Windermere first home buyers countering bank lending approval ‘crackdown’

Recent first home buyers at Country Garden Australia’s ‘Windermere’ masterplanned house and land community are countering the perception of a gloomy property market deriving from the ‘crackdown’ on home loan pre-approvals. Despite a softening in housing approvals owing to mortgage brokers’ commission-led business models facing a wave of scrutiny – including from the Productivity Commission, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, and the Royal Commission into financial misconduct – February saw an increase in lending commitments across the country.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, despite tougher assessments of mortgage customers, lending commitments to households actually rose 2.6% in February 2019, driven by new lending for owner occupier dwellings (up 3.4%).

Lending commitments made to owner occupier first home buyers (seasonally adjusted) rose 1.8% in February 2019. This outpaced the growth in the number of lending commitments made to non-first home buyers (up 1.6%).

This trend has been confirmed by buyers at Windermere, who are finding obtaining pre-approvals for bank finance easier than expected – countering some of the more dire recent predictions for Australian property buyers.

First home buyers Nadine Manzella and Vanessa Russo secured finance pre-approval through a broker and are waiting for settlement, when the bank will release the funds.

Their broker secured the pre-approval within a week and the couple will also take advantage of the $10,000 First Home Owner’s Grant.

“I run my own part-time business from home, while Vanessa works full-time for the government – I’m really looking forward to having an office in our new home,” said Nadine.

“We were surprised how quickly and easily we received this pre-approval – even though our broker said we shouldn’t run into any problems, we were relieved when he said it had been approved, given the issues around securing finance that everyone’s talking about.

“Still, it will be a relief when we get the formal approval closer to settlement.”

Emily Leonard and her partner Brandon Jackson paid their 5% deposit after falling in love with Windermere’s future schooling options, parklands and shopping amenity, and after realising it was a highly affordable alternative for the area.

“It took our broker less than 10 days to get pre-approval for our loan,” said Emily.

“We aren’t yet sure if we’ll go with him or just go direct to the bank when settlement is released.

“It’s just good to have options up our sleeve and obviously the First Home Owner’s Grant will really help.”

Stone Shi, Country Garden Australia’s General Manager (VIC), said “feedback from our sales agents, Oliver Hume, shows that buyers are finding Windermere to be an appealing and affordable option, even in the current market climate.

“Thankfully the banks are recognising this also – we believe this is because Windermere represents a quality product from a developer with a global reputation for delivering exceptional masterplanned communities.

“The range of amenity planned is exceptional too, which provides a high-quality lifestyle for residents. This leads to increasing property values, making the project more attractive to banks.”

Source: ABS lending to households and businesses statistics for February 2019, released 9 April 2019. Seasonally adjusted figures. Figures exclude refinancing.