Housing loans for investors struck a record high in January, as new figures showed the growth in Australian house prices was at its slowest pace since October 2020.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics said loans for housing rose 2.6 per cent in January to $33.7 billion.
Of these, owner-occupied mortgages rose one per cent to $22.7 billion, while investors home loans jumped 6.1 per cent to a record $11 billion.
“The value of new loan commitments for investor housing has grown for 15 consecutive months, consistent with the strong housing market and growth in house prices,” ABS head of finance and wealth Katherine Keenan said.
“Despite record investor loan commitments, the share of investor lending to all new housing loan commitments was around one third. This reflects the rapid growth of owner occupier commitments over the past 18 months.”
However, separate data shows growth in Australian house prices continued to lose steam in February, with Sydney prices posting their first decline in 17 months.
The CoreLogic national home value index rose just 0.6 per cent in February, the smallest monthly rise since October 2020, after a 1.1 per cent rise in January and a peak of 2.8 per cent in March 2021.
“The pace of growth in housing values started to ease in April last year, when fixed-term mortgage rates began to face upwards pressure, fiscal support was expiring and housing affordability was becoming more stretched,” CoreLogic director of research Tim Lawless said on Tuesday.
“With rising global uncertainty and the potential for weaker consumer sentiment amidst tighter monetary policy settings, the downside risk for housing markets has become more pronounced in recent months.”
The slowdown was noticeable in Sydney and Melbourne but was less noticeable in smaller capital cities, especially Brisbane, Adelaide and Hobart which rose by more than one per cent in February.
Sydney prices declined 0.1 per cent in the month, while in Melbourne they were unchanged.
“Regional markets have been somewhat insulated to slowing growth conditions, with five of the six rest-of-state regions continuing to record monthly gains in excess of 1.2 per cent,” Mr Lawless said.
CORELOGIC NATIONAL HOME VALUE INDEX FOR FEBRUARY
National – up 0.6 per cent, up 20.6 per cent
Sydney – down 0.1 per cent, up 22.4 per cent
Melbourne – unchanged, up 12.5 per cent
Brisbane – up 1.8 per cent, up 29.7 per cent
Adelaide – up 1.5 per cent, up 25.8 per cent
Perth – up 0.3 per cent, up 8.6 per cent
Hobart – up 1.2 per cent, up 26.0 per cent
Darwin – up 0.4 per cent, up 12.3 per cent
Canberra – up 0.4 per cent, up 23.8 per cent
Combined capitals – up 0.3 per cent, up 19.2 per cent
Combined regional – up 1.6 per cent, up 25.5 per cent
Colin Brinsden, AAP Economics and Business Correspondent
(Australian Associated Press)