That's according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Lending Indicators data for August, released today.

ABS Head of Finance and Wealth Amanda Seneviratne said the surge in new lending commitments left last month's figures in the dust.

“The value of owner occupier home loan commitments was $16.3 billion in August, the highest value in the history of the series," Ms Seneviratne said.

"August’s 13.6% increase in the value of owner occupier home loan commitments is the largest month-on-month rise in the history of the series, eclipsing the previous record of 10.7% set in July.”

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Important Information and Comparison Rate Warning

Base criteria of: a $400,000 loan amount, variable, fixed, principal and interest (P&I) home loans with an LVR (loan-to-value) ratio of at least 80%. However, the ‘Compare Home Loans’ table allows for calculations to be made on variables as selected and input by the user. Some products will be marked as promoted, featured or sponsored and may appear prominently in the tables regardless of their attributes. All products will list the LVR with the product and rate which are clearly published on the product provider’s website. Monthly repayments, once the base criteria are altered by the user, will be based on the selected products’ advertised rates and determined by the loan amount, repayment type, loan term and LVR as input by the user/you. *The Comparison rate is based on a $150,000 loan over 25 years. Warning: this comparison rate is true only for this example and may not include all fees and charges. Different terms, fees or other loan amounts might result in a different comparison rate. Rates correct as of . View disclaimer.

Ms Seneviratne said borrower behaviour and lender processing times have been strongly impacted by the COVID pandemic, and the pent-up demand is influencing the month-on-month figures.

“Lenders are reporting to us that current processing times mean that August commitments reflect customer demand in June and early July, prior to Victoria imposing stage 3 and stage 4 restrictions," she said. 


Source: ABS

According to the ABS statistics, the number of owner occupier first home buyer loan commitments rose 17.7% to reach the highest level since October 2009.

The value of new loan commitments to owner occupiers for the construction of new dwellings rose 19.2% in August, while new loan commitments to owner occupiers for land were also strong and have seen a significant increase over the last three months.

“New loan commitments for owner occupier housing rose in all states and territories, except the Northern Territory. The largest increases in the value of new loan commitments were in Victoria, Queensland and New South Wales”, Ms Seneviratne said.

The value of loan commitments for investor housing rose 9.3% to $5 billion. 

It comes after Treasurer Josh Frydenberg announced the government will relax tough lending laws to make it easier for Australians to get a mortgage. 

Under the changes, the onus will shift to borrowers to be honest about their ability to service a loan.

Speaking of the changes at the time, Frydenberg said they will remove a lot of red tape.

"As Australia continues to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, it is more important than ever that there are no unnecessary barriers to the flow of credit to households and small businesses," Frydenberg said.

"Maintaining the free flow of credit through the economy is critical to Australia's economic recovery plan."

But consumer groups were quick to slam the announcement, arguing they could leave the economy with more household debt.

First home buyer lending surges as stimulus measures rolled out

The number of owner occupier first home buyer loan commitments increased 17.7% in seasonally adjusted terms - the biggest increase since October 2009.

It also marks the first time since May 2009 that the value of lending to first home buyers has been greater than the value of lending to investors.

The number of first home buyers taking out an investment loan accounted for 4.2% of all first home buyer commitments, while owner occupier first home buyer loan commitments accounted for 34.2% of all owner occupier commitments, excluding refinancing.

It comes off the back of the Federal Government announcing it would extend the First Home Loan Deposit Scheme by allowing an additional 10,000 first home buyers to enter the scheme from October 6 until June 30, 2021 on the condition they purchase a new build.

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