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02:30:31 pm

The Lowdown On Low-doc Loans

Australia Home-Loan Approvals Drop to 10-Year Low as Rates Deter Buyers

According to a comprehensive survey sponsored by Inside Mortgage Finance and conducted by Campbell Communications, 39 percent of all low-doc borrowers this year are salaried wage-earners, the same percentage as self-employed borrowers. Why do they prefer to go the low-doc route? Survey designer Geosegment Systems of Nashua, N.H., asked a representative national sample of 2,140 mortgage brokers active in the limited documentation field this question and came up with some eye-opening answers. While 63 percent of brokers said they knew their self-employed clients had "unreported income" that they wanted to keep off the record, 71 percent said their borrowers' applications were dependent on additional income "from a household member with poor credit." For example, say a married couple earns $10,000 a month, but one spouse had filed for bankruptcy or lost a house in a previous marriage. Most lenders would want to know about that in order to underwrite the new mortgage and charge an interest rate high enough to cover the added risk. With a low-doc or no-doc loan application, only the spouse with good credit scores would count as the borrower of record.
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Higher interest rates in coming months will keep demand and price growth in check, Matthew Circosta, an economist at Moodys Analytics in Sydney, said before the report. Reserve Bank of Australia Governor Glenn Stevens held the benchmark rate at 4.75 percent this month after boosting borrowing costs seven times from October 2009 to November 2010 to prevent a property-market bubble from forming in a nation where more than two-thirds of households own their homes. Property prices declined in the first quarter by the most since 2008 as floods in the nations east coast disrupted the market and homes listed for sale climbed alongside rates. The total value of loans fell 0.1 percent to A$19.3 billion ($20.4 billion) in March, todays report showed. Owner Occupiers The value of lending to owner-occupiers declined 1.1 percent, the report showed. The value of loans to investors who plan to rent or resell homes advanced 2.1 percent. First-home buyers accounted for 16 percent of dwellings that were financed in March, up from 14.9 percent in February and lower than 16.4 percent a year earlier, the report showed. An index measuring the weighted average of prices for established houses in eight major cities slid 1.7 percent in the first quarter from three months earlier, the biggest fall since the third quarter of 2008, a government report showed May 2. There was a decrease in transactions in Queenslands capital, Brisbane, it said.
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The Australian Democrats 'jump the gun' on low doc loans

While he supports the Senate inquiry, he said that a Royal Commission is not necessary because, for one to be called, "there would have to be massive evidence of systematic low doc fraud". "In our view and on the experience of our members who in the main are mortgage brokers (and comprise about 75 per cent of all mortgage brokers) there is no evidence of this," he said. Naylor said he believes the arrears rate for low doc loans has not performed "materially differently to prime loans", albeit at a rate which is slightly higher due to the greater risk associated with the low doc loans. "Had there been massive fraud it would be reasonable to expect the arrears rate to be going through the roof, and it is not," he said. According to Collyer, of the $14 billion worth of residential mortgage backed securities (RMBS) acquired by the Government since the global financial crisis (GFC), 10 per cent of these might be low doc loans. Naylor said at their greatest penetration pre-GFC, low doc loans made up around 7 per cent of the market.
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