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 than they’ve 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. Read our article on page 30 for tips on how to save thousands when refinancing.

Whether you are looking to buy your first home, move home, refinance, or invest in property, a mortgage broker can help. Access loans from all the major lenders, get help with paperwork – plus there is no charge for this service. Get help from a local mortgage broker