Don’t worry about falling off a cliff – our financial markets are stable – ANZ

Don’t fear the financial cliff.

We were initially told that Australia’s economy is heading for a financial cliff when government subsidies were to be cut back from September.

Property 2Remember…home loan repayment holidays were also set to stop in September but then the banks have extended them to March for customers still suffering a cash crunch.

And now some of the property pessimists are saying we’ve just kicked the can down the road and the housing market will be in trouble next year.

Not so according to ANZ Senior Economist Felicity Emmett in the latest research bulletin by the ANZ Bank which suggests the housing sector looks to be turning a corner according to

Here’s what the research bulletin said:

Housing debt is up, but so are savings

While high housing debt may pose a risk next year in light of expected higher unemployment rates, the spike in household savings in Q2, particularly by indebted owner occupiers, suggests many households have increased their mortgage buffers.

On average, owner occupiers were less likely than renters to lose income and employment through the pandemic downturn.

Mortgage deferrals are falling

The number of deferred mortgages is falling quickly.

MortgageAt the peak, 11% of mortgages (by value) were on deferred payments.

As of September, APRA reports that this had fallen to 7%.

With the bulk of loan deferrals expiring in October, this number has fallen further.

Victoria has the highest rate of deferral, while NSW is closer to the national average.

Housing arrears have risen, but only a little

Housing arrears in Australia have risen to around 1.2%.

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This is only 0.2ppt higher than September last year.

ANZ 90+ day arrears data show that Victoria and NSW arrears rose modestly between March and September, but arrears rates in other states have declined through the same period.

RBA research suggests that housing arrears could rise to 2% as mortgage deferrals expire and unemployment continues to rise.

Our view is that accommodative lender measures and a lower peak in the unemployment rate will mitigate this risk.

Lower servicing costs will reduce stability risks

The very low cash rate (0.1%) and increasing use of lower fixed rates for mortgages has eased mortgage servicing costs for many households.

Low interest rates, combined with deferrals and fiscal support including tax cuts, is likely to mitigate the labour market risks for financial stability in 2021.

Owner occupiers have increased their buffers

Strong increases in saving rates by indebted owner occupiers suggest that many households now have significant buffers.

Household Saving

Deferred loans are falling as a share of total mortgage debt

The bulk of mortgage deferrals are likely to have already expired.

Lenders are likely to offer further support for owner occupier mortgage holders, and significant forced selling is unlikely.

Value Loans


Arrears rates outside Vic and NSW have fallen

Fiscal support, monetary easing and mortgage deferrals have mitigated the arrears risk through the pandemic downturn.

While average arrears rates in Vic and NSW have risen this year, arrears in other states have fallen.

Vic has the highest share of deferred mortgages, but NSW is closer to the average across the states.

Arrears Rats

Deferred Mortgages

Arrears rates are up modestly to date

Housing arrears in Australia have risen to around 1.2%, only 0.2ppt higher than September last year.

Fiscal and monetary support, alongside mortgage deferrals has helped limit the rise in arrears rates to date.

Bank House Loans

Arrears Rates


More deferred mortgages are held by “riskier” customers

Borrowers who work in pandemic-hit industries were more likely to defer mortgages than other types of households.

RBA research suggests that housing arrears may rise to 2% as these mortgage deferrals expire and unemployment continues to rise.

However, we think it is more likely that loan restructures and other lender forbearance measures could mitigate this risk.

How risky is Australian household debt? High debt largely reflects high ownership, but risks to the consumption outlook remain.

Global Household

Source: ANZ Research – Housing: A strong 2021 -16th November 2020

Now is the time to take action and set yourself for the opportunities that will present themselves as the market moves on


If you’re wondering what’s ahead for property you are not alone.

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