Aussie mortgage delinquencies fall

Back-to-back interest rate cuts last year have helped more Australians repay their mortgage on time, but some pockets of the country are continuing to struggle.

The number of people who failed to meet their repayments dropped across Australia by 1.2 per cent at the end of September, credit ratings agency Fitch Ratings found.

This was down from 1.6 per cent at the end of March, and much lower than the 1.56 per cent five-year average.

The report said the Reserve Bank of Australia's decision to cut its cash rate by 0.5 percentage points last May and another 0.25 percentage points in June had helped make home loan repayments more affordable.

However many Queenslanders still struggled to meet their repayments.

Queensland remained the worst performing state for mortgage delinquencies and home to most of the country's 10 worst performing regions.

The state recorded a 30-plus day delinquency rate of 1.41 per cent at the end of September, down from 1.86 per cent by March's end.

Gold Coast East replaced Fairfield-Liverpool, in Sydney's southwest, as Australia's worst-performing region with a delinquency rate of 2.44 per cent - or 16 out of 1000 borrowers in arrears.

Areas southwest of Sydney, west of Melbourne and south of Brisbane benefited most from the interest rate cuts.

Ipswich in Queensland and Fairfield-Liverpool posted the biggest falls in delinquency rates, dropping one per cent to 1.71 per cent and 1.82 per cent respectively.

Fitch Ratings expects cash rate cuts by the RBA last October and December to further benefit mortgage performance in the first quarter of 2013, given the three-to-four-month lag in the effect of rate movements.

However, the recent floods in Queensland and NSW and bushfires in several states could also affect mortgage repayments.

Fitch also found, in a separate report, severe delinquencies were higher for mortgages on investment properties than owner-occupiers.

The figures show 90-plus day delinquency rates on investment loans were, on average, 1.16 per cent higher than owner-occupied mortgages in the decade to September 2012.

The West Australian

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