After falling dramatically over the past couple of months, mortgage sales rebounded in October, surging by 18% and buoyed by a record number of first homebuyers.

The latest data from Australian Finance Group (AFG) showed the number of borrowers buying for the first time jumped by 60% from the middle of the year, thanks to lower interest rates, cheaper properties and the government boost.

The number of customers refinancing also climbed sharply to an all-time high of 40.9% in the same period as borrowers hunt for the best deals on offer.

Most borrowers expected further rate cuts, with a record 51.2% opting for standard variable rate loans.

"Despite the turmoil in the global markets, this is a good time to be a first-time buyer," said Mark Hewitt, general manager with AFG. "Property prices are more attractive then they have been for a while, government incentives are more generous than ever before, and the rates are on their way down. We're also experiencing an unprecedented level of refinancing as buyers abandon second-tier lenders for the major banks, who now control 89% of the mortgage market."

If you're thinking of refinancing, be aware that there are massive costs involved in breaking your loan and switching to another lender. For an in-depth report on how to negotiate a good deal and save thousands on your mortgage, read the latest issue of Your Mortgage magazine, out on sale now.

It can be confusing to know whether to get a variable rate or fixed rate mortgage, and what features are important. That's why it's important to not only check the right rates, but make sure that you're getting the right features in your home loan. Get help choosing the right home loan