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FHBs struggling to understand home loan processes

First home buyers are finding the home loan application process “time consuming and inconvenient” as they struggle to understand what is involved, new research has confirmed.

According to a survey of 1,483 Australians conducted by St.George Bank between 18 November to 11 December 2019, the vast majority of first home buyers (FHBs) are struggling with the mortgage process.

The research found that 86 per cent of FHBs are pained by the amount of paperwork involved in the home loan application process, and 84 per cent labelled the process as “time consuming and inconvenient”. Moreover, nearly three-quarters of all respondents said the application process was burdensome.

When asked what their biggest challenges were when buying their first home, 73 per cent of FHBs said it was “understanding what’s involved” in the loan application and purchasing process, while 71 per cent said it was “navigating the housing market”.

Further, 64 per cent of FHBs stated that “sorting out their financials” was one of the biggest challenges they faced when buying their first home.

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According to St.George, the findings are significant given that a total of 3 million Australians would be looking to buy their first property in the next five years, an increase of 34 per cent since 2018.

St.George Bank’s general manager, Ross Miller, added that the bank had recently launched a new property app –  St.George’s Property App – which integrates the property search functionalities of Domain with the bank’s paperless home loan application and provides users with access to an online chat service with home-lending customer service representatives in a bid to achieve a “frictionless one-stop shop” for home buyers.

Consumer Access to Mortgages Report 2020

The findings around the complexities of the application process echo those made by Momentum Intelligence’s recent Consumer Access to Mortgages Report 2020, which found that a quarter of consumers who had not yet taken out a mortgage did not understand the process of applying and securing a mortgage well, while more than half (54 per cent) of these consumers believed that using a mortgage broker would make the application process easier.

Moreover, the report found that just over a fifth of existing borrowers believed their channel of choice (broker or proprietary) made the application process easier, but the key drivers for using their channel of choice went far beyond simplifying the application process. You can discover more about these key drivers and the main findings of the Consumer Access to Mortgages Report 2020 at the Better Business Summit 2020, which will continue its tour of the country in Sydney (27 February), Brisbane (5 March) and Melbourne (12 March).

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[Related: Stronger housing market extends ‘wealth effect’]

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Hannah Dowling

Hannah Dowling is a journalist for mortgage business, the leading source of news, opinion and strategy for professionals working in the mortgage industry.

Prior to joining the team at Mortgage Business, Hannah worked as a content producer for a podcast catering to property investors. She also spent 6 years working in the real estate sector at a local agency. 

Hannah graduated from Macquarie University with a Bachelor of Media and Journalism. 

You can email Hannah at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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