Lending dropped over April, due partly to public holidays in the month, according to data released this week by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).
The figures show that the value of new housing loans fell 6.4% to $31.0 billion in April 2022 (seasonally adjusted), following a rise of 2.1% in the previous month.
The value of new housing loan commitments fell 7.3% for owner-occupier lending, while investor lending fell 4.8%. These were the largest monthly falls since May 2020.
Katherine Keenan, ABS head of Finance and Wealth, said that lenders attributed the falls to a softening housing market, as well as the close proximity of Easter and ANZAC day public holidays, which softened borrower demand and limited loan processing more than would usually occur.
Despite the decreases, the value of lending in April remains higher than pre-pandemic levels. The value of new owner-occupier loans was 44% higher than February 2020, while the value of investor commitments was 113% higher.
Falls in the value of new owner-occupier lending were seen across most states and territories. The largest of these falls were in New South Wales (down 12.6%), Victoria (down 9.7%) and Queensland (down 2.4%).
The number of new first home buyer loans fell 4.4% in April 2022. This was 34.3% lower compared to a year ago, however it remained 4.2% higher than February 2020 levels. Falls were seen across almost all states and territories, particularly Victoria (down 10.1%) and New South Wales (down 11.4%).
A larger decline over the last year in the number of new loans for owner-occupier dwellings relative to the value reflects the significant increase in average loan sizes at the national level, from $548,000 in April 2021 to $615,000 in April 2022.
The value of new investor lending, which reached a record high at the national level in March 2022, fell in April across most states and territories. The largest of the falls were in Queensland (down 17.2%), New South Wales (down 8.3%) and Victoria (down 5.3%).