Enforcing tougher lending criteria is 'ridiculous', says Aussie chief

by Julia Corderoy30 Sep 2014
The Reserve Bank of Australia is set to front a Senate committee this Thursday to discuss the possibility of enforcing stricter lending rules in an attempt to keep the property market under control.

In its latest half-yearly Financial Stability Review, the Central Bank claimed the Australian housing and mortgage market is becoming “unbalanced” due to surging investor demand. According to the Review, investor housing loan approvals currently account for almost 40% of the value of total loan approvals.

However, Aussie Home Loans chief John Symond has told the ABC that enforcing tougher lending criteria is “ridiculous”.

"I'm concerned that what the Reserve Bank is suggesting is fraught with danger and it may well have unintended consequences that will hurt first homebuyers and other sectors playing the housing market," he told the ABC.

Labor Senator Sam Dastyari, who is the chairman of the committee, also told the ABC why the use of macro-prudential tools such as lending restrictions to curb property investment may be a risky move by the Reserve Bank. 

"The danger is unintended consequences whereby you kill off the only people that are investing in new housing stock," he said.

"We have to be very, very careful, the RBA has not yet made the case and that's why we're hauling them before a senate inquiry this week and demanding some answers."

According to the latest housing finance data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, investors are driving the growth in new home lending for construction with investment lending for new construction in the three months to July up 10.5% on the same period last year. For owner-occupiers, this figure was 8.8%.

For many industry pundits, it is this lack of housing supply that is the main cause of rising property prices. Even though housing construction has been forecasted to increase in 2015, Residential Development Council executive director, Nick Proud still doesn’t think it is enough to ease the pain.

“On average, Australia builds 150,000 homes each year, but this is simply not enough to meet demand, let alone reduce the housing shortage. These increased construction rates are expected to continue for the next 12-18 months – but the challenge is to keep up this level of activity to meet undersupply,” he said.



  • by Broker Chris 30/09/2014 9:58:29 AM

    The proposal is missing the mark. Our buisness operates prominently in the investor market, it is very rare that we see an investor gearing greater than 80%. The higher LVR lending remains with the first home buyer. These are the borrowers at risk of negative equity. This should be the area of focus that limits the risk to the banks. Max lvr's of 90% should apply however how do people afford their first home without the help of the first home owners grants. Best way to cool the market is to look at reducing the foreign investors.

  • by Bottom Line 30/09/2014 10:33:35 AM

    There's a problem in 1-2 cities, so the RBA try one sweeping rule, which has the potential to cripple many of the other cities & states. Sounds like the 'Modern Government' way of cracking walnuts with sledgehammers.
    Here's one from left field....try banning the overseas buyers that are paying cash for Australian properties, thereby pushing the market up - with some of these having reps in Aust, that are actually knocking on doors & offering amounts of $1.3mill etc to home owners. Not sure how changing the lending rules is going to combat the cash buyers.

  • by Joe Broker 30/09/2014 6:17:37 PM

    Couldn't agree more with Broker Chris and Bottom Line.I can't get over the extent that it's allowed to happen with foreign investors. Can't they see that? Rather than identify the cause and address that, they come up with another half-baked convoluted idea that stands to create more problems than it could ever hope to solve. Who's paying these people to come up with this stuff?? How out of touch!!!