The tightening is also reflected in the latest survey by non-bank lender Resi Mortgage Corporation. Resi found that borrowers are now watching their finances more closely amidst the current higher interest rate environment. The survey also showed that consumers are now forgoing non-essentials and are refinancing their loans to better manage the increase in interest rates. Around 84% of Resi's franchise owners reported that customers are expecting another rate hike by the end of the year, while 77% said that rate increases have made clients more cautious about borrowing money. "Based on the results of the survey, most homebuyers appear to be behaving sensibly in the current purse-stretching environment, with an eye on more rate increases in the coming months," says Lisa Montgomery, Resi's national consumer advocacy manager. "People who are talking to homebuyers everyday are detecting greater financial caution in their approach. They are adapting to the past rate rise but aren't eager to see more." Despite the higher rates and possibility of further rate hike, about a third of Resi's franchise businesses reported a marked increase in interest for first homebuyer loans. This is in line with the lender's internal statistics showing a 50% increase in first homebuyer's applications in the three months between July and September this year. Montgomery pointed out that while rate rises and petrol hikes haven't been ideal for first homebuyers, it seems that there are a good number who are deciding take advantage of the slump in property prices some states. "This shows that first homebuyers are still keen to get into the market while they have an advantage," she says.

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