Investor loans grew steadily in January, serving as one of the indicators of a strengthening market, according to experts.

Over the month, the overall value of investor loans, excluding refinancing, increased by 3.6% to $5.70bn on a seasonally adjusted basis. This is equivalent to yearly growth of 14.7%.

This strong showing from the investor segment contributed to the 4.6% increase in the overall value of lending for housing, which ended the month at $20.73bn.

While owner-occupiers continue to lead the improvement, investors are starting to keep up. The latest increase in financing for houses has been the most robust monthly growth in the cycle thus far, said Tim Reardon, chief economist at the Housing Industry Association (HIA).

"Overall housing market conditions continued to strengthen in January. Conditions reached their weakest in May 2019, but the subsequent improvement has been healthy," he said.

On a trend basis, investor loans grew 2.1% monthly and 11.3% annually. However, the segment is still 40% below its market peak.

"This house price rebound is not investor driven right now," Callam Pickering, economist at Indeed, said in a tweet.

Still, investors are starting to recapture their share of the market.

"Investors accounted for 27.6% of new mortgage lending in January, down from 29.6% a year ago," Pickering said.

Maree Kilroy, economist for BIS Oxford Economics, said the COVID-19 outbreak has yet to show any material impact on the market.

"Almost all lead indicators remain positive, including auction clearance rates and property prices," she said.

In fact, the strong participation from the first-home buyers is expected to persist, given the effect of the federal government's deposit scheme.

Kilroy said the Reserve Bank of Australia is expected to cut rates further in response to the uncertainties brought about by the COVID-19 outbreak.

"While stimulatory, it is expected that the boost from these rate cuts will be fully neutralised by elevated household anxiety over 2020," she said.