Figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show that total lending for construction of new houses or purchase of new property has passed $9 billion for the first time.

“In April 2015 there was a 4.3% increase in the number of owner occupier loans for construction, while the equivalent number of loans for the purchase of a new property rose by 1.6%,” Housing Industry Association (HIA) chief economist Harley Dale said.

“The April results include an increase in lending for investment in new residential dwellings which took the annual value to in excess of $9 billion for the first time ever.”

The figures also show the number of first home buyers is slowly on the increase.

“The number of first home buyer loans for owner occupiers remains low, but is running at its highest annual level in a year, although that of course excludes those first time buyers entering the investment market,” Dale said.

“In April 2015 the number of trade-up buyer loans reached its highest level since prior to the GFC.”

While the overall amount of lending has increased in Australia, it hasn’t been spread equally across the country.

Over the three months to April this year the seasonally adjusted estimate of new loans increased by 4.9% in New South Wales, 4.7% in Victoria, 3.4% in Queensland, 1.6% in South Australia, and 20.6% in the Northern Territory.

The number of loans fell over the same period in Western Australia (-4.4%), Tasmania (-10.3%), and the Australian Capital Territory (-8.7%).