APRA’s investor crackdown: will it stick this time?

Regulatory measures to curb investor lending appear to be working, with the latest housing finance figures showing a further fall in April.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics’ Housing Finance Data shows there was a 2.3 per cent drop in investor lending in April, according to the seasonally adjusted figures.

RateCity’s money editor, Sally Tindall, said that while APRA would be pleased with the initial outcome, the government regulator was looking for long-term results.

“There’s good chance we’ll see a further reduction in investor activity in the coming months however the real question is whether it will stick,” she said.

“Last time APRA cracked down on investor lending we saw an immediate drop in the figures but the numbers started climbing back up within six months.”

The other key statistic to come out of the ABS data was a sharp reduction in refinancing activity. Mortgage holders made $5.8 billion of refinancing commitments in April – down 4.4 per cent over the month and 17.8 per cent over the year.

“We saw a rise in March when the banks all hiked their rates out of cycle but the numbers of refinancers have fallen away once again,” Ms Tindall said.

“The average mortgage holder could save over $2,500 a year by switching to one of the lowest lenders on the market and over $70,000 over the life of a 30-year loan,” she said.

“That’s not pocket change we’re talking about.”

[Related: Housing and property a 'big issue' on APRA's agenda]

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