Housing finance flattens

The May Housing Finance figures revealed a headline result of $32.3 billion.

Investor lending was up by 3.9 per cent in the month to $11.75 billion, but total housing finance has been fairly flat for 15 months now.


The slowdown in investor lending since the mid-2015 peak has essentially been offset in home lending.


The net effect at the macro level therefore is that the growth in housing finance has been capped.


Note that these figures relate to May.

This week lenders announced a range of cuts to home lending rates, with National Australian Bank now offering fixed rate mortgages from as low as 3.75 per cent.

State versus state

The number of owner-occupier commitments has been falling in Western Australia and the Northern Territory, but rising in South Australia and notably Canberra since the end of the public sector hiring freeze.


The value of commitments has also been trending up in South Australia and the ACT, while APRA’s limits have successfully curbed the parabolic rise in lending in New South Wales.


First homebuyers

The average loan size in May was $357,300, up by $10,000 from one year previously but below the November 2015 peak.

The average loan size to first homebuyers has been trimmed back over the past year, making it harder for first time buyers to enter the market.


The first homebuyer average loan size has declined across every state and territory.


The wrap

The May housing finance figures revealed not much of great excitement.

The construction cycle looks close to its peak, with new home finance now declining, and APRA’s limits have made it tougher for those without equity or serviceability to source loans, flattening the lending market.

It’s as yet unclear what lower lending rates can or will do to the market in the second half of 2016.

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Pete Wargent is a Chartered Accountant, Chartered Secretary and has a Financial Planning Diploma. He’s achieved financial freedom at the age of 33 - as detailed in his book ‘Get a Financial Grip – A Simple Plan for Financial Freedom’. Pete now manages his investment portfolio, travels and works as a consultant in the finance industry from time to time. Visit his blog

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