by as much as 2.4 percentage points to 5.75 percent in 2017, reversing several years of declines, as property owners struggle with maturing loans, according to Fitch Ratings. That sets the stage for bondholder losses.

CMBS Record

Banks sold a record $250 billion of commercial mortgage-backed securities to institutional investors in 2007, and lax lending standards enabled landlords across the U.S. to saddle buildings with large piles of debt. When credit markets froze the following year, Wall Street analysts warned of a cataclysm, with $700 billion of commercial mortgages set to mature over the next decade.

“At the depths of the panic, it was just that: panic,” said Manus Clancy, a managing director at Trepp LLC, a firm that tracks commercial-mortgage debt. “That made people’s future expectations extremely bearish. Extremely low interest rates over the last four or five years have forgiven a lot of sins.”

The CMBS market roared back after an 16-month shutdown, and lenders plowed into real estate as an antidote to skimpy returns for other investments. The cheap loans helped propel property values to record highs in big cities such as New York and San Francisco, alleviating concerns about the mountain of debt coming due.

Credit for property owners has once again become scarce in some pockets. Borrowing costs jumped following the surprise election of President Donald Trump, and Wall Street firms are being more cautious as new regulations kick in requiring them to hold a stake in the mortgages they sell off. Other lenders are scaling back on commitments to property types and locations where problems have gotten harder to ignore.

Struggling Malls

Lenders are taking an increasingly dim view of retail properties — especially malls — as the growth of e-commerce eats into sales at brick-and-mortar stores. Malls tend to have higher loss rates than other property types after a default, increasing the stigma for lenders, according to Lea Overby, an analyst at Morningstar Credit Ratings LLC.

When malls “start to go downhill, if nothing is done to turn the ship around, they plummet,” Overby said. “The fate of some of these malls is very, very uncertain.”

The Sunset Mall in San Angelo, Texas, added a glow-in-the-dark mini golf course in June, part of a nationwide trend of retailers trying to lure customers with experiences they can’t find online. Yet when a $28 million mortgage came due in December, the borrower couldn’t refinance it, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The debt, part of a bond deal sold by Citigroup Inc. and Deutsche Bank AG in March 2007, was handed off to a firm specializing in troubled loans.

A similar storyline is playing out at a 82,000-square-foot (7,600-square-meter) suburban office complex in Norfolk, Virginia, whose tenants include health-care services firms. The borrower stopped making payments on a $20 million loan that comes due next month and can’t refinance the debt, Bloomberg data show.

Representatives for the owners of the properties didn’t respond to phone calls seeking comment on the loans.

Manhattan Tower

Landlords that own high-profile buildings in big cities are faring better. At 5 Times Square, the Manhattan headquarters for Ernst & Young LLP, the owners are close to securing a five-year loan to pay off $1 billion in debt that comes due in March, according to Scott Rechler, chief executive officer of RXR Realty, which owns 49 percent of the building. RXR acquired its stake in the 39-story tower shortly after the building was sold to real estate investor David Werner for $1.5 billion in 2014.

“We are currently reviewing term sheets from a number of institutions and expect to settle on a lender within a week or so,” Rechler said.

Some borrowers chipped away at the maturity wall by retiring their mortgages early in order to take advantage of ultra-low interest rates. At the same time, landlords with the weakest properties have already defaulted, further reducing the pool of loans that need to be refinanced. The maturity wall has been whittled down to about $90 billion from $250 billion in 2008, according to data from Morningstar. The firm estimates that roughly half of the remaining loans will have difficulty refinancing.

S&P analysts are predicting that about 13 percent of real estate loans coming due will ultimately default, up from 8 percent over the past two years, according to Dennis Sim, a researcher at the firm. That’s their base case, but the default rate could be higher, he said.

“There are a lot of headwinds currently — with the interest-rate increase, with the new administration coming in, and also risk retention,” Sim said. “Those three wild-card factors could also play a role in how some of the better-performing loans are able to refinance or not.”

One in five homeowners will struggle with rate rise of less than 0.5%


ONE in five Australians are walking such a fine mortgage tightrope that they could lose their homes if interest rates rise by even 0.5 per cent.

Our love affair with property has pushed Australia’s residential housing market to an eye-watering value of $6.2 trillion.

But as we scramble over each other to snap up property while interest rates are at historic lows, we have gotten ourselves into a bit of a pickle. We might not actually be able to afford funding our affair.

An analysis, based on extensive surveys of 26,000 Australian households, compiled by Digital Finance Analytics, examined how much headroom households have to rising rates, taking account of their income, size of mortgage, whether they have paid ahead, and other financial commitments. And the results are distressing.

It showed that around 20 per cent — that’s one in five homeowners — would find themselves in mortgage difficulty if interest rates rose by 0.5 per cent or less. An additional 4 per cent would be troubled by a rise between 0.5 per cent and one per cent.

Almost half of homeowners (42 per cent) would find themselves under financial pressure if home loan interest rates were to increase from their average of 4.5 per cent today to the long term average of 7 per cent.

“This is important because we now expect mortgage rates to rise over the next few months, as higher funding costs and competitive dynamics come into pay, and as regulators bear down on lending standards,” Digital Finance Analytics wrote.

The major banks have already started increasing their home loan rates this year, despite the market broadly expecting the Reserve Bank to keep the cash rate steady at 1.5 per cent this year.

Just this week NAB upped a number of its owner-occupied and investment fixed rate loans.

“There are a range of factors that influence the funding that NAB — and all Australian banks — source, so we can provide home loans to our customers,” NAB Chief Operating Officer, Antony Cahill, said of the announcement.

“The cost of providing our fixed rate home loans has increased over recent months.”

So as interest rates rise and leave mortgage holders in its dust, it leaves a huge section of society, and our economy, exposed and at risk.


Martin North, Principal of Digital Finance Analytics, said the results are concerning, albeit not surprising.

“If you look at what people have been doing, people have been buying into property because they really believe that it is the best investment. Property prices are rising and interest rates are very low, which means they are prepared to stretch as far as they can to get into the market,” Mr North told

But the widespread assumption that interest rates will remain at historic lows is a disaster waiting to happen, especially in an environment where wage growth is stagnant.

“If you go back to 2005, before the GFC, people got out of jail because their incomes grew a lot faster than house prices, and therefore mortgage costs. But the trouble is that this time around we are not seeing any evidence of real momentum in income growth,” Mr North said.

“My concern is a lot of households are quite close to the edge now — they are not going to get out of jail because their incomes are going to rise. We are in a situation where interest rates are likely to rise irrespective of what the RBA does … There has already been movement up.”

Australia’s wages grew at the slowest pace on record in the three months to September 2016, according to the latest Wage Price Index released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

And as a result Australia’s debt-to-income ratio is astronomical. The ratio of household debt to disposable income has almost tripled since 1988, from 64 per cent to 185 per cent, according to the latest AMP. NATSEM Income and Wealth report.

What this means is that many Australian households are highly indebted, thanks in large part to the property market, without the income growth to pay it down.

“The ratio of debt to income is as high as it’s ever been in Australia and there are some households that are very, very exposed,” Mr North said.


This finding will come as a surprise: young affluent homeowners are the most at risk — it is not just a problem with struggling families on the urban fringe. When it comes to this segment of the market, around 70 per cent would be in difficulty with a 0.5 per cent or less rise. If rates were to hike 3 per cent, bringing them to around the long term average of 7 per cent, nine in ten young affluent homeowners would feel the pressure.

“It is not necessarily the ones you think would be caught. And that’s because they are actually more able to get the bigger mortgage because they’ve got the bigger income to support it.

“They have actually extended themselves very significantly to get that mortgage — they have bought in an area where the property prices are high, they have got a bigger mortgage, they have got a higher LVR [loan-to-valuation ratio] mortgage and they have also got lot of other commitments. They are usually the ones with high credit card debts and a lifestyle that is relatively affluent. They are not used to handling tight budgets and watching every dollar.”

And while the younger wealthy segment of the market being most at risk might not be of that much importance compared to other segments, Mr North said what is concerning is the intense focus on this market.

“Any household group that is under pressure is a problem for the broader economy because if these people are under pressure they are not going to be spending money on retail and the broader economy,” Mr North told

“The banks tend to focus in on what they feel are the lower risk segments and the young affluent sector has actually been quite a target for the lending community in the last 18 months. Be that investment properties or first time owner-occupied properties, my point is there is more risk in that particular sector than perhaps the industry recognises.”


Now an argument is mounting that Australian banks need to toughen up their approach to home lending.

“I think we have got a situation where the information that is being captured by the lenders is still not robust enough. I am seeing quite often lenders willing to lend what I would regard as relatively sporty bets … I’m questioning whether the underwriting standards are tight enough,” Mr North said.

This includes accepting financial help from relatives for a deposit, a growing trend among first home buyers.

“The other thing that I have discovered in my default analysis is that those who have got help from the ‘Bank of Mum and Dad’ to buy their first property are nearly twice as likely to end up in difficulty … It potentially opens them to more risk later because they haven’t had the discipline of saving.” contacted several banks for comment on whether they think a rethink of their underwriting standards is needed. Only one lender, Commonwealth Bank, agreed to comment, but remained vague on the topic.

“In line with our responsible lending commitments, we constantly review and monitor our loan portfolio to ensure we are maintaining our prudent lending standards and meeting our customers’ financial needs. Buffers and minimum floor rates are used when assessing loan serviceability so it is affordable for customers,” a CBA spokesman said in an emailed statement.

But Mr North said something needs to be done before we find ourselves in a property and economic downturn.

“I’m assuming that with the capital growth we have seen in the property market, it will allow people who get into significant difficulty to be able to get out, however, it’s the feedback concern that I’ve got.

“If you have got a lot of people in the one area struggling with the same situation, you might see property prices begin to slip. If we get the property price slip, and we get unemployment rising and interest rates rising at the same time, we have that perfect storm which would create quite a significant wave of difficulty.

“We need to be thinking now about how to deal with higher interest rates down the track. We can’t just say it will be fine because it won’t be,” he told

The Definitive Guide To Our Latest Mortgage Stress Research

We have had an avalanche of requests for further information on our recent research which was published as a series of blog posts over the past couple of weeks. Here is a summary of the findings.

In addition, here is a list of links to each segment, which together provides a comprehensive view of the work. This will all be rolled up into our next Property Imperative Report, to be published in a couple  of months.

Note that a number of people went to our 2015 report – The Stressed Household Finance Landscape, which looks at households and their use of small amount credit contracts, a.k.a. payday lending. This is a separate stream of work.

So here are all the links to each element of the mortgage stress and probability of default analysis, with a short summary and publication date.

So Where Will The Property Market Go In 2017?

Having looked at events in the Property Market in 2016, we now turn to our expectations for 2017. There are many uncertainties which may impact the market, but using our surveys and modelling as a guide, we can make some educated guesses. First, mortgage rates will be higher by the end of 2017 than they …

Posted on December 12, 2016

Mortgage Stress And Probability Of Default Is Rising

We have just finished the December update of our mortgage stress and probability of default modelling for the Australian mortgage market. Our model has been updated to take account of the latest employment, wage, interest rate and growth data, and we look are the current distribution of mortgage stress (can households settle their mortgage repayments, …

Posted on December 17, 2016

Mortgage Stress Covers 18.5% Of Book Value

Containing our latest series on mortgage stress and probability of default, we look further at the distribution of mortgage stress and potential defaults, using data from our household surveys, which includes results up to the middle of December 2016. Building on the data we discussed yesterday, it is worth remembering that the bulk of mortgages …

Posted on December 18, 2016

A Segmented View Of Mortgage Stress and Default

As we continue our series on mortgage stress, using the latest data from our surveys, we look at how stress aligns with our core household and property owning segments. To set the context for this, here are a couple of charts showing the mortgage distribution by income and age bands. The majority of mortgages are

Posted on December 19, 2016

Top 20 Postcodes For Mortgage Stress Across Australia

Now we get to the pointy end of our mortgage stress and default analysis. Today we list the top 20 post codes across Australia where the highest number of households currently in mortgage stress reside. We also reveal our estimate for the number of defaults which we expect to occur in the coming months. It …

Posted on December 20, 2016

New DFA Video Blog – Household Mortgage Stress and Defaults

Using data from our household surveys in this new video blog we discuss the findings from our latest modelling. More than 22% of households are currently in mortgage stress, and 1.9% of households are likely to default. Both are likely to rise next year.

Posted on December 20, 2016

The Full 100 Mortgage Stress Listing

To complete our series on mortgage stress, based on our household surveys, here is the complete list of the top 100 most stressed suburbs, and their relative position on the default list, as at December 2016. Victoria has the highest number of suburbs in the listing. As we discussed yesterday, this is based on the …

December 21, 2016

Mortgage Default Heat Map Predictions

In our last post for 2016 we have geo-mapped the probability of mortgage default by post code across the main urban centres through 2017. You can read about our approach to the analysis here. We start with Sydney, which is looking pretty comfortable. Melbourne is also looking reasonable, though with a few hot spots. Brisbane …

Posted on December 31, 2016

Channel Nine News Does House Prices and Mortgage Defaults

A segment today from Channel Nine featured the latest data on Sydney residential property, and featured data from the Digital Finance Analytics mortgage default heat mapping, as well as the latest from CoreLogic on Home Prices.

Posted on January 3, 2017

Affluent suburbs feel heat from rising property costs

The Australian Financial Review featured the Digital Finance Analytics probability of default modelling today. We discussed our analysis on the blog recently. Property buyers in some of the nation’s swankiest suburbs are among those under most stress keeping up mortgage repayments, according to an analysis by postcode of income and debt levels. The young affluent in plush …

Posted on January 9, 2017

ABC News 24 Does Affluent Mortgage Stress

Here is a segment in which we discuss our latest research into the probability of default modelling in a rising interest rate environment.  We highlight the rise of the “Affluent Stressed” households.

Posted on January 9, 2017

A Cumulative View Of Mortgage Rate Sensitivity

We had significant interest in our recent posts on mortgage rate sensitivity in a rising market. One recurring request was for a cumulative view of rate sensitivity. So today we post these views on a segmented basis, using our master household segmentation.

Posted on January 12, 2017

One in five homeowners will struggle with rate rise of less than 0.5%

From ONE in five Australians are walking such a fine mortgage tightrope that they could lose their homes if interest rates rise by even 0.5 per cent. Our love affair with property has pushed Australia’s residential housing market to an eye-watering value of $6.2 trillion.

Posted on January 18, 2017

Home loan rates heading higher as funding costs rise, competition eases

From The Australian Financial Review. Mortgage rates are set to rise for both fixed and variable rate borrowers this year as global interest rates shoot higher, competition eases and capital rules begin to bite. “Borrowers should assume we are at the bottom of the interest rate cycle – in fact we are probably already past … Continue reading “Home loan rates heading higher as funding costs rise, competition eases”

Posted on 18 January 2017

ABC News 24 Does Household Mortgage Rate Sensitivity

We discussed the mortgage  rate sensitivity analysis we recently completed on News 24 tonight.

Posted on 18 January 2017

Check out our extensive recent media coverage.


ABC News 24 Does Affluent Mortgage Stress

Here is a segment in which we discuss our latest research into the probability of default modelling in a rising interest rate environment.  We highlight the rise of the “Affluent Stressed” households.

For those wanting to read more on our research, this is a link is to a list of all the recent analysis we completed.

Affluent suburbs feel heat from rising property costs

The Australian Financial Review featured the Digital Finance Analytics probability of default modelling today. We discussed our analysis on the blog recently.

Property buyers in some of the nation’s swankiest suburbs are among those under most stress keeping up mortgage repayments, according to an analysis by postcode of income and debt levels.

The young affluent in plush inner suburbs living the high life are more likely to be financially derailed by rising costs than battlers in new estates on the suburban outer fringes, the analysis reveals.

Households in Melbourne’s gilt-edged Toorak, about 8 kilometres south-east of the central business district, where median house prices are $3.5m and $845,000 for apartments, are five times more likely to default on mortgage payments than the national average.

It’s the same probability in Bondi, about 8 kilometres south-west of the central business district, where median prices are about $2.5m for a house and $1m for an apartment.


Other suburbs on Sydney’s North Shore, such as Gordon and Hornsby, are also among the addresses where hundreds of households are on the financial edge of a 30-day default, which is a late mortgage payment.

“Everyone focuses on Western Australia and Queensland but there is a much broader group of households that are closer to the edge and will find it difficult to cope if interest rates go up,” according to Martin North, principal of Digital Finance Analytics, a research company that used 26,000 household surveys to make the predictions.

A late payment demonstrates financial stress and is a long way from an absolute default, or forced sale.

His analysis identifies the amount of headroom households have by stress testing their income against the size of mortgage, whether they have paid ahead and other financial commitments, such as rising fuel, electricity and child minding.

More than 16,000 mainland households are among the nation’s top 20 twenty most vulnerable postcodes and thousands more are at risk of falling behind in payments of interest or principal on their home loan, it finds.

Probability of the top 20 households’ defaulting on mortgage repayments over the next 12 months range from about 3 per cent to 5 per cent, according to the analysis.  A probability rating of more than 2 per cent is “significant”, Mr North said.

Standard & Poor’s Australia, the ratings agency, said most borrowers will stay on top of their mortgage repayments while unemployment levels are relatively stable and interest rates low. Its analysis is based on historical data.

Fixed and variable rates for investors and owner occupiers are rapidly increasing from record lows as the cost of capital funding on international markets has soared in the past two months.

More than 200 mortgage products have increased in the past two months by up to 65 basis points as borrowers recalibrate their loan books in response to a 30 per cent increase in the US 10-year treasury benchmark.

These rises are out-of-cycle to the Reserve Bank of Australia’s (RBA) cash rate movements.

Bankers, such as David Carter, chief executive of Suncorp banking and wealth, are warning rising funding costs is a “trend that is unlikely to change”.

“Generally we expect rates to rise, driven mainly by an expected rise in mortgage rates, as employment and wages growth remain within their current bounds,” said Mr North.

AMP, the nation’s largest financial conglomerate, is the latest to increase rates.

Last Friday (6 Jan) it increased variable interest rates for residential investment loans by 15 basis points for new customers. The same new rate for existing residential investment loans applies from today. (9 Jan)

Most exposed are the young affluent that have taken out large mortgages to pay top prices in an over-heated housing market for houses and apartments, often about inner suburbs where excessive supply is impacting prices.

“Although affluent, many at risk households are grossly over-committed, with little free cash,” Mr North said about young, professional poor-rich in posh inner suburban suburbs of Melbourne and Sydney who are highly leveraged, making minimum repayments and have static income.

“They would be disproportionately impacted by even a small rise,” he said.

Latest RBA analysis shows a sharp rise in debt of about 6.5 per cent over the past year, much higher than income growth.

Latest all-cities average dwelling price from research company CoreLogic, estimates a national increase of nearly 11 per cent in the past 12 months, overwhelmingly concentrated in Sydney, which posted growth of more than 15 per cent, and Melbourne, about 14 per cent.

Western Australia, where house and apartment prices fell by 6 per cent during the past 12 months, dominate the top 20 list of stressed suburbs with nine postcodes, followed by Queensland with six.

Perth real estate agents are forced to provide live entertainment and free coffee to attract bidders to suburban auctions where prices plunged as the mining boom ended.

The DFA analysis shows around 20 per cent of nation’s households would have difficult with a rise of less than 0.5 per cent, another 4 per cent would be troubled by a rise of between 0.5 per cent and 1 per cent and only 35 per cent could cope with a 7 per cent rise.

“The property market will generally still be gaining ground this year, though some regions will be under significant pressure,” Mr North said. “Banks will be seeing losses rising a little, but defaults will remain contained.”

You can listen to my ABC Radio interview for Radio National’s The World Today programme on the same subject.

Channel Nine News Does House Prices and Mortgage Defaults

A segment today from Channel Nine featured the latest data on Sydney residential property, and featured data from the Digital Finance Analytics mortgage default heat mapping, as well as the latest from CoreLogic on Home Prices.


Mortgage Default Heat Map Predictions

In our last post for 2016 we have geo-mapped the probability of mortgage default by post code across the main urban centres through 2017. You can read about our approach to the analysis here.

We start with Sydney, which is looking pretty comfortable.

Melbourne is also looking reasonable, though with a few hot spots.

Brisbane default levels are also benign (though the mining areas are more at risk).

Adelaide shows a few hot spots.

But greater Perth is where we think much of the action will be – plus the mining areas beyond the urban area.

As we discussed, our prediction for 2017 is that the property market generally will still be gaining ground, though some regions will be under significant pressure. Banks will be seeing losses rising a little, but defaults will remain contained.

Thanks to those who followed the DFA blog in 2016. We wish you a peaceful new year. We will be back in 2017 with more intelligent insights.