New lending was up 1.7% month-on-month but is likely to drop in the coming months as the property market cools.
The total value of refinancing was the second-highest on record, with owner-occupier refinancing at a record high.
Average new loan size decreased in NSW, SA, WA, Tasmania and the Northern Territory, however, nationally it went up slightly.
First home buyer numbers increased by 2.3% month-on-month but decreased 31.6% from the same time a year ago.
Housing loan approvals rebounded in May, but new borrowers have turned their backs on fixed-rate home loans, according to the latest ABS lending data.
The proportion of fixed loans funded in the month of May was just 12 per cent, in seasonally adjusted terms, and comes as banks rapidly hike fixed rates.
This includes both new loans and refinancing.
At the peak in July 2021, 46 per cent of all new loans were fixed.
Sally Tindall, Research Director of RateCity.com.au said:
“Australia’s brief love affair with fixing is over, with the ultra-low COVID rates now long gone.
With the majority of big four bank fixed rates now starting with a ‘5’ or a ‘6’, borrowers are returning to variable home loans."
Housing loan approvals are clearly off their recent highs and are likely to continue to turn lower as deteriorating housing market sentiment and higher rates bite on loan demand, but there is no sharp rollover yet apparent in the data to May.
Owner occupier loan commitments peaked in May last year, and are now 9.7% lower, though have flattened out in recent months. Investor approvals had continued to grow over the past year, but look to have peaked in March, now 4% off their recent highs.
The investor share of new loans has recovered from a 2020 low of 23.1% to around its longer run average and stood at 34.5% in May.
Sally Tindall said:
“The value of new home loans will likely drop as the property market cools, with the weekend’s clearance rates at just 55 per cent across the combined capitals, according to CoreLogic.”
Many Australians who were looking to buy have now pressed pause, waiting for prices to drop further before jumping in."
- Also read:Boom to bust: What makes property prices rise and fall
- Also read:Latest property price forecasts for 2024 revealed. What’s ahead in our housing markets in the next year or two?
- Also read:Sydney property market forecast for 2024
- Also read:This week’s Australian Property Market Update – Latest Data, State by State November 28th, 2023
- Also read:The Boom and Bust of our Property Cycles: A Journey Through the Investor’s Mind
The number of owner-occupier first home buyer loans increased by 2.3 per cent month-on-month in May.
However, year-on-year, the numbers have dropped by almost 32 per cent, with 4,708 fewer first home buyers in May 2022 than in May 2021.
Ms Tindall commented:
“With 35,000 new places in the federal government’s First Home Guarantee scheme now open, we could see first home buyer numbers increase.
However, young Australians buying with wafer-thin deposits need to be aware of the risks and make sure they are prepared for their repayments to continue to climb as the RBA keeps hiking."
The total value of refinancing rose by 3.1 per cent in May, with owner-occupier refinancing hitting a record high.
Ms Tindall further commented:
“There has been a surge in borrowers refinancing their home loans, locking in a lower rate to combat the RBA rate hikes.”
While across the board variable rates are rising, many banks are offering sharper rates and big cashback for customers willing to refinance."
While the national average new loan size for owner-occupier dwellings rose slightly in May, it has fallen in five states: NSW, SA, WA, Tasmania and the Northern Territory.
In NSW, the average new mortgage size dropped by $5,273 in May but is still $68,868 higher than a year ago.