Property Buzz

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ASIC slams lenders for subpar hardship support; Why high interest rates are not proving to be a deterrent to buying; and auctions lose momentum

Welcome to Property Buzz! I’m Juliet Helmke. Today is Tuesday, 21 May.

– The Australian Securities and Investment Commission has warned lenders to improve their financial hardship assistance services or face enforcement action.

– A new report from the regulator found that 35 per cent of holders seeking hardship assistance dropped out of the application process due to its complexity, and 40 per cent fell into arrears after the assistance period ended.

– ASIC Chair Joe Longo criticised lenders for ignoring hardship notices and abandoning customers in need, stating that the regulator will be looking for change from the industry, and the regulator will take action into its own hands if necessary. 

– The report also highlighted lenders’ failures to identify customers under financial stress and their use of generic approaches to hardship requests, with ASIC Commissioner Alan Kirkland urging lenders to prioritise customer needs.

– And a recent survey by InfoTrack has found that 1 in 3 recent buyers said interest rates ‘did not influence’ their decision, showing why home prices are continuing to climb despite the economic climate.

– While high property prices were cited by some as one of the challenges to home ownership, many reported that desperation to get onto the property ladder – and escape rapidly rising rents – outweighed their anxiety about high interest rates.

– High rates were more likely to influence the type of property purchased, rather than the decision to purchase at all, with some buyers having to compromise on size, dwelling type, and location.

– And looking at the week in auctions, volumes fell last week with 2,086 properties going under the hammer, down from 2,237 the previous week, according to Corelogic’s Property Market Indicator Summary.

– The preliminary auction clearance rate also decreased to 71 per cent from nearly 73 per cent the previous week, matching the lowest rate seen this year, which occurred during the week ending with Easter.

– Melbourne had the most auctions with 967 homes hitting the block, while Sydney came in second with 725 properties up for auction.

– Corelogic predicts auction volumes will rise slightly in the coming weekend, with around 2,200 homes scheduled for auction. Whether the clearance rate will follow remains to be seen.

That’s Property Buzz for today. 

See you again tomorrow, 22 May, for your daily dose of Property Buzz.

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