ABS lending data released Friday detailed another 3.7% decline for new home loan commitments in November, with new home loans written in the month amount to $24.7 billion.
This comes as the ABS revealed refinancing continues to remain front of mind for Aussie homeowners, with the value of owner-occupier refinancing in November increasing 9.1% to a new seasonally-adjusted high of $13.4 billion.
Acting ABS head of Finance and Wealth Dane Mead noted more borrowers switched lenders for lower interest rates as the RBA’s cash rate target continued to rise.
“The number of owner-occupier dwelling commitments also continued to fall in November to below the pre-pandemic level for the first time,” Mr Mead said.
Major bank economists were all off the mark in forecasting housing finance figures for November, with ANZ, NAB and Westpac economists tipping a decline starting with a ‘-2’.
CommBank economists had pencilled in a 4% decline month-on-month from October driven by rising interest rates and continued home price declines weighing on housing sentiment and demand.
Lack of new first home buyers drives November decline
The ABS revealed the number of new loan commitments to owner-occupier first home buyers fell 5.5% in November 2022, driving the overall fall in owner-occupier lending.
First home buyer loans in November were 51% below their January 2021 peak and 16% below the February 2020 pre-pandemic level.
Across the nation, the number of first home buyers declined in each state and territory except for Tasmania, bucking the trend significantly by increasing 16.9%.
The ACT led the rate of decline across the nation recording a drop of -16.3%, followed by the NT at -14.1% and VIC at -6.1%.
ANZ Senior Economist Adelaide Timbrell said despite a fall in housing prices of 8.4% since their peak in May 2022, first home buyer lending has not increased through the year.
"The number of monthly loan commitments for first home buyers fell 5.5% month-on-month and were 20% lower than in May 2022," Ms Timbrell said.
"(ANZ economists) expect three more rate hikes this year, which are likely to push housing lending down further."
This comes following monthly inflation results released Wednesday by the ABS detailing a return to record highs of 7.3%, with housing proving to be the key fuel to the fire.
Housing costs increased 9.6% in November off the back of high labour and material costs, with ABS Head of Prices Statistics Michelle Marquardt noting these factors contributed to a 17.9% annual rise in new dwelling prices.
Black Friday shopping spree pushes growth in smaller personal lending
Despite the ABS revealing the value of total new loan commitments for fixed term personal finance fell 1.3% in November, smaller personal lending bucked the trend as Aussies looked to open their wallets.
Personal finance for household goods rose 5.1% to a new high of $154 million in November, as Aussies spent an extra 2.1% in November on household goods - in particular household furniture.
The decline in personal loan finance was driven by lending for personal investments, which fell 9.3%, alongside the purchase of new vehicles also falling 2.9%.
Image by Larry Snickers via Pexels
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