New home lending rises for third straight month

First home buyers are driving the growth, now accounting for nearly a third of the market

New home lending rises for third straight month


By Madison Utley

Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has revealed that new lending commitments to households rose 3.2% in August, following a 4.3% jump in July and a 1.8% increase in June.

“Strong refinancing activity was seen for the second month in a row, while new lending commitments for investment dwellings recorded the strongest monthly growth since September 2016,” said ABS chief economist, Bruce Hockman.

The value of new lending for owner occupier dwellings rose 1.9% nationally in August, with rises in all states and territories apart from the Northern Territory.

Commitments for investment dwellings rose 5.7%, with Queensland – up 10.4% – and Victoria – up 9.5% – recording the strongest growth.

The number of loans to owner occupier first home buyers rose 5.2% in August, the strongest rise this year. Year on year, these commitments were up 8.0%.

“We could be seeing the early signs of the positive impacts from recent policy stimulus with lending for both new and existing homes up for the month and the quarter,” said HIA Economist, Tom Devitt.

“The decline in lending, which has been evident since late 2017, has started to reverse since the RBA started to cut interest rates in June.

“First home buyers now account for 30.1% of the total market, the highest share since the start of 2012, so continued growth in this segment is important for the broader housing market.

“Given the lag between loan applications and final approval, it is likely that the full effects of recent stimulus is yet to play out in the data and will provide further support to the market as the year progresses.”

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