The latest home loan data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics has revealed the demand for mortgages increased in November, but remained below the peak seen in August last year.

According to the ABS figures, just over $33.3 billion worth of home loans were written in November, representing a 1.8% increase from October 2015 figures.

Increased activity from owner occupiers was the driving force behind the monthly increase, with lending commitments to those buying their own homes increasing by 2.4% over the month.

The increase means that owner occupied mortgage commitments now total $21.753 billion, while an increase of 0.7% saw the total value of investment loans hit $11.5 billion.  

While the figures show the level of investor lending in November sat 7.7% lower than the same time in 2014, Mortgage Choice chief executive officer John Flavell said the November monthly increase is a positive sign for the real estate market in Australia.

“Last month, we saw a significant drop in the total value of investment loans written – a drop we attributed to the recent investment lending changes,” Flavell said. 

“This month, we have seen investment lending increase slightly, which is very pleasing as it suggests the housing market remains robust,” he said.

Flavell isn’t the only one to welcome the November figures, with Housing Industry Association senior economist Diwa Hopkins believing they hold good signs for the property sector in 2016.

“This is a positive update for Australia’s housing sector, showing that lending activity remained healthy toward the end of last year,” Hopkins said.

“Looking at the detail, lending activity among investors is still below what appears to be the cyclical peak back in April last year. More strength is evident in the owner occupier segment of the market, with the latest level of lending activity on par with recent highs,” she said.

“These signals from housing finance are consistent with other indicators pointing to very healthy levels of activity in the residential construction sector in early 2016.”