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Wednesday, 8 April 2020

Housing loans declined (a bit) in February

Solid lending in February

Housing conditions were strong up until the end of February, the last of the pre-Coronavirus data series showed. 

Total housing lending was fairly steady at $19.5 billion, representing an increase of +13.1 per cent from a year earlier, mainly driven by homebuyers. 

First homebuyer commitments rose to the highest level since 2009.

At the state level, homebuyer loans (ex-refi) in Queensland and Western Australia were strong, while New South Wales and Victoria saw a partial retracement, although volumes in these states remained +15 per cent and +20 per cent higher than a year earlier respectively.

For home buyers purchasing existing dwellings the average loan size was steady at a near-record high.

There was some variation around the states, partly impacted by refinancing activity.

The wrap

Overall, lending volumes were considerably stronger than a year earlier up until February 2020, but transaction activity is now expected to drop sharply through March and April as movements are restricted.