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Investor housing finance on downward trend

11 July 2017

The latest housing finance figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) confirm finance approvals for investor housing are on a downward trend, according to the Real Estate Institute of Australia (REIA).

“The value of investment housing commitments decreased by 1.5 per cent in May in trend terms. This follows a fall in the previous month and is well down from its 2015 peak”, REIA President Malcolm Gunning said. 

“To put this in perspective it needs to remembered that the May figures are the first to show the impact of the actions by the regulators and banks to limit bank lending to dampen investor demand for property.

“Overall the figures for May 2017 show, in trend terms that the number of owner-occupied finance commitments decreased by 0.4 per cent. If refinancing is excluded, in trend terms, the number of owner-occupied finance commitments increased by 0.1 per cent and is the ninth consecutive month of increases.

“In trend terms decreases were recorded in all states except the Australian Capital Territory and Tasmania with Queensland having the largest decrease of 0.9 per cent. The ACT increased by 0.5 per cent and Tasmania remained flat.

“In trend terms, the number of established dwellings purchase commitments decreased by 0.6 per cent while new dwelling construction increased by 1.0 per cent and the purchase of new dwellings increased by 0.4 per cent.

“The proportion of first homebuyers, as part of the total owner-occupied housing finance commitments, increased to 14.0 per cent and is the highest since July 2015. The number of first homebuyer commitments increased by 28.9 per cent for the month and is the highest since October 2014.

“The May figures show that the market is adjusting with owner occupiers and first home buyers returning to the market as investor activity decreases and is worth noting that this is before the recent concessions introduced for first homebuyers,” concluded Mr Gunning.