Impatient buyers wait in limbo as banks take up LVR slack

Would-be home buyers are being forced to mark time waiting for the banks' high Loan to Value (LVR) quota to slip within the Reserve Bank's maximum acceptability limit.

In some cases they are forced to drum their fingers on the table for weeks or even a month or two, and watch the price of their home steadily rising as they wait for banks to be allowed to give them a loan.

The problem stems from a requirement that no more than 10% of total bank mortgage lending can have a deposit of less than 20%.

This is the result of the Reserve Banks' tight LVR policy which it has touted as a robust inflation fighting tool.

It mainly limits the ability of first home buyers to get a home, since they usually have small deposits, painfully built up by meticulous saving, all the while paying high rent for their flats.

But many of them are hard working, skilled or qualified, and well paid, and are desirable clients for banks and mortgage brokers, despite their low deposit.

But if too many of them seek a high LVR loan at once, then a bank can rapidly approach its 10% quota, and be forced to deliver a blanket message to all subsequent applicants: NO.

This is a problem that worries Sarah Bloxham of Auckland's Let's Talk Mortgages and Insurance.

“The banks are paused (on high LVR loans) and I don’t think they know when they are going to open,” Bloxham said.

“Meanwhile house prices are going up, so you are looking at less house than you were looking at before, that is the hard bit.

“Before Christmas I had three clients aiming at houses for $950,000, now we are waiting and waiting and those houses are going up and up and the longer people are having to wait the less house they will get for their money.”

Bloxham says despite these problems it is important for people not to get despondent, they simply have to keep working at the problem, and perhaps look at a new-build, where the rules are more lenient.

Meanwhile, it is not clear when this will end and the door will re-open to high LVR applications.

“A couple of the banks have indicated February or March but I wouldn't be holding out anything to anybody, people have just got to be patient and wait.”

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