Credit squeeze continued through March
Housing credit growth slowed to just 3.99 per cent in March 2019.
Word from bank economists is that housing finance was softer through March (before picking up again in April) and this view is supported by the latest Reserve Bank figures.
For a country at the tail-end of a construction boom and with a ballooning population in the prime homebuying age brackets this is a remarkably low figure.
In fact, it's the lowest housing credit growth on record.
Investor credit growth also slowed to the lowest level on record in March 2019, at 0.7 per cent over the year.
Three of the four major banks reported zero growth in housing investment loan exposures over the year to March 2019, and ANZ was at negative 5 per cent.
If you were looking for positives the housing credit impulse impulse has flattened out, albeit still in negative territory, although this model can be distorted by factors such as foreign capital.
Capital city house price declines have slowed, suggesting that a market turnaround may be imminent.
Furthermore growth in term deposits is flying, and there are no issues with the cost of funding; the challenges are all around banks willingness or ability to lend, and the confidence of some buyers given all the recent disruption.
The housing downturn has deflated the most expensive markets effectively.
But as always there's a cost, and the impact has been brutal for new housing sales, construction and real estate agency employment, mortgage brokerages, and so on.
Home loan arrears have also increased through February 2019 as borrowers find it harder to roll over interest-only loans.
The increases in arrears have mainly been seen in Western Australia and the Northern Territory to date.
Given the high minimum floor assessment rates it'd be nice if lenders now felt they could write loans without having to ask insanely pedantic questions about the previous year's expenditure.