The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) has published its latest monthly authorised deposit-taking institutions statistics (MADIS) for February 2021, which showed that total resident loans and finance leases increased by 0.3 per cent – or $9.7 billion.
According to APRA, this was largely driven by housing lending, spurred by strong borrower demand for detached dwellings due to low borrowing costs (as interest rates remain low) and government support measures such as the HomeBuilder grant and the First Home Loan Deposit Scheme (FHLDS).
The APRA data showed that owner-occupied loans increased by 0.5 per cent or $6.3 billion, and investment loans grew by a more subdued 0.1 per cent or $800 million.
Across the big four banks, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) recorded the largest increase in its total home lending portfolio, from approximately $468.0 billion in January 2021 to around $469.9 billion in February, representing a 0.42 per cent rise.
This increase was driven by the bank’s owner-occupier portfolio, with lending increasing from $308.7 billion in January to $310.6 billion in February. However, its investor lending portfolio remained stable at around $159.3 billion in February.
CBA released its results for the first half of the 2021 financial year in February, which showed that domestic lending increased 3 per cent in the six months to 31 December 2020, which was 1.5 times system growth.
CBA CEO Matt Comyn told The Adviser at the time of the release of the results that an increase in applications delayed turnaround times, particularly towards the end of December 2020 and January 2021.
He, however, added that it was “somewhat easier” to increase decisioning speed from a proprietary perspective “because of the richness of the data that we have about those customers”.
He continued: “It is important, from our perspective, to make it easy for our brokers to do business with us and to make sure that we’re providing a competitive and leading decisioning process and turnaround time. And I know that that’s a focus from Angus [Sullivan], who runs the retail bank, and our third-party team.”
Westpac’s mortgage book increased from $406.6 billion in January to $408.0 billion in February (0.35 per cent rise), driven by increase in both its owner-occupier and investor lending portfolios.
The major bank’s owner-occupier lending totalled around $231.0 billion in February, an increase from $229.9 billion in January, while investor lending increased from $176.7 billion in January to $177.0 billion in February.
National Australia Bank’s (NAB) home loan portfolio recorded a 0.20 per cent increase, growing from $260.8 billion in January to $261.3 billion in February.
While NAB’s owner-occupier loan portfolio recorded an increase from $159.5 billion in January to $160.4 billion in February, its investor lending portfolio decreased from around $101.3 billion in January to $100.9 billion in February.
Meanwhile, ANZ’s loan portfolio has remained largely stable, with the lender’s total book rising from $262.8 billion in January to around $263.0 billion in February.
While its owner-occupier portfolio grew from $175.3 billion to $175.5 billion between January and February, its investor lending portfolio has remained at around $87.4 billion.
The latest statistics from APRA has coincided with the release of the Reserve Bank of Australia’s (RBA) Financial Aggregates data for February 2021, which has recorded housing credit growth of 0.4 per cent (unchanged from the rate of growth in January).
The figures (which have been sourced from the Australia Bureau of Statistics, APRA and the RBA) revealed annual housing credit growth of 3.8 per cent, an increase from 3.1 per cent recorded in February 2020.
Total monthly credit growth – which includes housing, personal and business – has also remained unchanged, at 0.2 per cent in February.
However, total annual credit growth has decreased to 1.6 per cent in February 2021, compared with 2.7 per cent in February 2020.
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Malavika Santhebennur is the features editor on the mortgages titles at Momentum Media.
Before joining the team in 2019, Malavika held roles with Money Management and Benchmark Media. She has been writing about financial services for the past six years.