Refinancing high in December as new housing loans fell

3 February 2023

The value of total housing loan refinancing between lenders fell 1.5 per cent but remained high at $19.1 billion in December 2022, according to data released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Sean Crick, ABS head of Finance and Wealth, said “Recent months saw record high refinancing activity for both owner-occupiers and investors. Borrowers continued to switch lenders for lower interest rates as the RBA’s cash rate target rose.”

The value of total new housing loan commitments continued to decline in December (4.3 per cent to $23.4 billion), from record high levels seen earlier in 2022. New owner-occupier loan commitments fell 4.2 per cent to $15.6 billion, while new investor loan commitments fell 4.4 per cent to $7.9 billion.

Mr Crick said, “In December 2022, the value of total new housing loan commitments was 23 per cent higher than the level seen in February 2020, prior to the COVID 19 pandemic. In December 2021, the value of these commitments was 74 per cent higher than the pre-pandemic level.”

The number of new loan commitments to owner-occupier first home buyers fell 4.2 per cent to 7,646 in December 2022. First home buyer loans in December were 53 per cent below their January 2021 peak and 20 per cent below the February 2020 pre-pandemic level.

The value of total new loan commitments for fixed term personal finance fell 2.8 per cent in December 2022. This was driven mainly by a 1.6 per cent fall in road vehicle loans.

In smaller personal finance series, lending for the purchase of household goods rose 0.8 per cent to another record high, while lending for travel and holidays rose 11.2 per cent to the highest levels seen since late 2018.