RBA rings alarm on high debt levels
Risks to financial stability could be building as house prices and debt levels keep rising, the Reserve Bank has caution...
APRA’s announcement of drops in investor and interest-only loan approvals has revealed the full extent of its macro-prudential caps.
According to the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority’s latest quarterly banking statistics, investor home loan approvals dropped by 12.4 per cent ($16.6 billion) in the year to 30 June 2018, representing 31.1 per cent ($117.5 billion) of new home loan approvals.
APRA has also reported a sharp decline in interest-only (IO) loan approvals, which fell by 54.9 per cent ($74.4 billion) over the same period, now representing 16.2 per cent ($61.2 billion) of new home loan approvals.
The results follow moves by the regulator to cap investor and IO loan growth by 10 per cent and 30 per cent, respectively.
APRA has since removed the investor lending cap; however, only lenders that have demonstrated compliance with the measure and imposed tighter serviceability requirements are permitted to exceed the 10 per cent limit.
Despite the sharp falls in investor and IO credit, the regulator and the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) have maintained that the prudential curbs helped “reduce the build of risk”.
Conversely, APRA’s statistics have shown a 4.3 per cent ($10.6 billion) year-on-year rise in owner-occupied lending, which now represents 68.9 per cent ($260.6 billion) of new home loan approvals.
Further, the figures also revealed that mortgages with a loan-to-value ratio (LVR) greater than 80 per cent and less than or equal to 90 per cent decreased, falling by 6.2 per cent ($3.4 billion) to 13.5 per cent ($51.1 billion) of all loan approvals.
A sharper decline was reported for mortgages with LVR greater than 90 per cent, with such loan approvals falling by 12.2 per cent ($3.6 billion), now representing 6.8 per cent ($25.8 billion) of all settlements.
Moreover, the data revealed that the share of new loans approved by majors banks decreased by 1.5 per cent ($5.9 billion) year-on-year, representing $378.1 billion of new loans approved.
In total, $94.6 billion in new loans were approved in the year to 30 June 2018, a 4.1 per cent decline from $98.7 billion in the previous corresponding period.
The average size of loans approved over the same period increased by 4.1 per cent from $261,000 to $272,000.
APRA also reported that asset quality improved over the same period, with the number of impaired facilities decreasing by 13.5 per cent ($1.8 billion) to $11.4 billion as at 30 June 2018.
Australia’s overall mortgage portfolio totalled $1.62 trillion as at 30 June 2018, an increase of $86.6 billion (5.6 per cent) on 30 June 2017.