News

Mortgage lending bounces back up

There’s evidence of the housing market’s Spring rebound in the Reserve Bank’s latest mortgage lending data – but it’s not property investors who have significantly upped their borrowing.

Recent housing market data shows that prices and sales picked up slightly in November, as compared to October.

The Reserve Bank’s monthly lending data supports that Spring rebound, recording an increase in total new mortgage lending to $5.293 billion in November.

That’s up on $4.605 billion in October and is the highest new lending total since May this year.

Of November’s total new lending, owner-occupiers accounted for $3.330 billion, investors accounted for $1.136 billion and first home buyers accounted for $778 million.

While new lending to all groups was up, it was lending to owner-occupiers which saw the biggest rise – up from $2.789 billion in October.

In comparison, new lending to investors was up from $1.050 billion in October while new lending to first home buyers was up from $722 million in October.

Owner-occupiers share of the new lending came in at nearly 63% while investors share of the lending remains low at around 21.5%.

This stands in stark contrast to the period before the Reserve Bank announced it would be introducing its investor-focused LVRs in July 2016.

Back in July 2016, investors’ share of total lending came in at 33% and, in the months prior, it was hovering around the 35% plus mark.

That means there has been a significant, ongoing decline in the share of new lending going to investors – in line with the Reserve Bank’s LVR restrictions on investors.

Meanwhile, higher than 80% LVR lending inched up slightly to $315 million in November, from $306 million in October.

Of that, investors were responsible for just $6 million, while first home buyers were responsible for $173 million and owner-occupiers for $136 million.

In its November Financial Stability Report, Reserve Bank Acting Governor Grant Spencer said that the LVRs have helped to improve banking system resilience by substantially reducing the share of high-LVR loans.

November’s new mortgage lending data provides further evidence of this and is likely to reinforce the Reserve Bank’s decision to ease the LVRs slightly from 1 January 2018.