Homebuyers took advantage of a virus-flattened housing market in August, as borrowing rose by 12.6 per cent on the previous month.
New loan commitments for housing were worth $21.29 billion in August, according to seasonally adjusted Australian Bureau of Statistics data out today.
Owner-occupiers drove the gain. They borrowed 13.6 per cent more than the previous month for a total of $16.28b — the highest value in the history of the ABS series — while investors increased their loans by 9.3 per cent to $5.01b.
New loan commitments for owner-occupier housing rose in all States and Territories, except the Northern Territory. The biggest increases in the value of new loan commitments were in Victoria, Queensland and NSW.
Yet lending slipped in other categories.
Personal fixed-term loans fell by 12.5 per cent in August to $1.38b, while lending for business construction dropped 42.9 per cent to $1.31b.
ABS head of finance and wealth Amanda Seneviratne said borrower behaviour and lender processing times had been strongly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic over the past five months, which is impacting the month-on-month movements.
“Lenders are reporting to us that current processing times mean that August commitments reflect customer demand in June and early July, prior to Victoria imposing stage 3 and stage 4 restrictions”, she said.
Housing loans may increase next year after the Federal Government last month flagged it wants to relax lending rules.
Lenders would be able to rely on borrower-provided information unless there are reasonable grounds to suspect it is unreliable.
If Parliament passes the Bill, the rules would take effect from March.