Voluntary payments into mortgages doubled in July, August and September from the previous 12 months, as home loan borrowers paid extra to build a buffer.

Data from non-bank lender Firstmac shows the level of additional payments made by borrowers rose to an average 10% of the portfolio in the past three months, compared with the monthly average payment of 5% last year.

“There’s obviously a lot of money flowing through the economy and people are choosing to save that money,” says Firstmac chief financial officer James Austin. “Paying down the mortgage is another form of saving.”

In the June quarter, the nation’s household savings ratio jumped to 20%, the highest level since 1974. The figures indicate a relatively low level of arrears among mortgage holders seeking payment relief, which is consistent with data from the Commonwealth Bank.

According to the CBA, 22,900 (57%) of the 40,200 customers who deferred their loan repayments are now ready to start making them again.