The chief executive of one the major Australian banks has called for a “very rational debate” about property investment in this country, saying there may be an “irrational obsession” with housing as an investment class.
Ahead of the federal government’s Financial Services Inquiry to be released this month, the chief executive of ANZ
's Australian arm, Phil Chronican, said he could understand why the Reserve Bank was looking at introducing limitations on lending to property investors.
In an interview with Fairfax Media, Chronican said he was worried some investors viewed buying property as a "one-way bet".
“I do worry that some people behave as if housing is always a one-way bet. I think there is a bit of an irrational obsession with housing as an investment class. For many investors, they would be better off in assets other than housing.”
Joining Bank of America Merrill Lynch chief economist Saul Eslake, Chronican has called for a review of how housing is taxed.
“From a community awareness viewpoint, I think there should be more debate around the strengths and weaknesses of housing as an investment class,” he told Fairfax.
“Australia would benefit from having a very rational debate about the role housing as an investment class should and shouldn't play.”
Financial aggregates released by the Reserve Bank on Friday revealed lending to investors has reached a record high of $475 billion in September 2014. This is up $41 billion from the same time last year.
In its financial results for the year to September 2014, ANZ
reported a 15% increase in home loan sales over the year. According to the results breakdown, 61% of loans were to owner-occupiers.