Australian Bureau of Statistics housing finance figures released recently show that nationally, the number of loans to owner occupiers (excluding refinancing) declined modestly in February 2015 although the number of loans to those purchasing and building new homes increased slightly.
The number of loans to households building or purchasing new homes increased by 2.0% in February 2015.
This is a relatively positive result against a backdrop where lending to households purchasing existing homes eased back modestly. The number of loans to owner occupiers buying established homes, excluding refinancing, fell by 0.9% in February to a level 4.9% weaker compared with the same time a year ago.
Comparing the total number of owner occupier loans for new housing in February 2015 with February 2014 shows that only Victoria (+3.2%) and Tasmania (+71.7%) recorded growth. Elsewhere, there were declines in New South Wales (-0.4 %); Queensland (-1.7%); South Australia (-17.4%); and Western Australia (-12.8%).
Lending figures indicate that the investor market eased by around 3.4% during February, but remained around 9.9% higher than the same period a year ago. The majority of the growth in investor lending has been to those purchasing existing homes. In February over 90% of lending to investors went into the existing home market.
Lending activity in the first home buyer market remained quite weak. The number of loans to first home buyers in the three months to February 2015 was around 8.2% lower than the corresponding period a year earlier.