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Both the value and number of loans have declined over March, analysis of new lending figures showed.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the total value of lending for households and businesses fell by an overall seasonally adjusted 2.6 per cent.
For the value of investment dwellings excluding financing, there was a decline of 2.7 per cent for the month and 25.9 per cent compared to this month last year, which the ABS claimed to be the lowest level for new investment dwellings since March 2011.
Meanwhile, value for owner-occupier dwellings excluding financing fell overall by 1.6 per cent, declining for the 18th month in a row and the lowest level since December 2012, according to Adrian Kelly, the Real Estate Institute of Australia’s president.
For the month, lending for owner-occupier dwellings fell by 3.4 per cent, with NSW and Queensland both seeing sizeable declines, Bruce Hockman, ABS chief economist, said.
“There were large falls in the value of lending for owner-occupier dwellings in seasonally adjusted terms in both New South Wales (-5.7 per cent) and Queensland (-5.3 per cent) in March, after rises in both states the previous month,” Mr Hockman said.
The number of loans, however, saw a decline by 8.2 per cent, Mr Kelly said, which meant the proportion of first home buyers out of all owner-occupied housing finance commitments rose 0.3 of a percentage point up to 18 per cent for the month.
“There are a number of reasons for the continued decline in housing finance in March,” Mr Kelly said. “One of which would have been the expectation of the calling of the election after the budget, and the uncertainty this generates regarding outcomes, including concern about changes to property taxation and its impact should there be a change in government.”