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Risky Debt Situations Remain Rare

Home buyers are paying off credit cards and personal loans to be able to borrow more for housing as property prices rise.

But industry experts say very large mortgages compared to borrowers’ incomes are not widespread, with potential buyers more likely to face challenges keeping their deposit in line with rising house prices.

The share of new residential mortgages where debt is at least six times income rose to almost 22% in the June Quarter, from 16% a year earlier, on figures from the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority. The measure includes non-mortgage debt such as credit cards.

Mortgage brokers say it’s unusual for borrowers to take on very large debts compared to their incomes, as many banks would not lend more than 6-7 times earnings.

“There are only a few lenders that would entertain going above 6-7 times,” Shore Financial chief executive Theo Chambers says. “It’s possible, but it’s definitely hard.

“People are pushing the envelope as much as they possibly can in terms of growing their maximum. People are chopping up credit cards, paying out personal loans, doing everything they can to meet the guidelines.”

He says banks are already mindful of not lending too much, especially since the financial services royal commission.


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