First home buyers strong, investors return in July

The latest Reserve Bank lending data shows first time buyer activity remained strong in July, with property investors making a tentative comeback.

Wednesday, August 29th 2018, 8:10AM

First home buyers borrowed $910 million over the course of the month, out of a total of $5.5 billion, according to the central bank figures. They received $699 million in July last year, and just $689 million in July 2016.

First home buyers continued their strong showing and have benefited from the relaxation of LVR restrictions in January. They borrowed $320 million at more than 80 percent LVR, up from $196 million in July 2017 and $208 million in July 2016.

CoreLogic's Kelvin Davidson said the figures hinted "credit is starting to loosen just a little". He said the percentage of new lending on LVR more than 80 percent was 8.7 percent, the highest since October 2013, when LVR was introduced. 

First home buyers’ increased presence in the market can be partly explained by the ongoing curbs on property investors, who have not benefited from the loosening of LVR restrictions. Yet there were signs of an investor comeback. Investors borrowed $1.32 billion in July, up from $1.06 billion in July 2017. This accounted for a 24% share of the market, up from a 22% share in July 2017.

CoreLogic's Davidson added there were hints "interest-only lending has found a floor, with some signs that investors are returning". Yet investor volumes remained significantly down on the $2.09 billion borrowed in July 2016. 

The total $5.5 billion borrowed in July was in line with the rest of the year so far, with the exception of May, which saw $6.5 billion borrowed. Total lending was up from $5.3 billion last month and $4.8 billion in July 2017.

First home buyers may be encouraged by flattening prices in Auckland. Recent data from the Real Estate Institute revealed national prices were up 5 percent at $565,000, but prices in New Zealand’s biggest market fell by 1.3 percent, with volumes also down.

Tags: Lending Mortgage Rates RBNZ Reserve Bank

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