Mortgage market begins to rebalance

Housing finance data for July shows signs that the Australian mortgage market is rebalancing in response to recent regulatory changes and differentiated pricing.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show that investor home loans rose slightly by 0.5 per cent in July following a 0.5 per cent fall in June.

Meanwhile, owner-occupied housing finance continues to gather momentum, lifting marginally in July by 0.3 per cent.

“July housing finance data provided further evidence that investment lending is slowing as it rose only 0.5 per cent after a 0.5 per cent fall in June,” AMP Capital chief economist Shane Oliver said, “and this was before the APRA measures really started to impact.

“Meanwhile lending to owner-occupiers rose strongly for the second month in a row,” he said. “It looks increasingly like the property lending market is starting to become more balanced.”

Westpac senior economist Matthew Hassan said the July housing finance approvals data were largely in line with expectations.

"The number of owner-occupier approvals was up 0.3 per cent over the month versus expectations of a 0.8 per cent gain,” he said.

“In effect both owner-occupier and investor lending was largely unchanged – the former following a fairly flat year and the latter following a sharp rise over the previous 12 months.”

Mr Hassan said the next few months are likely to get considerably more interesting with multiple factors at play including sharply weaker buyer sentiment amongst owner-occupiers through August to September and the added complication of tighter lending criteria and increased mortgage rates for investors following APRA’s macroprudential measures.

 

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