Home loan demand from investors has dropped by 9 per cent, the largest monthly percentage decline since 2015, new data has revealed. According to new Housing Finance data from the Australian Bureau of Statics (ABS), investor loan demand dropped by $1.07 billion (9 per cent) when seasonally adjusted between February and March 2018, the largest monthly percentage drop since September 2015. According to RateCity money editor Sally Tindall, investors have been deterred by the slowdown in the housing market.
“The falls in property prices in Sydney and Melbourne have investors spooked,” Ms Tindall said. “Nothing sends investment lending off a cliff quite like a drop in property prices.” However, Ms Tindall claimed that the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority’s (APRA) removal of the 10 per cent cap on investor lending growth would reinvigorate investor activity. “If history is anything to go by, they won’t be out for long. APRA has lifted the cap on investor lending and we’ve already seen a marked drop in investor interest rates,” the money editor added. “Once the market smooths out, you can be sure investors will be back doing the Saturday real estate rounds.” Demand from owner-occupiers also declined, falling by 2 per cent ($405 million) over the same period. The ABS data found that, in total, 53,017 home loans were approved in March, down by 2.2 per cent from February, falling for the fourth consecutive month in a row.
The overall value of housing approval also declined, dropping by 4.4 per cent to $31.9 billion, largely spurred by a 9 per cent drop in the value of investor loans ($10.9 billion), with the value of owner-occupied mortgages also falling, dropping by 1.9 per cent to $21 billion.
The Standard & Poor’s Performance Index (SPIN) for Australian prime mortgages decreased to 1.16% from 1.30%, according to a report by S&P Ratings.
The report titled RMBS Arrears Statistics: Australia, said that arrears are a lagging indicator, meaning these improvements partly reflect stronger jobs growth nationwide. This includes resource-oriented states, where arrears declined year on year in February to 1.53% from 1.65% in Queensland and to 2.27% from 2.32% in Western Australia.