Investors continue to flock back into the market, according to data released this week by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).
The latest figures show that the value of new loans for housing fell 4.3% in August 2021 (seasonally adjusted), driven by a 6.6% fall in new lending to owner-occupiers.
In contrast to the fall in owner-occupier lending, the value of new investor loan commitments continued to grow (1.5%), with unbroken growth since October 2020. The value of investor loan commitments was 92% higher compared to a year ago and the highest seen since the series’ all-time high in April 2015.
The value of new loans for owner-occupier housing saw the largest fall since May 2020. Despite the fall, the figure was 34% higher compared to a year ago and 53% higher than pre-COVID levels in February 2020.
ABS head of Finance and Wealth Katherine Keenan noted that the largest falls were in states and territories with greater lockdown restrictions. New South Wales fell 9.6%, Victoria fell 4.9% and the Australian Capital Territory fell 11.0%. Smaller falls were seen in Western Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory, while Queensland rose 2.0% and South Australia rose 1.8%.
Average loan size for owner-occupier homes (construction, purchase of new dwellings and existing dwellings) dipped slightly at the national level and across most states, with the notable exception of New South Wales where it rose to a new record high of $732k.
Increased investor loan commitments were seen across most states, particularly Queensland (up 13.6%), Western Australia (up 7.2%) and Victoria (up 1.9%). New South Wales recorded the largest fall of 3.2%.
The number of new loans to owner-occupier first home buyers recorded a seventh consecutive drop, falling 3.0% in August 2021 (seasonally adjusted). Loans fell 2.1% compared to August 2020, recording the first through-the-year decline in two years.
“Similar to the value of owner-occupier commitments, states and territories with greater lockdown restrictions had the largest falls in the number of first home buyer loan commitments”, Keenan said.
“New South Wales fell 11.5%, Victoria fell 3.8% and the Australian Capital Territory fell 12.7%. The only rises were in Queensland (1.3%) and Western Australia (3.7%)”, he concluded.