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Fitch: Australian mortgage arrears up in Q3

Oksana Patron21 November 2023
Hand holding house in front of blurred background

Australia suffered its first 3Q rise in mortgage arrears in more than 15 years as borrowers faced stress due to inflation and rising interest rates, according to Fitch Ratings’ latest Dinkum RMBS index report.

The data showed that the 30+ day mortgage arrears in Australia were up 9bp counting quarter-on-quarter and amounted to 1.12% during the third quarter, continuing the increase from the lowest levels since 2002.

Fitch said that historically arrears have dropped during Q3 every year since the index was launched.

What is more, the rating agency further expected that the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) high cash rate was likely to drive up mortgage arrears next year.

Additionally, this may be worsened by the high ratio of household debt to disposable income and the dominance of floating-rate loans in the country.

Fitch said that Australian home prices grew by 2.1% quarter-on-quarter and 4.0% year-on-year, making it the first yoy increase in 2023 and bring prices close to the all-time high seen in April 2022.

The agency expects prices to rise by 4%-6% in 2024 because of limited supply, a tight rental market and high net migration.

Losses from the sale of collateral property should also stay low, supported by strong home-price growth over previous years for most borrowers, it said.


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