The number of borrowers refinancing has increased significantly over the past 12 months, says leading mortgage broker Priority Lending.

Priority Lending Chief Operating Officer Dean Rushton said the latest official home loan approval figures for October, 2011, from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) show a 17 per cent rise in refinancing activity compared to the year-ending October, 2010.

Mr Rushton said refinancing was also up five per cent nationwide on the previous quarter.

“With the broader credit market bottoming out at a 10 year low this past year, it’s refinancing which has kept the market from plunging into much lower levels,” he said.

“With many analysts predicting interest rates to continue on a downward cycle, we should see the sustained growth in the refinance market as well as the return of first home buyers and upgraders in the New Year.”

Mr Rushton said Priority Lending’s own enquiries for refinancing had risen 15 per cent in the six weeks since the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) lowered the cash rate on Melbourne Cup day.

“The RBA rate cuts in November and December have brought forward queries of those looking to refinance and also first home buyers, particularly in New South Wales,” he said.

“These latest ABS figures predate the back-to-back cuts in official interest rates so we will see the impact of those in the coming months.”

Source: Priority Lending