Investor lending picks up

Lazy, hazy days of the summer market are over as new data shows investor lending is on the rise again.

Thursday, March 24th 2016, 4:09PM

by Miriam Bell

In line with other recent data, the Reserve Bank’s residential mortgage lending statistics for February 2016 indicate the housing market’s summer slowdown is over.

There was a noticeable pick-up in lending across the board – including investor lending – following several months in which it trended downwards.

Total new bank lending came to $5.1 billion in February, according to the RBNZ data.

This was a jump up from the $4.1 billion total lending in January, although well short of the $6.4 billion mark hit in November last year.

Of the new lending in February, investors accounted for $1.7 billion. This was up on the January figure of $1.3 billion.

The biggest group of borrowers was other owner-occupiers, who accounted for $2.7 billion of new lending in February. This was up on $2.2 billion in January.

First home buyers accounted for $591 million of new lending in February. This was up on the $459 million they borrowed in January.

This suggests that market may have adjusted to the government’s new tax measures, which came into force last October, and the RBNZ’s new LVR ratios, which came into force last November.

Investors’ share of higher than 80% LVR lending rose to $34 million in February, from $26 million in January.

However, the investors’ figure was significantly less than the amount of higher than 80% LVR lending that went to first home buyers ($195 million) and other owner-occupiers ($207 million).

In the RBNZ data, total lending to investors is also divided into two categories: higher than 70% LVR lending and less than 70% LVR lending.

Higher than 70% LVR lending to investors came to $622 million in February. This was a noticeable increase on the $438 million loaned in January.

But the bulk of lending to investors in February was, again, less than 70% LVR lending. It came in at $1.1 billion.

The RBNZ data also shows that banks have continued to stay within their 10% threshold for lending to borrowers with less than 20% equity.

In February, 8.5% of new loans fitted into that category. This was up on 8.3% in January.

Tags: banks Lending RBNZ

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