Mortgage applications plummet

The credit reporting company Centrix says Omicron and looming inflation are sapping consumer confidence.

It says the overall demand for consumer credit is down 6% year-on-year.

Mortgage applications are down 12% and credit card applications are down 35%. Applications for personal loans are down 8%.

And the people who continue to borrow are finding it harder to pay the interest bill.

Debt arrears overall have increased 5% in the year til March, while arrears on unsecured personal loans are up 9%.

Centrix says mortgage and vehicle loan payments are proving to be an exception. Arrears in these sectors remain at consistently low levels, because people are focussing their attention on paying these bills first.

Looking at the value of new loans overall, this was down 30% in March compared with a year earlier.

The value of new mortgages was down 31% while non mortgage lending was down 11%.

And Centrix produced other figures, showing people were opting for longer-term mortgages than previously.

There were 1.4 million mortgages across the country, worth $300 billion.

The negative statistics for mortgages and personal loans were offset to some extent in the business lending sector.

While credit demand also dropped, by 7%, the people who did apply for a loan had a slightly better credit score on average than a month earlier.

This was noted in the hospitality sector which was showing some signs of recovery from the lockdown doldrums.
But tourism and agriculture retained their difficulties in part because of a shortage of labour.

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