Lending Indicators methodology

Latest release
Reference period
May 2024


How the data is collected


This publication presents statistics on borrower-accepted commitments made for the purposes of housing, personal and business lending.

A borrower-accepted commitment is a firm offer to provide a loan which has been accepted by the borrower. A commitment exists once the loan application has been approved, and a loan contract or letter of offer has been issued to the borrower, and the borrower has accepted the offer.

Data is sourced from all Authorised Deposit-taking Institutions (ADIs) and Registered Financial Corporations (RFCs) that have significant lending activity in Australia for the purposes of housing, personal or business lending.

Significant lending activity is determined by a reporting threshold, which is based on the amount of housing, personal or business credit outstanding as reported on the Reporting Form ARF 720.1 A/B ABS/RBA Loans and Finance Leases (Banks)/(Non-Bank ADIs and RFCs):

Reporting thresholds
Business financebusiness credit ≥ $2.0 billion
Housing financehousing credit ≥ $3.0 billion
Personal financepersonal credit ≥ $0.5 billion

The reporting thresholds capture approximately 95% of lending activity for each purpose.

Geographical coverage

Data is available at the state and national level for housing. Data for personal and business lending is available at the national level only.


Data is provided by lending institutions. The EFS collection is administered by the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) on behalf of the ABS and the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA). Specifically, the reporting forms include:

    Collection method

    APRA collects data from lending institutions on behalf of the ABS and the RBA. ADIs and RFCs which meet the reporting threshold report to APRA. For these statistics, APRA does not collect borrower-level or loan-level data; lenders report a single number for each data category.

    Concepts, sources and methods

    The EFS collection has detailed reporting guidance and definitions, please refer to Reporting Practice Guide RPG 701.0 ABS/RBA Reporting Concepts and Reporting Standard ARS 701.0 ABS/RBA Definitions.

    How the data is released

    Lending Indicators is released monthly, at the beginning of the second month following the reference period.

    Information published

    Lending Indicators main output is information on the value and number of new loan commitments during the month. The data is available in various categories based on:

    • Lending purpose: Housing, Personal and Business.
    • Property lending purpose: Investment, Owner Occupier.
    • Property lending sub-purpose: for example, construction, new dwellings, purchase of existing dwellings, residential land
    • Customer type: First home buyers, households, businesses.
    • Lender type: High level aggregate series only, for major banks, other ADI’s and non-ADIs.
    • Selected items are available by state and territory.

    First home buyers

    Data about first home buyers includes the numbers of new loan commitments to first home buyers who are investors and to those who are owner occupiers. There are seasonally adjusted and trend series available for owner occupier loan commitments but not for investor loan commitments. Data about loan commitments to first home buyers who are investors was collected for the first time in July 2019 and a short, unadjusted series is available.

    Previously, the ABS published a first home buyer ratio which was the ratio of owner occupier first home buyer loan commitments to all owner occupier loan commitments. First home buyer ratios should be used with caution because the direction of movements in the ratio are often not indicative of the direction of movement in the number of first home buyers.

    No ratios are currently published in the time series spreadsheets, but owner occupier first home buyer ratios can be derived by users in a number of ways including:

    • A ratio of first home buyer loan commitments to total dwelling commitments (excluding refinancing). This is similar to the ratio published prior to October 2019. Loan commitments for dwellings is the sum of loan commitments for construction of dwellings, newly erected dwellings and existing dwellings.
    • The ratio of first home buyer loan commitments to total housing loan commitments (excluding refinancing). This ratio uses the new key statistic, total housing loan commitments. Total housing loan commitments is the sum of loan commitments for dwellings and loan commitments for purchases of residential land and alterations and additions.

    Business size

      Data on business lending is available by purpose for small and medium businesses. The way that businesses are categorised to size categories may vary between lending institutions. Where possible, businesses are categorised according to APRA methodology, which is based on turnover and the value of the borrower's exposure to the lending institution. Where the APRA methodology cannot be used, either exposure size or turnover can be used. For more information please see the Reporting Practice Guide RPG 701.0 ABS/RBA Reporting Concepts.

      Residential land

      Loan commitments for residential land has been collected for owner occupiers and investors separately since July 2019, it was previously collected as one value. Loan commitments for residential land has been backcast for owner occupiers and investors to be used in the key statistic, total housing. The backcast data however has not been published as the split between owner occupier and investor is only estimated for the purposes of contributing as a component of the total, rather than as stand alone series.

      How the data is processed

      Data is collected by APRA and received by the ABS where the data is processed and aggregated. Response rates for the collection are usually close to 100%.

      Seasonal adjustment

      Seasonal adjustment is a means of removing the estimated effects of normal seasonal variation and ‘trading day effects’. A ‘trading day effect’ reflects the varying amounts of activity on different days of the week and the different number of days of the week in any month (i.e. the number of Sundays, Mondays, etc.). This effect may be partly caused by the reporting practices of the lenders. Adjustment is also made for Easter which may affect the March and April estimates differently. Trading day effects are removed from the original estimates prior to the seasonal adjustment process. Seasonal adjustment does not remove the effect of irregular or non-seasonal influences (e.g. a change in interest rates) from the series. For more information on seasonal adjustment in the ABS see Interpreting Time Series.

      Lending Indicators routinely uses a concurrent seasonal adjustment methodology to derive the adjustment factors. The method uses the original time series available at each reference period to estimate the seasonal factors for the current and previous quarters. Because concurrent adjustment uses all available data to improve the estimates of the seasonal component each year, seasonally adjusted series are subject to revision.

      State component series have been seasonally adjusted independently of the Australian series. The sum of the state components in seasonally adjusted and trend series are therefore unlikely to equal the corresponding Australian totals.

      Trend estimates

      Smoothing seasonally adjusted series reduces the impact of the irregular component of the seasonally adjusted series and creates trend estimates. These trend estimates are derived by applying a Henderson-weighted moving average to all but the last six months of the respective seasonally adjusted series. Trend series are created for the last six months by applying surrogates of the Henderson moving average to the seasonally adjusted series. For further information, refer to Information Paper: A Guide to Interpreting Time Series-Monitoring Trends.

      While the smoothing technique described above enables trend estimates to be produced for the latest few months, it does result in revisions to the trend estimates as new data become available. Generally, revisions become smaller over time and, after three months, usually have an insignificant impact on the series. Changes in the original data and re-estimation of seasonal factors may also lead to revisions to the trend.


      Revisions to previously published statistics are included in the publication as they occur. With the change the new EFS collection in October 2019 there is a higher likelihood of revisions as lenders become accustomed to the reporting guidance and instructions, and the seasonal changes become more apparent over time.

      Changes in the classification of lenders (e.g. the conversion of a non-ADI to an ADI) are reflected in the Lender series from the month of the change. Data for earlier periods for such lenders are not reclassified.

      History of changes

      The EFS collection was implemented during 2019, with the reporting forms that are used as a source for Lending Indicators commencing for the July reference period.

      Prior to EFS, the collection was sourced from data collected by APRA on forms ARF/RRF 391.0, ARF/RRF 392.0, ARF/RRF 393.0 and ARF/RRF 394.0 combined with data from some lenders that reported directly to the ABS.

      For historical series where there are enough similarities between the old and the new collections, data has been backcast back to 2002. Newly collected data is only available from July 2019.

      The historical time series data should be used with caution, particularly lower level series that are more volatile. This data is modelled using the change in reporting observed during July 2019 to September 2019, where the new and old collections were conducted in parallel. Consequently, the historical time series should be viewed as analytical series only to help in interpretation of data reported on the new EFS basis.

      The Lending Indicators publication replaces the Lending to Households and Businesses publication which contained data from the prior monthly finance collection. Lending to Households and Businesses was published from December 2018 to September 2019. Prior to December 2018 statistics were published in Housing Finance, Australia and Lending Finance, Australia.

      More about collection history

      Related products

        Other data sources include the APRA Statistics website and the Reserve Bank of Australia's Bulletin. They include a large number of tables of financial statistics, mostly sourced from the ABS and APRA.


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