Mortgage lending holds up in May

Mortgage borrowing hit $8.9 billion last month as investors, first home buyers, and other owner-occupiers remained active despite record house prices and new lending restrictions.

New statistics from the Reserve Bank underline the ongoing strength of the lending market.

The figures show a month-on-month increase in borrowing. In April, home lending reached $8.4 billion.

The near $9 billion in lending dwarfs the $4.3 billion borrowed in May 2020, during Covid-19 lockdown restrictions.

Each type of mortgage borrower remained active over the month, according to the data.

First home buyers borrowed $1.75 billion, up from $1.57 billion in April.

Other owner-occupiers borrowed $5.4 billion, up from $5.1 billion the prior month. 

While investors received $1.57 billion, down from $1.66 billion month-on-month. 

Investors accounted for 17.6% of new mortgage commitments, down from a share of 19.7% the previous month, according to the Reserve Bank.

First home buyers had a share of 19.7%, up from 18.5%, while other owner occupiers rose from 60.9% to 61.6%. 

Mortgage commitments with high LVR to investors were down from 37.6% in April to 32.1%, marking the sixth consecutive month of decline, following the reintroduction and strengthening of LVR speed limits.

High LVR lending to first home buyers grew from 35.9% in April to 37.7%, while other owner-occupiers' high LVR lending grew by 0.2% to 3%.

While high LVR investor lending is on the decline, the monthly figures indicate investors have retained a strong presence in the property market, despite the Government's housing reforms, and reimposed LVR limits.

The $1.57 billion borrowed by investors in May remains higher than pre-Covid levels. Investors borrowed $1.3 billion in March 2020.

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