Investor housing loans struggle to grow as APRA’s crackdown on higher risk lending continues. The latest figures released by APRA and RBAseparately yesterday show investor loans hardly grew in January.
APRA’s monthly banking data shows that investor loans increased weakly by 0.04% to $553.3bn in January from December, while owner-occupied loans went up 0.6% to $1.05tn.
RBA’s figures show slightly stronger growth – with investor lending going up by 0.2% over the previous month and by 3.2% from a year ago, both in seasonally adjusted terms. Owner-occupied lending rose by 0.6% in January and was up by 8% over the previous year.
Total housing loans stood at $1.6tn in January, up by $6.2bn from the previous month, according to APRA’s statistics. In RBA’s data, housing loans grew 0.5% in January after a gain of 0.4% the previous month, but annual growth eased from 6.4% in January 2017 to 6.2% last month.
Slower growth in mortgage lending does not come as a surprise amid tougher lending practices and lower investor demand. Besides added restrictions on lending, borrowers also face stricter loan serviceability criteria and approval process, limiting their access to mortgage products.
Zooming in on APRA’s January figures for major banks, Westpac’s investment loans went up 0.3% or by $473m from December to reach $151bn in January. It is the only major bank that saw an uptick in investor housing loans and remains the biggest player in this type of lending.
Second largest player CBA recorded the most month-on-month decline in investor housing loans in terms of value by $125m, while NAB posted the least decrease at $4m.
For owner-occupied loans, all four recorded increases over the previous month, but their growth rates seem to have moderated. ANZ made the biggest growth at 0.6% to $174bn.
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