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Mortgage Advice Blog

Get the latest news and tips about mortgage finance and the property market. Scott Miller, mortgage broker from Advanced Mortgage Solutions comments on housing and lending.

Property Gazette - February

Published by Scott Miller on Monday, February 06, 2012 in

        

    Welcome to February's edition of AMS's Property Gazette.

I would like to start by announcing the Advanced Mortgage Solutions has moved! We have now opened an office at 6 Burdale Street, Riccarton Christchurch.

Please click here to see our new address on Google Maps.

The process of finding an office has been a while in the making as the recent earthquakes in Christchurch made it harder to find suitable office space. Please feel free to drop by if you are in the area - I would love to show you around.

  What's happening in February?

Current interest Rates as at 1 February 2012

  Variable                 5.60%  
6 Month Fixed         5.45%
1 Year Fixed            5.55%
2 Year Fixed            5.65%
3 Year Fixed            6.10%
5 Year Fixed            6.90%

Interest Rate Outlook

It would appear that 2012 has kicked off with some continued momentum from late last year as have noticed a broadening trend of being a lot busier over the last 4-5 months.

December continued on the strong trend of November in house sales, with consecutive strong months seeing increases in sales of circa 5% each month. It would appear the extended period of historic low interest rates is finally starting to push some confidence across to property purchases. This, together with the nation waking from its rugby world cup hangover, is driving the strongest level of activity we have seen for a couple of years now.


The Real Estate market is still being held back though by a genuine lack of quality stock across the country (with a particular emphasis in Christchurch) and this is seeing the average days to sell a house drop (now down to 39 days). We believe this will continue to ease further over coming months, giving the market some momentum.

Approximately 60% of Kiwis are currently sitting on a variable rate mortgage, which gives the Reserve Bank great confidence that they can actually influence consumer behaviour with interest rate movements if and when they have to. That said, they have signalled that they do not expect to have to push interest rates up until the 2nd half of this year.

As the 1 & 2 year rates fell in the latter part of 2011, we now see this flattening from the variable rate through to the 2 year fixed rate. As such there is little to no difference between the current variable and 2 year fixed rates. Given that we anticipate small increase in variable money later this year, the current 2 year fixed rate holds appeal for us as a sound borrowing strategy - or for the slightly more adventurous splitting the funding into 2 accounts of part 2 year fixed and part variable will ensure not missing out on any variable rate discounts if they were to come on offer. All in all, quite an attractive time to borrow money!          

What's Hot

2012 has kicked off right where 2011 finished. Competition is hot among the banks for business and right now the rate they are all sharpening is the 2 year fixed. We are seeing cases of 2 year rates being offered as low as 5.49% - that is cheap money! Refer your clients now!


Deal of the Month

Last month we helped a more unusual client request, coming from a 70 year old gent buying a modern retirement unit. He was short of the full purchase price and we were able to fund him on an equity release loan for the shortfall, not requiring any monthly payments - call us we deliver!

 

Property Gazette - October

Published by Scott Miller on Tuesday, October 04, 2011 in

 

Welcome to October's edition of AMS's Property Gazette.


The Rugby World Cup is up and running and although Dan Carter is now out for the rest of the tournament, I think we have a great chance at winning the competition. Despite this distraction real world events keep on moving. Please read on for the latest interest rate and property information.


Current Interest Rates as at 3rd September 2011

 

Variable                 5.60%

6 Month Fixed         5.60%

1 Year Fixed           5.75%

2 Year Fixed           6.20%

3 Year Fixed           6.70%

5 Year Fixed           7.40%
 

Interest Rate Outlook

Occasionally distance can be your friend, and being a little isolated and removed from the debt crisis fallout in Europe is certainly a good thing at this moment.

However while activities in these larger markets do have an impact on our funding cost, the severity of their impact is lessened. Nonetheless, the financial mess that is Europe is likely to see New Zealand’s Official Cash Rate held at its current low level until first quarter of 2012.

Locally, while the property market remains flat it is being readied for a strong 2012 on the back of the Christchurch rebuild and we are already starting to see positive signs in the Auckland market with well-priced houses moving quickly.

Of course we are half way through one of the strongest economic spending booms New Zealand has seen over the last 5 years thanks to the Rugby World Cup. But this spending is fleeting relief at best, and is seen as a temporary good-time blip; however it does clearly add fuel to our positive growth.

With the developing events in Europe one could argue that remaining on the floating interest rate is a good thing. I agree to a point, but only to a point. We have seen massive swings in financial markets recently, with large losses and gains happening almost daily.

However, the above strategy does come with a caveat. You need to keep your eyes and ears open for when interest rates do start to move. New Zealand is experiencing record lows in regards to interest rates and at some point it will be wise to lock in a fixed term before we see sharp rises in interest rates.

What’s Hot

There is only heat on one thing at the moment, the mighty All Blacks, even non rugby followers cannot help but be caught up in the hype that is RWC, and haven’t we as a country done ourselves proud, it is great to see how we have embraced the tournament – Go The AB’s!

Deal of the Month

Last month I had a client who had a black marks on their credit check & had been told ‘No’ by a number of banks, I managed to paint a clear picture of the circumstances for the bank and had her approved before long, saving a house sale for our referring agent - call us we deliver!

Property Gazette - September

Published by Scott Miller on Tuesday, September 06, 2011 in

       Welcome to September's edition of AMS's Property Gazette. The big talk around town for the last month or so has all been about interest rates. What are they going to do.....go up.....or go down? Well, with no clear answer interest rates continue to dominate the headlines.

Current Interest Rates as at 5 September 2011  
 
Variable                    5.60%  
6 Month Fixed               5.60%
1 Year Fixed                5.70%
2 Year Fixed                6.20%
3 Year Fixed                6.70%
5 Year Fixed                7.40%
 
Interest Rate Outlook

Predicting what interest rates are going to do is very difficult right now. No sooner does there appear to be the movements of recovery in NZ & demand for fixed interest rates and the next thing the global debt crisis worsens and we all start second guessing each other.

Clearly our friends in the US and Europe are experiencing some difficulties in relation to their debt and funding troubles, and this affects us. Due to our size we fund a good portion of our residential mortgages from international money markets.

As Europe and the US scramble to keep their credit ratings and heads above water the price of purchasing fixed term money remains low and our earlier concern that fixed interest rates could spike has eased. However this easing may be short lived.

Locally, we are still showing signs of recovery with housing consents starting to move upward and the level of mortgage approvals up some 20% on 2010, indicating activity is definitely on the increase. Furthermore as soon as the government can coordinate the overseas reinsurers to provide cover on new houses built in Christchurch, the sooner markets will kick-in. Currently it is this stifling that is slowing the rebuild and recovery in the region.

With so many variables outside of our control, it does not give anyone much confidence to make bold predictions, and while the fixed rate pressure has eased, we still feel the international debt crisis has only delayed the inevitable rate increases. We do not believe we will see rates increase in September now as originally thought and may be pushed out to as far as the end of the year, however as we have seen this can change in an instant.
 
Put simply if you are of conservative nature, the current sub 6% rates for 1 year or low 6% for 2 years still look appealing, if you are more aggressive and are prepared to keep an eye on the market the current variable rates are still the cheapest option. A more prudent option is to have some of your loan on fixed and some on floating.     
 
What’s Hot

As the above outlines the finance market sure is a fickle place and majority of our clients really are confused as to what the right thing to do is in relation to interest rates right now. The single biggest demand we currently have is for advice on interest rate strategy – call me to work out yours.
 
Deal of the Month

An active Investor already carrying a sizeable debt fell at our door last month, exhausted by declines from his current financiers. As we had a wider range of options we were able to get $885,000 approved for him funding him into his next project - call us we deliver!

Advanced Mortgage Solutions - Property Gazette - August

Published by Scott Miller on Wednesday, August 10, 2011 in


      Firstly I would like to apologise for this month’s Property Gazette coming to you a little later than normal. There has been a lot going on this month with the United States being down grade to a AA+ credit rating, a lot of talk around the pressures on the Official Cash Rate, and the New Zealand Mortgage Broker Association’s annual conference being held on the 4th and 5th of August.

So what has been happening this month?


Current Interest Rates as at 1 August 2011 
 
Variable                       5.75%  
6 Month Fixed            5.65%
1 Year Fixed                5.75%
2 Year Fixed                6.20%
3 Year Fixed                6.70%
5 Year Fixed                7.45%

 
Interest Rate Outlook
 
Should I stay or should I go now? If I go there could be trouble, if I stay there could be double....


This rock song classic by the Clash sums up consumers’ attitudes toward interest rates at the moment. Should I fix now or should I stay floating?


The consensus of most is that you should fix your interest rates soon (maybe over the next month or so).

 

But when?

 

Should you do it now or can you squeeze another month or two out at these basement rates of under 6%?

 

Personally I am of the opinion of that “it’s better to be safe than sorry”. It is almost impossible to pick the last day of the cheapest floating rate available, but if you look to fix shortly you are guaranteed to fix in a current fixed interest rate that is tipped to go up.

 

I am able to negotiation with lenders good margins off all fixed interest rates terms at the moment. This won’t last forever as the pressure on rates is to go up, so please consider contacting me when it is convenient.


 As the bank economists sat glued to their iPads, iPhones, Blackberries for Reserve Bank Governor Alan Bollard’s address on July 28th, most were left none the wiser as to whether now is the right time to lock in. Dr Bollard certainly has indicated that rates are going to rise this year, although exactly when nobody is sure.

You get the impression he would like to move now but is very concerned about the strength of our currency (or more so the weakness of the US, and now the credit rating drop) and this may be the sole factor in holding rates back to their current level. As such it doesn’t really put us in control of our own destiny when it comes to rates as we are reacting to events in the US & Europe as their debt crisis worsens.

My pick is he may not move in September but is more likely to do so on October 27th (the next OCR announcement) and the move could be as high as 0.50%. Be aware that as the demand for fixed rates increases, so may the price, and I would not be surprised to see fixed interest rates move higher before the variable rate moves.

My advice is to not be too greedy now as it may cost you in the future. It may be worth considering locking in part or all of your mortgage in the next month or so because, let’s face it, interest rates sub 7% locked away for a period of time is a good thing. 

 
What’s Hot

Fixing your interest rate! As many of our customers get nervous they are flocking from variable interest rates into fixed rates. Nobody knows when but at some stage this year rates are going to rise and often it is the fixed rates that move before the variable, so fixing now does make sense.

 
Deal of the Month

Getting by with a little help from Mum & Dad, last month we 100% funded a young couple into their first home, yes Mum & Dad acted as guarantors but they are only responsible for 20% of the value of the home & the young couple can comfortably afford the debt - Call us we deliver!

Advanced Mortgage Solutions - Property Gazette - July

Published by Scott Miller on Monday, July 04, 2011 in



Current Interest Rates as at 1 July 2011 

 
Variable                      5.40%  
6 Month Fixed              5.59%
1 Year Fixed                5.55%
2 Year Fixed                6.20%
3 Year Fixed                6.70%
5 Year Fixed                7.45%
 

Interest Rate Outlook

You can’t help but think that we might actually be our own worst enemies in slowing the economic recovery. There are so many variables that indicate we are set for strong growth but they have been this way for a while now.

We have a market shortage of quality properties on the market, those that hit the market well priced are snapped up and market rents are rising which will surely start to push people toward buying. We also have a whole new wave of potential buyers hitting market as KiwiSaver matures to a point that allows consumers to withdraw their and their employer’s contributions, as well as qualifying for the government first home buyer’s grant of $1,000.00 per year for every year you have been in the scheme.


So what is holding us back? Confidence or more to the point a lack of it, as a nation we are still sitting on our hands, afraid to spend, afraid to take a step and it is this lack of activity together with a net outflow in terms of migration that is holding our economy back. We just need a little more activity and demand and the market can get some momentum which it sorely needs.


Mortgage approvals are up just over 10% on 2010 so this is a good indicator and as soon as the rural sector actually starts spending their 2nd consecutive record pay-out as opposed to focussing solely on reducing debt the quicker the economic recovery will kick in.

In relation to our recommended borrowing strategy we hold a similar view to last month, we have no doubt that we will see rate increases in the last quarter of this year and as such feel that the shorter term fixed rates probably offer the best value as there is little differential between variable and 1 year or 18 month fixed rates. For those a little more risk adverse we suggest the 2 year rate still offers good value at less than 1% above current variable rates, as long as you realise you pay a small premium now to buy some security.        

 
What’s Hot

KiwiSaver, it has now reached the stage where consumers who have been in their Kiwi Saver for 3 years can withdraw their and their employers contributions together with a first home buyers grant from the government puts many of these people in a position to buy their first home.
 
Deal of the Month

Last month we helped a couple with 3 teenage kids restore control to their finances, things had got out of control over the past few years with them racking up 2 credit cards and 2 personal loans, we refinanced it all into one, saving them $500.00 per month - Call us we deliver!

Advanced Mortgage Solutions - Property Gazette - June

Published by Scott Miller on Friday, June 03, 2011 in

    

Please find June's Property Gazette below. As always I have made comment on relevant market and policy informtion to help you keep up to date. I appreciate the monthly feed back and questions that arise from each newsletter and I'm sure this will be no different.

I would also like to take this opportunity to welcome all those clients who have joined the AMS team from Carolyn Dreaver's ODL Mortgages. Carolyn has decided to leave the mortgage industry and we wish her all the best of luck with her future business ventures.
 

Current Interest Rates as at 1 June 2011  

 

Variable              5.40%
6 Month Fixed         5.59%
1 Year Fixed          5.55%
2 Year Fixed          6.20%
3 Year Fixed          6.70%
4 Year fixed          7.30%
5 Year Fixed          7.45%

 
Interest Rate Outlook

You can be excused for missing the release of the biggest ‘no news’ budget in recent history, it just sort of came and went with very little fanfare and the underlying message continued that we have to keep our spending to a minimum both as consumers and from a government perspective with all focus rightly looking forward to the rebuild of Christchurch.

A tight budget means that fiscal policy will keep growth in check for the year ahead which will take some pressure off the Reserve Bank in terms of how high they would need to push interest rates, which is of course a good thing.

House sales figures continued to lift through April & May from their late 2010 trough however still remain around a third below historical averages. Encouragingly though building consents are on the rise with a new motivation arising to ‘get it done now’ before construction sector shortages emerge across the country use to the Christchurch rebuild. This increased activity together with a second successive yearly record payout on the dairy sector should start to give the economy a nice little boost, the reality is farmers will have to start spending or be faced with a sizeable tax bill & we all know how much cockies like paying tax!

All of the above is leading to a pretty positive outlook with confidence quite high in business and investment sectors, this if course leads us to our current recommended borrowing strategy.

With more than 2% variance between long term fixed rates of 5 years it is difficult to see value in longer term rates. However, we have no doubt that we will see rate increases in the last quarter of this year and as such feel that the shorter term fixed rates probably offer the best value as there is little differential between variable and 1 year or 18 month fixed rates. For those a little more risk adverse we suggest the 2 year rate still offers good value @ less than 1% above current variable rates, as long as you realise you pay a small premium now to buy some security.        
 
What’s Hot

Competition really is a beautiful thing and now the Banks credit appetite has returned they are returning to their old tricks of sweetheart deals on interest rates and professional fee contributions. We are seeing some very sharp pricing now as the banks compete for our clients.
 
Deal of the Month

Last month we funded a gentleman into his first home, he had enquired about using Kiwi Saver as deposit on his home and was very pleasantly surprised to learn that not only could he use his contributions but his employers and qualify for a government subsidy, totalling $20,000.00 he could put toward his first home making it all achievable - Call us we deliver!

Scott Miller - Quoted in the Press Newspaper

Published by Scott Miller on Wednesday, May 11, 2011 in
  This article was published on the front page of the Press on the 11th May 2011. I was quoted from the perspective of being the owner of Advanced Mortgage Solutions, a mortgage broking company operating in Christchurch post earthquakes.

 

Real estate market split by quake

Buyers are shunning homes in eastern Christchurch as the effects of the earthquakes split the housing market.

Sales in the hardest-hit suburbs have slowed to a trickle, with so few recorded that valuation agency QV has been unable to measure trends in values.

In Sumner, Chris Milne can neither sell nor rent his undamaged beachfront apartment.

He bought the property to rent out now and retire in later, but even halving the rent drew no tenants.

The apartment is for sale, with an asking price less than its 2007 rating valuation.

Open homes have drawn a blank.

"Nobody turned up," Milne said. "People are just reluctant to live out this way.

"They seem to be worried about the portaloos, the damaged roads and the traffic jams, but it's certainly no worse here than anywhere else."

He said the Sumner real estate agents had left.

Real estate agent Tim Dunningham, of Min Sarginson, said the market around Lyttelton Harbour had "just gone dead", even as far away as Diamond Harbour and Church Bay.

"We've actually had almost no damage over here, but we are finding there are no buyers and no interest whatever. It's very frustrating," he said.

"People are rushing to buy houses in Rolleston, forgetting that's near where the first big earthquake was centred."

Melanie Swallow, of QV Valuations, said some house sales had been a knee-jerk reaction to the February quake and the initial flurry of activity was settling down.

She said buying patterns were in some cases based on perceptions of certain suburbs and not facts.

There had been "strong interest" in homes in the northwestern suburbs and in towns in the Selwyn and Waimakariri districts, as long as they were not overpriced.

There was no indication prices in any areas had fallen, Swallow said. Lack of job security had slowed the move of homeowners from first to second homes, she said.

Real Estate Institute figures show that about 80 per cent of Christchurch house sales in March were in the western half of the city.

Prices since the February quake were up compared with a year ago in North Canterbury and in Christchurch suburbs such as Bryndwr, Burnside and Riccarton.

Few sales have been recorded in the eastern and hill suburbs.

Mortgage broker Scott Miller, of Advance Mortgage Solutions, said most sales were now on the west side of town, but buyers in the hardest-hit areas were having no trouble getting loans.

"We've actually had more success getting borrowers across the line than after September, as long as there's replacement insurance."

He said lenders did not always require engineering reports.

The quakes had affected business for mortgage brokers, and he had heard of some having to find ways to supplement their income.

Christchurch's housing market has had its quietest period on record since the February quake, with homes selling at a rate of about six a day in the weeks afterwards.

 

 

Interviewed by 'The Mortgage Magazine'

Published by Scott Miller on Wednesday, April 27, 2011 in



How did you get started?


How did working in the industry come about?

 

I was a property investor freshly back from spending 12 years in the UK. I didn’t really want to go back to the type of employment I was doing when I left New Zealand so I started looking around at my options. I spent about a year looking around before settling on joining a relatively new mortgage broking company called Investor Finance. They were new to New Zealand after establishing themselves in Australia and promoted the idea of getting into the company at the grass root level. Well let’s say things turned out a little different to how I imagined things would go.


How long have you been a broker? What were you before?

 

I have been a broker since November 2006. Other employment include - Hospitality Management, Sales Representative, Head of Logistical services.


Has it always been a passion?

 

I have always had an understanding of figures and a passion for property, so when the opportunity to become a mortgage broker became available I jumped at the chance.

 

Why mortgage broking?


What is it about broking you love/are passionate about?

 

Finding the solutions to people’s needs and requirements, it’s fair to say that no two applications are ever the same. First home buyers are always a challenge, however at the same time are often the most rewarding. In one regard first home buyers require the most ‘hand holding’ through the buying process, but the smile on their faces once the finance has been approved and they have confirmed and then purchased their first home is priceless. Seasoned investors are great to deal with as well because the loans they require generally have a degree of depth and difficulty that is not as evident with first home buyers, however you rarely get the same excitement factor from experienced property investors as often it is simply part and parcel of what they do for a living.

 

How did you learn the business and educate yourself?

Do you have a mentor?

I follow a number of big names in the mortgage broking industry, both in New Zealand and overseas, however I don’t have a personal mentor as such.

Was it self-teaching, did you study?

I was lucky in the fact when I first started to learn my craft I was part of a team of experience mortgage brokers. I was able to ask for their assistance and benefit from their experience. This not only helped me get my early applications across the line but allowed me to pick up valuable experience in a very short period of time.  I passed the ‘Mortgage Essentials’ exams with 98.5% which was the highest grade achieved by anyone sitting the exam up to that time. The study and passing of the exams necessary to become a mortgage broker must have worked as in my first year at Investor Finance I was rewarded by winning three awards, namely - Mortgage strategist of the year, highest number of settlements for the year, and  highest lead generation of the year.

Best and worst times in the business?

 

Both Answers to this question revolve around the GFC. The best times were within the first couple of years of becoming a broker. Times back then were good, property investment was the ‘thing’ to do, and there was plenty of business and most of it came to you – great times. Then when things began to turn, nobody really expected the downturn to be so dramatic. At the same time the first company I worked at and cut my teeth at left New Zealand shores to concentrate on their Australian arm. This meant starting my own business from scratch – new logos, stationery, website, office’s and all the other requirements for starting and running your own business. Work was harder to find and I found myself speaking at all sorts of seminars and meetings. I would sometimes find myself talking to a group of investors at a seminar in Auckland one day and doing the same in Queenstown later the same week. Times have changed again and being at the coal face of property finance I can confidently say we are now through the worst. Bigger deals are coming through on a regular basis, lenders policies have relaxed, and interest rates have remained low for an extended period of time.

 

 

Best and worst business moves you’ve made?

 


The best business move I made was going out on my own and starting Advanced Mortgage Solutions at a time when the mortgage broking market was being battered by the GFC. I learned a lot about myself, not the least of which was that I had the skills to survive during a time of turmoil. It was important to me that I could prove I did not need the assistance from an established company to operate in hard times.

 


The worst moves?

I haven’t really made any yet.


Best and worst advice you’ve received?

Best advice

Keep an up-to-date CRM and regularly contact your clients.

Worst advice  

When learning I was told to follow a script when talking to the clients in meetings and over the phone – this was the worst piece of advice I was given as the resulting conversation did not sound like me and it most certainly did not sound natural – Find your owe spiel and sound natural.

Biggest challenge now?

Regulation is bringing a lot of changes to the industry. Up skilling, particularly in the time frames allowed has been challenging. However there has been a positive side effect to regulation as it has been good in weeding out the part-time brokers, or people within related industries ‘having a go’ at completing a mortgage application as they now have to prove their competency within the new regulatory framework set out by the Commerce Commission.

 

Would you do it all again?

 

Absolutely, despite the hard times I still loving mortgage broking.

 

Best business book?

It’s not really a business book, but more relates to money and how money works. ‘ The richest man in Babylon’ by George Samuel Clason is entertaining and the principles are sound.

Is there a typical working day?

 

I spend most of my days completing tasks in the following order - Answering emails, submitting applications, and meeting existing and new clients wishing to apply for finance. I find the hours in a day can whip past if don’t have some structure.

Top tip?

 

Keep your CRM up to date and work the hell out of it. Join social networking groups like Linked In, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

Who is the individual that has most inspired you in business?

Richard Branson – his life, books, and achievements are inspiring.

What is your biggest long-term business goal?

 

To grow AMS into a bigger brand that operates throughout of the main centers in New Zealand. I am pleased to say that this plan is already gathering momentum with a new mortgage broker about to start at the Christchurch office and I have had an expression of interest from a broker in Auckland who is looking at operating under the AMS business model.

How are you preparing for regulation of financial advisers this year and how will this affect your business?

As I mentioned above regulation has brought its own challenges. I have my final exams to sit in March which will bring me up to the standard required by the new regulations. I think that one of the biggest challenges moving forward will be finding and recruiting brokers who have met and attained the required regulatory standard. Of course people looking to becoming a mortgage broker will find it a lot tougher because of regulation than it was even a year ago.

 

Advanced Mortgage Solutions | Property Gazette - March

Published by Scott Miller on Tuesday, March 01, 2011 in



Interest Rate Outlook

Current Interest Rates

Rates offered are the best of standard, carded interest rates available and do not reflect any discounts your Advisor may be able to obtain for your client. Rates correct as at 01/3/11.

Variable

6.10%

6 Month Fixed

5.95%

1 Year Fixed

6.19%

2 Year Fixed

6.45%

3 Year Fixed

6.85%

5 Year Fixed

7.50%

   Where do we start? After the disaster of the devastating earthquake in Christchurch last week it seems insignificant to be putting pen to paper about interest but perhaps our best lesson is learned from those most affected with Christchurch simply rolling its sleeves up and getting on with what needs to be done. Our hearts go out to all of those affected.

Just as the earthquake of 4 September disturbed economic activity for some time, so too will this one - probably with greater effect, which means the near zero growth we think occurred during the December quarter is going to be not much bettered in the first quarter of this year (if in fact there is any growth at all).

The interruption to growth is so large that we now see little chance that the Reserve Bank will feel the economy is strong enough to withstand any interest rate rises this year and it is more than likely that we will see interest rates remain flat throughout 2011. While some Economists are promoting a possible interest rate cut when the Reserve Bank meets again on March 10 we do not buy into this theory with no real immediate gain to be felt from this in the area it’s most needed - the Christchurch economy.

The reduced outlook for interest rates implies the Kiwi dollar will stay slightly lower than would otherwise have been the case, especially as inflation appears to be picking up in the UK and Europe raising the chances that interest rates will be increased in those economies this year.

The light trying to shine through the smoke & dust of the quake is the diary sector with Fonterra revising up their forecast pay-out for this season from $7.30 up to $8.00. This payout will incorporate the traditional milk solids pay-out of $7.50 plus a distributable profit range of 40-50 cents, which will boast the rural sector into spending, helping our economy to grow. The above all points to our recommended borrowing strategy changing somewhat from previous months whereby we can now see little chance of interest rate rises this year. As such we are currently recommending that taking the floating interest rate probably makes most sense both now and for the foreseeable future, additionally we note these rates are currently the cheapest on offer in the market in the very low 6% range.

What's Hot


We have seen a further loosening of credit criteria in the early part of 2011 with another two of our core lenders setting clear parameters allowing lending up to 95% LVR for owner occupied purchases. While certain criteria must be meet for applicants to qualify (such as stability of employment and minimum income levels) this is certainly a good sign and further emphasises the increasing appetite of the banks.


Deal of the Month


We had a nice deal approved last month assisting one of our referrers into an investment property with only putting 15% deposit down. To date banks have requested a minimum 20% deposit on investment properties but due to the overall strength of our client we were able to assist. - Call us we deliver!

The AMS Property Gazette - November

Published by Scott Miller on Sunday, November 14, 2010 in


       Another busy month has gone by and we are only a month and a half away from entering a new year. October saw interest rates remain unchanged by the Reserve Bank Official Cash rate announcement in the last week of the month. This was widely tipped to happen so no real surprises there. We did however get a bit of a surprise in the unemployment figures which dropped by .5%. This is a good result and has been accompanied by many of green arrow stories, with the one acceptation being the Kiwi fruit PSA canker disease.

New Zealand lenders have continued to relax their lending criteria’s around owner occupied purchases. This is great news for first home buyers or people looking to upgrade or down size their existing homes. What is a little disappointing is these improvements have not flowed through to their rental and property investment policies yet, with most lenders still wanting a 20% deposit for standalone rental property purchasers. This of course can be circumvented by using your own home as security bringing the required deposit down to 10%.

Interest Rate Outlook

I believe there is now a light at the end of the tunnel and I’m pretty sure it is not an oncoming train. While economic conditions currently remain subdued, there is a lot that points toward a strong recovery in 2011.

While we are in a period of reasonably flat growth at the moment, many of the important variables required to stimulate market activity are lining up. Firstly, interest rate have stabilised and is giving the market some confidence, for the first time in over two years we are now seeing banks loosen their lending criteria and return with an appetite to lend new money.

With money well priced and the banks keen to again lend I can see that 2011 will provide the right environment for further recovery as the property market looks to rebound from the depressed period of the past two years. Overall households h
ave focussed on clearing debt during this period and many will see the above conditions as ideal to release some of their frustration and take advantage of their improved overall position to move back into property investment, particularly as lenders relax their lending criteria around investment property.

The Reserve Bank has given every indication that interest rates will be held at their current low levels for the immediate future and I do not expect to see any increases in the OCR until March or April 2011. Given current rates have stabilised, it makes choosing the best interest rate option a little more tricky, variable rates are stable and the difference between variable and mid -term fixed rates such as 2 years are around 0.45% with variable rates the cheaper. This makes it a 50/50 call on what decisions is best to take, with people often finding the answer by aligning their personal circumstances with the best interest rate structure available.


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