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Australia's Westpac overdue mortgages on the rise amid soft housing market
[BENGALURU] Australia's Westpac Banking Corp on Monday reported a rise in the number of people missing mortgage payments amid a sluggish economy and a soft housing market.
The country's second-largest bank said 90-plus-day delinquencies, the overall percentage of loans that are about three months overdue, were up 8 basis points over the third quarter to 0.9 per cent.
Australia's housing market has been under immense strain, with housing prices having fallen every month since late 2017. But recent encouraging signs in June from Sydney and Melbourne, and interest building from Chinese buyers, a key base, have spurred hopes that things may be improving.
"Softness in property market contributing to an increase in the time it takes to sell a property have contributed to the rise in delinquencies and properties in possession," Westpac said in a statement.
Properties in possession now sit at 550, a jump of 68 over the quarter.
Many hope back-to-back rate cuts in the past couple of months may boost consumer sentiment across the housing market, which may also get a lift from recently passed tax cuts.
Stressed assets rose in the third quarter by 10 basis points to 1.2 per cent, the lender said in a limited third-quarter update.
The Sydney-based lender's common equity tier-1 capital ratio, a measure of the bank's core equity capital, inched down to 10.5 per cent at the end of June from 10.6 per cent at March 31.