Consumer appetite for major lenders increasing

Existing and prospective mortgage holders are increasingly looking to the big four banks when choosing a home loan.

Released yesterday, the 2014 QBE Barometer found that 72 per cent of all current mortgage holders (mortgagers) and those looking to buy a property (intenders) chose, or plan to choose, one of the major lenders as their mortgage provider.

Consumer appetite for the big four is increasing, with 80 per cent of intenders with a lender in mind indicating they would go with a major bank, up from 72 per cent in 2013.

According to the report, the primary motivation for taking out a mortgage with a big four bank is an existing relationship.

Half of mortgagers and intenders said they chose, or would choose, a major lender due to an existing relationship, compared to one in three for other lenders.

Perceived financial security is also a key differentiator between the major banks and other lenders, with the report finding 64 per cent of respondents rate the majors as financially secure – a large over-index compared to other banks, credit unions, building societies and non-bank lenders.

“The Barometer has revealed some interesting shifts in sentiment year-on-year but nothing seems to have dampened Australians’ dream of home ownership,” QBE LMI chief executive Jenny Boddington said.

However, the report found significantly fewer respondents felt they should purchase property in the near future.

Only 36 per cent of respondents felt that the next 12 months is the best time to buy, down substantially from 42 per cent in 2013.

“Verbatim comments from our respondents suggest this view is heavily influenced by uncertainty about current market conditions and their perceptions of property prices and interest rates in the next few years,” Ms Boddington said.

Contrary to the QBE findings, almost all prospective borrowers are happy to consider all lenders, according to figures from comparison website HelpMeChoose.com.au.

This year to date, 93 per cent of visitors to the website said they would consider all lenders for a home loan, with only seven per cent preferring to go to a major lender only.

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