Mortgage lending strong in December

Wednesday 29 January 2020

December mortgage lending increased by more than $1 billion year-on-year, according to the latest figures from the Reserve Bank.

At $6.53 billion, total mortgage lending last month was more than $1 billion higher than December 2017 and 2018, according to new RBNZ statistics. A total of $5.3 billion was borrowed in December 2018.

While total lending was down on November's $6.7 billion, the figures underline a resurgent housing market, boosted by record-low interest rates, in the final months of 2019. 

With the exception of November 2019, last month marked the highest mortgage lending figures since May 2018.

Investors continued their strong showing in recent months, borrowing $1.29 billion, up from $949 million in December 2018.

First home buyers also went from strength to strength, borrowing $1.20 billion, up from $924 million in December 2018. Owner-occupiers also borrowed more than in December 2018.

After 75 basis points were cut from the official cash rate last year, the New Zealand housing market enjoyed a period of price inflation in the final quarter of 2019. The government's u-turn on capital gains tax is also said to have boosted the property market.

Meanwhile, lenders appear to be more willing to issue high LVR loans, according to the data. 

High LVR borrowing reached $724 million last month, the highest figure on record, dating back to 2014. First home buyers, borrowing $482 million, took up the bulk of high LVR loans last month.

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