Investor lending weak in March

The latest Reserve Bank lending data reveals investors borrowed more than $1 billion in March, the highest figure since November, but a 10% fall on the same period last year.

Investors took out home loans worth $1.09 billion, more than the $886 million borrowed in February, but a 10% drop on the $1.36 billion borrowed in March 2018.

Investors remained active despite the threat of a capital gains tax, which has since been ruled out by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern while she is in power.

Last month's investor numbers leave the market close to 2017 and 2018, when borrowing figures hovered around the $1 billion mark. Yet the figures are way down on investor market peaks. In mid 2016, investor borrowing regularly topped $2 billion.

Property investors edged out first home buyers again. Those getting onto the property ladder borrowed $999 million last month.

First home buyers are borrowing significantly more than in previous years. The $999 borrowed in March is the highest March figure on record, and the third highest month on record for FHBs. 

Property experts, such as researcher CoreLogic, say first home buyers are borrowing more, taking advantage of low rates, and stretching to get on the ladder in Auckland, where prices have stabilised over the past year. 

The borrowing figures could grow as 2019 continues. Leading economists believe the Reserve Bank will cut interest rates next week, or in August, to boost flagging GDP and inflation figures. 




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