Fitch IBCA has responded to the growth in offshore issuance by Australian securitizers during the last two years by producing an offshore investors' guide to the country's home loans market. The ratings agency notes that Australian mortgages have "unique features that distinguish them from mortgages in other countries" - such as redraw facilities, the ability to fix the interest rate for a set period, or interest-only periods.

The Australian mortgage industry has also shown "very low losses" historically, for reasons that include the full recourse nature of all home loans and such national traits as "pride in home ownership" and "credit culture". The Australian dollar equivalent of residential MBS issued outside Australia increased from A$4.7 billion (US$2.67 billion) to nearly A$8.2 billion between 1998 and last year, said the agency.

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