Lending indicators

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This release is about new borrower-accepted finance commitments for housing, personal and business loans

Reference period
August 2020

Key statistics

In August 2020, new loan commitments (seasonally adjusted):

  • rose 12.6% for housing
  • fell 12.5% for personal fixed term loans
  • fell 42.9% for business construction (typically volatile series)

Important data quality note

Economic and Financial Statistics (EFS) collection

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 collected by APRA on behalf of the ABS and RBA. 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 - see below for further details.

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.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) effects in August data

Borrower behaviour and lender processing times have been strongly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic over the last five months, which is impacting the month-on-month movements. Lenders are reporting to us that current processing times mean that August commitments reflect customer demand in June and early July, prior to Victoria imposing stage 3 and stage 4 restrictions.

Suspension of trend series

The trend series attempts to measure underlying behaviour in lending activity. In the short term, this measurement will be significantly affected by changes to regular patterns in lending that will occur during this time, as potential home buyers face uncertainty about their job security, for example. If the trend estimates in this publication were to be calculated without fully accounting for this irregular event, they would likely provide a misleading view of underlying lending activity.

It may be some time before the underlying trend in lending activity can be accurately estimated. The Lending Indicators trend series have therefore been suspended starting from March 2020. The trend series will be reinstated when more certainty emerges in the underlying trend in lending.

Update to seasonal adjustment methods

Lending Indicators uses the concurrent seasonal adjustment method, meaning that seasonal factors are re-estimated each time a new data point becomes available. If not appropriately accounted for, unusual real-world events, such as COVID-19, can distort estimates calculated using this method. From April 2020, seasonal factors are being calculated using data up to and including March 2020, then projected from April 2020 onwards. This approach, known as the forward factor method, ensures that the seasonal factors are not distorted by COVID-19 impacts.


New borrower-accepted loan commitments (seasonally adjusted)

 August 2020 ($b)Month percent change (%)Year percent change (%)
  Owner Occupier (a)16.2813.629.2
  Investor (a)5.019.3-4.6
  Fixed term loans1.38-12.5-17.5
 Purchase of Property3.6015.3-31.3

(a) Loan commitments for owner occupier, investor housing and personal fixed term loans exclude refinancing.


Home loan commitments rose sharply again in August


Road vehicles drove the fall in personal fixed term loans, following three consecutive months of growth


Business lending for construction fell for the second consecutive month in seasonally adjusted terms, reaching the lowest level since July 2013


New loan commitments by purpose (seasonally adjusted)

 Aug-2020Month percent changeYear percent change
 Owner occupier   
      Total housing (a)16.2813.629.2
  Construction of dwellings2.0519.243.9
  Purchase of newly erected dwellings1.174.020.7
  Purchase of existing dwellings11.5412.823.6
      First home buyers5.0218.438.1
      Total housing (a)5.019.3-4.6
 Owner occupier   
      Total housing (a) (b)---
  Construction of dwellings4 67922.934.0
  Purchase of newly erected dwellings2 4197.020.2
  Purchase of existing dwellings22 8279.013.7
      First home buyers12 30217.737.3
      Total housing (a) (b)---

(a) Housing includes loan commitments for dwellings, purchase of residential land and for alterations and additions.
(b) There is no seasonally adjusted or trend data available for the number of owner occupiers or investors for total housing as the data was collected from July 2019.


Both owner occupiers and investors displayed the third consecutive month of growth in August, following historically large falls in May


Loan commitments for the purchase of existing dwellings have risen sharply since May, while purchase of residential land (a) also displayed a noteworthy growth for the series

(a) For periods prior to July 2019, statistics about owner occupier commitments for residential land are modelled using data about the total value of  commitments for residential land.

* Hide/unhide series in the graph by clicking the legend above (toggle the 'purchase of existing dwellings' series for a closer look at the other purposes of owner occupier lending).


Large increases were seen across all states and territories, apart from Northern Territory. Borrower-accepted commitments in August reflect customer demand in earlier months


Queensland and Victoria drove the increase in commitments for investment housing in August


The value of loan commitments accepted by owner occupiers remains significantly higher than loan commitments accepted by investors

First home buyers

In August 2020:

  • the number of owner occupier first home buyer loan commitments increased 17.7% in seasonally adjusted terms
  • the number of first home buyer loan commitments for investment purposes accounted for 4.2% of all first home buyer commitments, in original terms
  • owner occupier first home buyer loan commitments accounted for 34.2% of all owner occupier commitments (excluding refinancing), in original terms


Additional information

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. The table below presents two owner occupier first home buyer ratios.

  • The first ratio is the 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 second ratio is a new ratio, 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. 

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. First home buyer ratios are no longer routinely published by the ABS in the time series spreadsheets. 

The table below does not include first home buyer loan commitments for investors. Information about the number of loan commitments for investors is new and is separately presented in a graph below.


New loan commitments to owner occupier first home buyers (number)

 First home buyer loan commitmentsFirst home buyer ratioFirst home buyer ratio
Total Australia12 10041.7%34.2%
 New South Wales2 76635.7%30.6%
 Victoria3 86148.6%38.0%
 Queensland2 52739.2%33.0%
 South Australia 69332.5%26.0%
 Western Australia1 63252.0%43.1%
 Tasmania 26537.8%27.0%
 Northern Territory 10258.6%53.4%
 Australian Capital Territory 25434.2%30.1%


The number of first home buyer commitments rose for the third consecutive month in August


All states and territories, apart from Northern Territory, displayed rises in owner occupier first home buyers in August


Data downloads

Time series spreadsheets

Data files

Data cubes

Series ID concordance mapping

Previous catalogue number

This release previously used catalogue number 5601.0.

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