Home buyers still shying away from market

Mortgage lending is still in the doldrums with the $3.8 billion borrowed last month, the lowest since records began in 2013.

Thursday, March 30th 2023

It was the seventh lowest for any recorded month, despite a $1.1 billion rise on January’s lending, which is typically the lowest borrowing month in a year. This is despite a rise after seasonal adjustment of 0.2 per cent from January.

In comparison to February last year, total new mortgages dropped by $1.9 billion, or 33.1 per cent, from $5.7 billion.

This decline was mainly driven by lending to owner occupiers moving, which fell to $2.3 billion, a drop of 36.3 per cent from $3.7 billion in February last year and lending to investors, at $0.6 billion, falling 40.8 per cent from $1.1 billion in the same month last year.

On the other hand, the value of new commitments to first home buyers last month was $0.8 billion, down only 14.5 per cent from $0.95 billion in February last year.

There were 11,468 new mortgages taken out last month, up 32.1 per cent from 8,680 in January. In comparison to February last year, the number of new mortgages fell 23.1 per cent from 14,904.

The Reserve Bank says this year-on-year percentage change is notably less than that during the previous five months, which ranged from 27 per cent to 29 per cent.

The share of new mortgages to first home buyers fell to 21.3 per cent, from the record high in January of 23.1 per cent, the share to investors rebounded to 16.3 per cent from a record low of 15.4 per cent in January. The share to other owner occupiers rose slightly to 60.7 per cent, up from 60.1 per cent.

Lending to first home buyers with a high LVR of 80 per cent or more fell from 36.3 per cent in January to 32.7 per cent. Meanwhile, the share of lending to other owner occupiers with high LVRs rose from 3.4 per cent to 3.8 per cent and investors' share dropped from 34.6 per cent in January to 32.7 per cent.

The average value of new mortgages across all borrower types rose 4.6 per cent from $319,700 in January to $334,500. This was a year-on-year fall of 13 per cent from $384,500 in February last year.


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