The latest lending figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) show active participation from investors in Victoria prior to the stage four restrictions.
The overall value of loan commitments in August rose by 9.3% on a month-on-month basis, driven by the increases in Victoria and Queensland. However, on an annual basis, investor lending was still down by 4.6%.
The monthly uptrend was also evident in other segments, with owner-occupier financing increasing by 13.6% and first-home buyer commitments jumping by 17.7%. Given the strong demand from all segments, the overall value housing financing in the month went up by 12.6%
However, it is crucial to note that the spike in loan commitments in August reflect the demand prior to the stage four restrictions in Victoria, said Amanda Seneviratne, head of finance at ABS.
"Lenders are reporting to us that current processing times mean that August commitments reflect customer demand in June and early July, prior to Victoria imposing stage 3 and stage 4 restrictions," she said.
Still, the growth in financing commitments is a good indicator of rising demand, said Tim Hibbert, principal economist at BIS Oxford Economics.
"The latest lending indicators data is encouraging, with households responding strongly to record low interest rates and the various buyer incentives in play. Growth is expected to slow over the coming months, with the Melbourne lockdown to weigh negatively," he said.