Home lending jumps in June

Friday 24 July 2020

New mortgage lending jumped to $5.3 billion in June as the market recovered strongly from the Covid-19 lockdown.

The latest Reserve Bank statistics show lending was up from $4.3 billion in May, but slightly down on the $5.4 billion borrowed in June last year. 

The data adds further weight to the theory New Zealand's housing market has recovered strongly from the Covid lockdown. 

First home buyers took a notable chunk of the home loan market in June, borrowing $1.09 billion, up from $926 million in June 2019. 

The share of new lending going to FHBs reached 20.3%, the highest share since the RBNZ started collecting these figures back in 2013, according to Kiwibank.

Investors borrowed just over $1 billion at $1.04 billion, up from $1.02 billion in June last year. 

Home loan issuance has recovered quickly since the pandemic lockdown halted activity in March. Yet housing market analysts warn the figures represent pent-up demand, with house activity frozen over the March/April period. 

The central bank's decision to scrap loan-to-value ratio restrictions continues to boost high LVR lending. 

Total lending above 80% LVR hit $651 million last month, up from $566 million in June last year. 

Kiwibank economists said the share of total lending directed to high LVR borrowers was around 12% over both May and June - the highest rate recorded by the RBNZ.

The strong data tallies up with Real Estate Institute of New Zealand figures, which revealed a stronger-than-expected level of activity in the market.

According to the latest REINZ data, median house prices nationwide were up by 9.2% to $639,000 in June, as compared to $585,000 in June 2019.

They were also up by 3.1% from $620,000 in May 2020.

Likewise, Auckland’s median house prices increased by 9.2% year-on-year to $928,000 in June, as compared to $850,000 this time last year.

However, economists and commentators, including Trade Me's Aaron Clancy, warn the strong winter activity could be a "short-lived sugar rush from pent up demand".

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