Tax and legal advice

APRA IO reductions ‘blunt interventions’, cost taxpayers $500m

By Charbel Kadib
APRA IO reductions 'blunt interventions', cost taxpayers $500m

Lending restrictions put in place by APRA on interest-only loans have cost Australian taxpayers an approximate $500 million a year, according to the Productivity Commission.

In its draft report released following its review into competition in the Australian financial system, the PC has suggested that macro-prudential measures introduced to reduce IO lending are “blunt interventions” and have cost taxpayers an estimated $500 million a year.

“We estimated that the cost borne by taxpayers as a result of changes in home loan investor rates following APRA’s intervention on interest-only loans in 2017 was up to $500 million per year,” the PC report reads.

The PC claimed that the regulator’s measures “boosted lender’s profits”, reduced market competitiveness and hiked interest rates.

“APRA’s actions to slow new lending in what it determined are higher-risk areas resulted in higher interest rates on both new and existing investment loans, boosted lenders’ profit on home loans and saw a decline in competition from some smaller lenders in the home loan market.”

Further, the PC asserted that most of the banks’ supposed increased profit was paid for by taxpayers through negative gearing arrangements.

“Up to half of the increase in lenders’ profit was in effect paid for by taxpayers, as interest on investment loans is tax deductible.”

Call for a review into risk weights

In Draft Recommendation 16.1, the PC called for APRA to “commence and complete” a review the standardised risk weights set for residential mortgages by June 2020.

The PC noted that the review should be focused on “finely calibrating the risk weights to better reflect the risk inherent in individual mortgages”, with particular focus on home loans with a loan-to-variable rate (LVR) less than 80 per cent.

“In particular, consideration should be given to replacing the single risk weight that applies to standard eligible residential mortgages with a loan-to-valuation ratio below 80 per cent with risk weights defined in more narrow bands,” the recommendation reads.

Competition

Moreover, in Draft Finding 2.2 of the report, the PC stated that regulatory efforts to promote stability in the market should not undermine the “essential role” of competition in the sector.

“It is important to ensure that the essential role of competition in economic growth is not eroded further by having stability as the default regulatory position.”

The PC believes that APRA’s lending curbs inhibited competition in the banking sector by stifling the profitability of smaller lenders.

The Customer Owned Banking Association (COBA) has welcomed the PC’s findings, and it claimed that the report is a “wake-up call” regarding the state of competition in the banking sector.

“The draft report is a very welcome wake-up call about the state of the retail banking market and the need to take action to promote competition,” COBA CEO Mike Lawrence said.

“COBA welcomes the report’s endorsement of key points made in our submission including the finding that the major banks have substantial market power and unfair advantages delivered by the regulatory framework and that competition has suffered.

“The PC finds that the major banks have the ability to pass on cost increases and set prices that maintain high levels of profitability — without losing market share.”

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In this episode of the Smart Property Investment Show, Dominique Grubisa joins host Phil Tarrant to share her personal story which saw her hit rock bottom with excessive debt during the GFC.

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Dominique unpacks how, by relying on her background in law, she was able to overcome that debt and in doing so develop a unique investment strategy which she believes many can utilise today.

Dominique discusses distressed properties, and how she goes about finding them in order to buy property well below market value. She shares the process of identifying distressed properties as well as the controversy surrounding this buying method.

If you like this episode, show your support by rating us or leaving a review on iTunes (The Smart Property Investment Show) and by following Smart Property Investment on social media: FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.

If you have any questions about what you heard today, any topics of interest you have in mind, or if you’d like to lend your voice to the show, email [email protected] for more insights!

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Many investors who would have been successfully approved for finance last year are struggling now to either begin or continue their property investment journey because of the current financial climate.

In this episode of the Smart Property Investment Show, broker John Manciamelli and Momentum Media director Alex Whitlock joins host Tim Neary to discuss how APRA changes and the royal commission have resulted in a tighter lending economy and what that means for Australian investors.

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If you like this episode, show your support by rating us or leaving a review on iTunes (The Smart Property Investment Show) and by following Smart Property Investment on social media: FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.

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AREAS MENTIONED:

Hobart
Bondi
Deception Bay

 

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Getting finance approved in this tightening lending environment

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