Lending rises

Uncertainty in the investment sector prior to the recent election was evident in lending for April, according to data released this week by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

The figures show that new lending commitments for dwellings edged up a modest 0.2 per cent from March to April, with a rise in lending for owner-occupier dwellings (1.0 per cent) mostly offset by another fall in lending for investment dwellings (down 2.2 per cent).

ABS Chief Economist, Bruce Hockman commented that the steep decline in owner-occupier lending commitments seen since late 2017 appears to be slowing.

“Lending for owner-occupier dwellings recording the smallest monthly fall in trend terms (down 0.5 per cent) since April 2018”, Hockman said.

Stronger lending for owner-occupier dwellings in April was driven by a 2.2 per cent rise in New South Wales and a 1.3 per cent rise in South Australia.

Weaker investment lending was most evident in New South Wales (down 4.7 per cent) with only Tasmania, the Northern Territory and Australian Capital Territory recording improvements.

The April figures also show a small rise in the number of loans to owner-occupier first home buyers (0.1 per cent).