Online lenders are experiencing a sharp increase in enquiries as home owners look to refinance, availing of the lowest mortgage rates in Australian history.

Mortgage broker Clint Howen of Hero Home Loans online says inquiries have increased to five times their usual traffic with first-home buyers and families driving the surge.

“We’re an online mortgage broker and lender, always 100% online, and now that you can’t physically see people, we’re seeing a lot more people come through,” says Howen.

“This happened after the GFC as well. The stock market crashed, people took money out and people had self-managed super funds. The same thing is kind of happening now. It’s early days but we’re getting that sense of people feel safer with property … It’s going to take a while to play out, I think six to 12 months.”

Howen says the lowest interest rate now is 2.09% from ING fixed, with the major banks also offering low rates – for example, Commonwealth Bank at 2.19% fixed.