5601.0 - Lending to households and businesses, Australia, Dec 2018 Quality Declaration 
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 12/02/2019   
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MEDIA RELEASE
12 February 2019
Embargoed: 11:30 am (Canberra time)

Lending to households falls 4.4 per cent in December

The value of lending commitments to households fell 4.4 percent in December 2018, seasonally adjusted, according to the first release of a new Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) publication which combines figures of lending to households and businesses.

The fall in lending to households in December follows a 2.4 per cent fall in November 2018.

ABS Chief Economist, Bruce Hockman said: "Large falls in the value of lending for owner occupier dwellings (-6.4 per cent) and investment dwellings (-4.6 per cent) drove the fall in lending commitments to households."

"The slowdown in lending for investor dwellings this month continues the steady decline over the past two years, with the value of new investor loan commitments down around 40 percent from the peak at the start of 2017. The slowdown in lending for owner occupier dwellings is more recent, with falls concentrated in the last half of 2018", he said.

In seasonally adjusted terms, the value of lending for owner occupier dwellings excluding refinancing fell in New South Wales (-6.1 per cent), Victoria (-6.6 per cent), Queensland (-9.9 per cent), Western Australia (-6.3 per cent), the Australian Capital Territory (-4.9 per cent), the Northern Territory (-18.3 per cent) and South Australia (-1.0 per cent). Tasmania (4.2 per cent) recorded the only rise this month.

Seasonally adjusted and trend estimates of lending to owner occupier first home buyers are available for the first time with the release of Lending to Households and Businesses, Australia (cat no. 5601.0).

In seasonally adjusted terms, the number of loans to owner occupier first home buyers is down 12.6 per cent from December 2017. While the fall in lending to first home buyers over the past year reflects the broader trend of weaker lending activity, the fall is smaller than the fall in lending to owner occupier non-first home buyers (-15.5 per cent) and follows strong growth in 2017.

There were also falls in the values of lending to households for personal finance (-2.9 per cent) and for refinancing (-3.2 per cent), seasonally adjusted.

In trend terms, lending to businesses fell 2.5 per cent in December, but is up 3.1 per cent from December 2017.

More information is available in Lending to Households and Businesses, Australia (cat no. 5601.0).

Media note:
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