Turnaround times slow to improve

The slight fall in mortgage lending activity in recent months has not yet translated to a meaningful improvement in turnaround times, according to advisers.

Bruce Patten

The Government's reforms to curb investor lending, such as an extended bright-line test and the planned removal of interest deductibility, have begun to slow the mortgage market, with lending down $2 billion from March to April, according to RBNZ data.

But while activity has eased, brokers say the turnaround times remain a major problem for the clients.

NZFSG's Bruce Patten said ASB's turnarounds were down to "about a week", though turnarounds for its new builds product "had slipped". He said BNZ had brought its turnaround times "back under control" in recent weeks.

"It shows you that their volumes are down, so it's making life easier," Patten said. "We're now on a more level playing field with those going direct to their bank.

"Everybody is relieved that volumes are down to be honest," he added. "But the market is still way up on last year in terms of settlements."

Sarah Bloxham of Lets Talk Mortgages, who deals with many first home buyers and new builds, also said ASB's times were among the best in the market, at roughly four to five days, with BNZ not too far behind. 

Bloxham said her corner of the market was still "busy as", and reported doing "long long days".

But the marginal improvement is not being felt by every adviser.

Glen McLeod of Edge Mortgages said nine days remained the standard, and that a dip in new applications had not resulted in better turnarounds.

"It is sad that we are not getting better service from the lenders," he said. "I know that some of the reason is multiple applications being sent in to the lenders by some advisers. This is probably a cause and effect issue. It's a bit frustrating to wait for nine days to get a response."

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