Lending crackdown fails to curb growth

By Staff Reporter

New figures released by the same regulator that instigated the investor lending crackdown have cast doubt over the initial success of the regime, with risky lending activity continuing to grow. 

Data released by APRA today indicates a rise in investor and interest-only lending during the previous financial year, despite efforts by major lending institutions to curb investor lending in response to an APRA directive.

The quarterly data update issued by the regulator found investor lending growth, taking into account all Authorised Deposit-taking Institutions, reached 18.6 per cent for the 2014-15 financial year, compared to 11.7 per cent for 2013-14.

Investor lending increased by 3.5 per cent, or $17.7 billion, from the quarter ending March 31, 2015 to the quarter ending June 30, according to APRA’s Quarterly Authorised Deposit-taking Institution Property Exposures.

By comparison, owner-occupied lending grew by 1.8 per cent ($14.1 billion) over the same period.

The yearly figure is significantly higher than the 10 per cent ‘cap’ APRA announced in December, when it indicated that growth above this figure would be deemed as “an important risk indicator”.

Of the ADIs with more than $1 billion in residential term loans, capital associated with new housing loan approvals for investor loans increased by 20.4 per cent ($7 billion) from the March 2015 quarter.

Owner-occupier loans from these institutions grew by 15.9 per cent ($7.5 billion) over the same period.

Investment loans made up 42.6 per cent of all new housing loan approvals issued by these lenders.

Interest-only loans also grew year-on-year, with growth sitting at 20 per cent for 2014-15 compared to 13.6 per cent in the previous year.

That figure is based on ADIs with $1 billion in outstanding housing loans, with APRA reporting a combined $516.9 billion of interest only mortgages.

Overall lending growth in Australia took a slight dip over the same period, with growth now sitting on 7.9 per cent compared to the previous figure of 8.6 per cent.

A multitude of lending institutions have taken steps to reduce growth in investor lending in recent months, with some mortgage providers hiking rates or tightening loan to value ratio requirements.

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