Investor lending still hot

Investor lending is still driving home-loan growth, according to the latest housing finance figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Released yesterday, the ABS figures show that on a seasonally adjusted basis, investment housing finance commitments increased 3.7 per cent in September, while owner-occupied mortgages increased 1.4 per cent.

In trend terms, investment housing commitments rose 1.7 per cent and owner-occupied housing commitments rose 0.1 per cent over the same period.

AMP Capital chief economist Shane Oliver said that it is unclear whether the figures reflect that the RBA’s jawboning efforts have failed to deter investors.

“The housing finance figures that came out yesterday that show a 3.7 per cent rise in investment lending relates to September, and the RBA only started their jawboning in September,” Mr Oliver said.

“The bulk of the jawboning of a threat of macroprudential controls on the banks would have come out in the second half of September, which may have been too late to affect the September housing finance figures,” he said.

Mr Oliver said it could be too early to tell, but he pointed to the auction clearance rates in recent weeks, which have painted a mixed message.

“They may have come off a bit, but they are still relatively high,” Mr Oliver said.

“Likewise house price growth, according to RP data figures is still relatively rapid,” he said.

“Either it’s too early to tell whether the RBA jawboning has had any effect or so far it hasn’t had much of an impact if it has.”

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