Mortgage Choice says fixed rate loans accounted for about a third (32%) of all loan approvals during the first month of 2007, compared to the 12-month average of 30%. In contrast, standard variable loan approvals fell to 29.74 % while basic variable approvals drop to 23.56 %. "There is no doubt that the three rate rises in 2006 have unsettled borrowers and in particular first homebuyers," says Warren O'Rourke, Mortgage Choice national corporate affairs manager. "Our data during the past three months has shown fixed rates to be the most popular mortgage route. At a time when there has been strong consumer sentiment about further rate rises, having certainty around repayments in 2007 made sense to a lot of people." A survey by Mortgage Choice in December revealed that 86.3% of respondents believed interest rates would rise in the first quarter of 2007. Luckily, the Reserve Bank of Australia held off raising interest rates during February.

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