Slowing investor lending leads to housing-finance falls

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The number of home loans continued to decline in November as the value of investment housing commitments dropped to 2013 levels.

The figures recorded over the period generally show that, in trend terms, the number of owner-occupied finance commitments decreased by 0.2%—marking the fourteenth consecutive month of decreases. If refinancing is excluded, in trend terms, the number of owner-occupied finance commitments dropped by 0.2%, which is the lowest level since October 2014 and also the fourteenth consecutive decline month-over-month.

Slumps were recorded in Victoria, New South Wales (NSW) and Queensland, with NSW reporting the largest decrease at 0.7%.

Western Australia, South Australia, Tasmania, the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory posted increases, with ACT (2.2%) leading the upward trend.

The overall drop was driven by another sharp fall in the value of investor finance, down by 1.5% and currently at par with 2013 levels, according to Real Estate Institute of Australia (REIA) President Adrian Kelly.

REIA’s report showed that the number of established-dwelling purchase commitments decreased by 0.1%, while the purchase of new dwellings slid by 0.6% and new-dwelling construction fell by 0.9%.

The proportion of first-home buyers, as a part of total owner-occupied housing-finance commitments, rose in November to 18.3% from 18.1% in October. The number of loans to first-home buyers, meanwhile, climbed by 3.5%.

Kelly said that continued decline in housing finance mirrors the slowing market, Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) restrictions on investors, the consequences from the Royal Commission into Banking, and the concerns about changes to property taxation and its impact should there be a change in government.

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