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Current debt levels ‘no cause for concern’

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Consumers and lenders are not concerned by current levels of consumer debt, despite ongoing speculation that regulators may jump in to curb property price growth and investor lending.

The findings are revealed in Genworth’s annual survey of the mortgage market, Home Grown: Mortgage Industry Perspectives, compiled on the back of a series of online surveys, workshops and interviews with more than 1,200 consumers and industry professionals.

“Lenders and brokers agreed that APRA’s [Australian Prudential Regulation Authority] current regulatory position strikes the right balance between responsible lending and access to housing credit,” said Genworth’s chief commercial officer Bridget Sakr.

“They also believe that current levels of consumer debt are not a cause for concern.”

In addition, there was almost universal support for the cash rate setting, with many believing the current period of stability is set to continue.

“While it is acknowledged that rate rises or a correction in property prices could change this assessment, industry experts predict stable interest rates over the next year and believe that factors such as population growth and supply constraints may put a floor underneath property prices over the short term,” said Ms Sakr.

Surveyed consumers were slightly more sceptical of the current situation, with 36 per cent believing current consumer housing debt was problematic.

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