The latest figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ (ABS) on lending indicators shows Australia continues to record strong mortgage activity, in the face of COVID-19.
Owner-occupied loans (seasonally adjusted) continued it’s strong growth hitting $22.7 billion, a marginal 1 per cent rise on the previous month, which was the third consecutive monthly rise after falls from June 2021 through to Octobers 2021.
Investor housing rose 6.1 per cent to a “record high” of $11 billion, driving the rise in new housing loan commitments.
Total housing increased to a record $33.6 billion, which was 18.2 per cent higher compared to a year ago.
Commenting on the results, Dr Andrew Wilson, consultant economist for Bluestone Home Loans, said although home lending has “rebounded strongly” over three consecutive months, housing affordability constraints will “sideline” home buyers, particularly in Sydney and Melbourne.
“Affordability advantages in the other capitals will however continue to support current high levels of home buying and sharply rising prices — particularly in Brisbane and Adelaide."
While external refinancing went up 18.7 per cent on year-on-year to $14.2 billion, it recorded a steady decrease since its peak in August 2021 at $17.7 billion.
The decrease in external refinancing was reflected across both owner-occupied refinancing and investor refinancing.
Banks record lending growth
Meanwhile, the results coincide with the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority’s (APRA) January 2022 authorised deposit-taking institution (ADI) statistics, which revealed new home loans went up $11.5 billion, led by owner-occupied loans.
APRA said the banks recorded $9.1 billion (up 0.7 per cent) in owner-occupied home loans, while investment housing lending increased by $2.4 billion or 0.4 per cent.
“The sustained growth in housing lending reflects robust borrower demand bolstered by low mortgage interest rates,” it said.
Total residents loans and finance leases increased by $15.5 billion or 0.5 per cent in January, compared to $26.2 billion the month earlier.
Across the major banks, all the big four banks recorded growth in their respective mortgage portfolios, driven by owner-occupier lending.
The Commonwealth Bank of Australia’s (CBA) mortgage portfolio grew to $509 billion, led by owner-occupied loans which totalled $337.6 billion, followed by $171.4 billion in investment housing.
NAB recorded $282.5 billion in home loans, with owner-occupied loans equating to $179.8 billion - a slight increase on the month prior which totalled $178.5 billion.
For Westpac, there had been $1.9 billion in owner-occupied loans added to its book in January, compared to $2.5 billion the month earlier, taking its total loan book to $258.3 billion in occupied loans, with a total of $168.7 billion in investment housing.
ANZ’s mortgage portfolio grew to $260.6 billion in January, also largely driven by its owner-occupier lending portfolio of $173.3 billion.
[Related: ANZ's owner-occupier home loan book squeezed]