5601.0 - Lending Indicators, Mar 2020 Quality Declaration 
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 06/05/2020   
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Data quality note
From July 2019 onwards, data in this publication has been sourced from the Economic and Financial Statistics (EFS) collection, a new and improved data source. There have been extensive and ongoing discussions with lenders about the EFS collection. Data quality is expected to continue to improve over time, as lenders become accustomed to the new reporting basis and further refine the data they report. This process is likely to lead to revisions, including to the historical time series.

Please note that specific data quality issues have been identified with the reporting of detailed housing loan purpose categories, particularly for loan commitments for the purchase of newly erected dwellings. Some loan commitments for the purchase of existing dwellings are being incorrectly reported as being for the purchase of newly erected dwellings. The magnitude of misreporting for this issue is still being investigated.

Lender type breakdowns
Lender type breakdowns for Major banks, Other Authorised Deposit-taking Institutions (ADIs) and Non-ADIs are only available in this publication from July 2019 onwards. It is likely that more information about lender-type breakdowns will become available in the coming months.

Managing the impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19) on loan commitments statistics

The ABS is currently monitoring for potential impacts from the Coronavirus (COVID-19) on loan commitments statistics and will continue to do so for the period of the pandemic.

There were no obvious impacts on housing or business loan commitments statistics. This is largely due to the time it takes for financing to progress to the loan commitment stage. For example, for housing, March loan commitments largely reflected loan applications submitted in February or the first half of March before major restrictions were introduced. The fall in loan commitments for personal finance was likely due to COVID-19 impacts and reflects the shorter approval process for this category of lending.

The ABS and APRA are also actively managing the potential risks from COVID-19 to data collection operations. The ABS appreciates the support of APRA and lending institutions in continuing to provide the data used to compile this publication.

Suspension of trend series

The trend series attempts to measure the underlying behaviour of lending activity. The significant and wide-ranging impacts of COVID-19 on the Australian economy are expected to disrupt normal patterns of lending to the extent that trend calculations, which require time to adjust for trend shifts of this magnitude, would likely provide an inaccurate view of underlying lending activity.

Therefore the decision has been made to suspend trend series in this publication as of March 2020. These series will be reinstated once the underlying changes in the pattern of lending activity become clearer.

Key statistics
In March 2020, new loan commitments (seasonally adjusted):

  • rose 0.2% for housing
  • fell 8.2% for personal fixed term loans
  • rose 35.7% for business construction (typically volatile series)

New loan commitments
March 2020
Month percent change
Year percent change

Seasonally adjusted

Owner occupier (a)
Investor (a)
Fixed term loans
Purchase of property

(a) Loan commitments for owner occupier and investor housing exclude refinancing.

Key graphs

The value of new lending commitments for housing remained relatively stable despite COVID-19 restrictions
New loan commitments, total housing (seasonally adjusted), values, Australia

New loan commitments, total housing (seasonally adjusted), values, Australia

Fixed term loan commitments for personal finance displayed the largest monthly fall since November 2008
New loan commitments, personal fixed term loans (seasonally adjusted), values, Australia

New loan commitments, personal fixed term loans (seasonally adjusted), values, Australia

Business finance for construction rose for the second consecutive month in seasonally adjusted terms, while purchase of property declined
New loan commitments, business finance by purpose, values, Australia

New loan commitments, business finance by purpose, values, Australia

New ABS website
The ABS will be launching a new website in 2020. You will soon be able to see how this release will appear on the new website by exploring our Beta site. Regular users of this information are encouraged to explore the Beta site and consider if this will affect the way you access and consume ABS data and information. If you would like more information on the new ABS website, or want to discuss how the transition to the new site might impact you, please email newABSwebsite@abs.gov.au.

Forthcoming issuesRelease Date

April 2020 10 June 2020
May 2020 9 July 2020
June 2020 7 August 2020
July 2020 9 September 2020