“It did feel, certainly from a demand perspective, that there was quite a big shift in sentiment,” Mr Comyn said at a Trans-Tasman Business Circle lunch in Sydney.
CBA later said the total number of mortgage applications it received, including those coming in via mortgage brokers as well branches and call centres, last week rose by about 10 per cent on previous weeks, to its highest level in 10 months.
The election result has stoked greater confidence in the property market because Labor had vowed to rein in negative gearing and capital gains tax concessions if elected.
Further boosting optimism towards housing, the banking regulator last week flagged changes that would lift customers’ borrowing capacity, and the Reserve Bank signalled a likely cut in official interest rates next week.
Mr Comyn said an RBA rate cut would have “some effect,” but other changes such as tax cuts were generally more effective in stimulating the economy.
”Clearly some of the fiscal stimulus, cuts to taxes and increases in sentiment, they tend to have a much better transmission effect in terms of the broader economy,” Mr Comyn said.
He did not comment on how CBA would respond to any RBA rate cut, due to a ban on banks “price signalling,” but acknowledged a cut in deposit rates would have a “real impact” on people who depend on interest they get on savings.
Mr Comyn made remarks following a speech in which he said CBA would invest more than $5 billion over the next five years, including on technology, alongside systems to save customers money. For example, he said the bank was sending about 500,000 alerts to customers a week about upcoming bills, which could help people avoid $60 million a year in overdrawn fees.
With auction clearance rates rising in recent months and the rate of decline in Sydney and Melbourne prices slowing, mortgage brokers are also seeing tentative signs of recovery in the property market.
AFG chief David Bailey said broker networks “are reporting a higher level of activity” since the election. He said he thought the election was “activating” its customers, though it was hard to know whether that bounce was higher than it would have been had Labor won.
“Lodgement activity has picked up compared to the past few months… probably up 10 per cent,” Mr Bailey said.
Mortgage Choice chief Susan Mitchell said it was “unsurprising” that preliminary auction clearance rates had improved following the election, but it had not seen a substantial lift in the number of enquiries it received.
Sydney house prices are about 15 per cent below their peak in, while Melbourne’s market is about 11 per cent off the top. Mr Comyn said falling house prices had been “a good thing” for financial stability, and the trends of rising loan losses and more customers ending up customers in negative equity would probably slow.
Clancy Yeates is a business reporter.
Josh Dye is a news reporter with The Sydney Morning Herald.