Investor lending exodus

Friday 25 August 2017

It is investors, not first home buyers, who are bearing the brunt of the LVRs and retreating from the borrowing arena, new Reserve Bank data shows.

By Miriam Bell

The slower housing market has recently prompted a slew of calls for the Reserve Bank’s LVRs to be reviewed on the grounds that they are hurting first home buyers.

However, the Reserve Bank residential mortgage lending data for July is now out and it highlights the fact that it is lending to investors which is on a steep decline, not lending to first home buyers.

July saw total new lending of $4.802 billion, which was down on June’s total of $5.097 billion and is a reflection of the cooler market.

When compared to the same time last year the decline in lending is even more pronounced: in July 2016 there was $6.305 billion of new lending.

Within that lending total, investors were responsible for $1.062 billion in July.

Not only is that figure a drop on the $1.219 billion investors borrowed in June, but it is down by nearly 50% on the $2.095 billion of investor lending in July 2016.

In contrast, lending to first home buyers was up year-on-year. They borrowed $699 million in July, which was up on the $689 million they borrowed in July last year.

Given the latest round of LVRs, which requires investors to stump up a 40% deposit, have now been in play for a year, this data leaves little doubt they have led investors to pull back on the lending front.

Their departure has left a gap in the market for first home buyers and it appears they are moving into it.

It is worth noting that lending to other owner-occupiers was also down in July, as well as year-on-year. They accounted for $2.985 billion of lending in July, as compared to $3.457 billion in July 2016.

Meanwhile, the higher than 80% LVR lending data provides another indication of just how much impact the LVRs have had on investors.

While higher than 80% LVR lending was down across all borrower groups year-on-year, both first home buyers and other owner occupiers saw an increase in higher than 80% lending in July.

However, the drop off in higher than 80% LVR lending to investors is stark.

Back in July 2016, investors were responsible for higher than 80% LVR lending to the tune of $26 million.

But by June this year higher than 80% LVR lending to investors was down to $9 million and in July it fell even further to just $2 million.

While both investors, and the broader market, might be feeling the effects of the LVR regime, economists say it is unlikely that the Reserve Bank will lift the LVRs anytime soon.

Read more:

LVRs are not going anywhere 

No end in sight for LVRS 

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