New housing loan commitments fell 6.4% in April

The value of new housing loan commitments fell 6.4 per cent to $31.0 billion in April 2022 (seasonally adjusted), following a rise of 2.1 per cent in the previous month, according to data released today from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Katherine Keenan, ABS head of Finance and Wealth, said: β€œThe value of new housing loan commitments fell 7.3 per cent for owner-occupier lending, while investor lending fell 4.8 per cent. These were the largest monthly falls since May 2020.

β€œLenders attributed the falls to a softening housing market, as well as the close proximity of Easter and ANZAC day public holidays, which softened borrower demand and limited loan processing more than would usually occur in the month of April.”

Despite the decreases, the value of lending in April remained higher than pre-pandemic levels. The value of new owner-occupier loan commitments was 44 per cent higher than February 2020, while the value of investor commitments was 113 per cent higher.

Falls in the value of new owner-occupier loan commitments were seen across most states and territories. The largest of these falls were in New South Wales (down 12.6 per cent), Victoria (down 9.7 per cent) and Queensland (down 2.4 per cent).

The number of new loan commitments to owner-occupier first home buyers fell 4.4 per cent in April 2022. This was 34.3 per cent lower compared to a year ago, however it remained 4.2 per cent per cent higher than February 2020 levels. Falls were seen across almost all states and territories, particularly Victoria (down 10.1 per cent) and New South Wales (down 11.4 per cent).

A larger decline over the last year in the number of new loan commitments for owner-occupier dwellings relative to the value of these loan commitments reflects the significant increase in average loan sizes at the national level, from $548,000 in April 2021 to $615,000 in April 2022.

The value of new investor loan commitments, which reached a record high at the national level in March 2022, fell in April across most states and territories. The largest of these falls were in Queensland (down 17.2 per cent), New South Wales (down 8.3 per cent) and Victoria (down 5.3 per cent).

Personal finance loan commitments

The value of new loan commitments for fixed term personal finance fell 3.7 per cent (seasonally adjusted) in April 2022, driven by a 20.6 per cent fall in lending for personal investment, as well as a 6.7 per cent fall in lending for the purchase of road vehicles. Lending for travel rose 21.3 per cent, though it remained about 30 per cent lower than pre-pandemic levels.

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