Lending indicators

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

Reference period
March 2023
Released
5/05/2023

Key statistics

In March 2023, new loan commitments (seasonally adjusted):

  • rose 4.9% for housing
  • fell 3.1% for personal fixed term loans
  • fell 23.2% for business construction (a typically volatile series) but rose 1.8% in trend terms
  • fell 1.3% for business purchase of property (a typically volatile series) and fell 0.7% in trend terms

Value of new borrower-accepted loan commitments (seasonally adjusted)

   Mar-2023 ($b)Month percent change (%)Year percent change (%)
Households
 Housing23.964.9-26.3
  Owner Occupier (a)15.985.5-24.8
  Investor (a)7.983.7-29.2
 Personal
  Fixed term loans2.11-3.1-7.4
Businesses
 Construction2.27-23.2-3.0
 Purchase of Property4.88-1.3-25.3
  1. Loan commitments for owner occupier, investor housing and personal fixed term loans exclude refinancing.

Important data quality notes

Seasonal adjustment methods

The ABS regularly undertakes an extensive review of seasonally adjusted Lending Indicators series to ensure that the seasonal adjustment process continues to produce robust, high quality data. Similar reviews are regularly undertaken across the ABS economic statistics program. Past issues of Lending Indicators contain more information on methods changes that were made during those periods. Further information can also be found here: Methods changes during the COVID-19 period

Treatment of Buy Now Pay Later products in Personal finance

The ABS has identified some inconsistencies in how Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) loan products are being reported. We are working with APRA, the Reserve Bank and lenders to ensure reporting aligns with reporting guidance and definitions, and is consistent across different lenders. Revisions to Personal finance data are expected when this is resolved.

     

Housing finance

In March 2023 in seasonally adjusted terms, the value of new loan commitments:

  • for total housing rose 4.9% to $24.0b, after a fall of 1.0% in February. While this was the first monthly rise since January 2022, it remained 26.3% lower compared to a year ago.
  • for owner-occupier housing rose 5.5% to $16.0b but was 24.8% lower compared to a year ago
  • for investor housing rose 3.7% to $8.0b but was 29.2% lower compared to a year ago
  1. All series exclude refinancing

In March 2023 in seasonally adjusted terms, the value of external refinancing:

  • for total housing rose 6.5% to $21.2b and was 28.5% higher compared to a year ago
  • for owner-occupier housing rose 3.9% to $14.2b and was 29.1% higher compared to a year ago
  • for investor housing rose 12.3% to $7.0b and was 27.3% higher compared to a year ago

Personal finance

In March 2023 in seasonally adjusted terms, the value of new loan commitments:

  • for total fixed term personal finance fell 3.1%, after a rise of 0.8% in February
  • for road vehicles rose 0.7%
  • for personal investment fell 1.2%

Business finance

In March 2023 in seasonally adjusted terms, the value of new loan commitments:

  • for construction finance fell 23.2%, after a rise of 59.9% in February. In trend terms, it rose 1.8%, the fifth consecutive month of rises.
  • for the purchase of property fell 1.3%, after a fall of 1.7% in February. In trend terms, it fell 0.7% and continued a decline since January 2022.

These series can have volatile month-to-month movements in seasonally adjusted terms as they are strongly affected by small numbers of high value loans.

Housing finance (detailed)

Value of new loan commitments by purpose (seasonally adjusted)

   Mar-2023 ($b)Month percent change (%)Year percent change (%)
Owner occupier
 Total housing (a)15.985.5-24.8
  Construction of dwellings1.601.7-27.1
  Purchase of newly erected dwellings0.923.8-23.2
  Purchase of existing dwellings12.346.0-25.0
 First home buyers3.9412.3-21.1
Investor
 Total housing (a)7.983.7-29.2

Number of new loan commitments by purpose (seasonally adjusted)

   Mar-2023 (No.)Month percent change (%)Year percent change (%)
Owner occupier
 Total housing (a)
  Construction of dwellings2 661-2.4-35.1
  Purchase of newly erected dwellings1 6194.9-22.2
  Purchase of existing dwellings20 6087.9-20.4
 First home buyers8 12815.8-21.8
Investor
 Total housing (a)
  1. Housing includes loan commitments for dwellings, purchase of residential land and for alterations and additions.
  2. 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.

 

In March 2023 in seasonally adjusted terms, the value of new loan commitments:

  • for owner occupiers rose 5.5%, after a fall of 1.2% in February
  • for investors rose 3.7%, after a fall of 0.6% in February

  

In March 2023 in seasonally adjusted terms for owner-occupier housing, the value of new loan commitments:

  • for the purchase of existing dwellings rose 6.0% but was 25.0% lower compared to a year ago
  • for the construction of new dwellings rose 1.7% but was 27.1% lower compared to a year ago
  • for the purchase of new dwellings rose 3.8% but was 23.2% lower compared to a year ago
  1. 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.
  2. 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).

 

In March 2023 in seasonally adjusted terms for owner-occupier housing, the value of new loan commitments:

  • in Queensland rose 10.1%, in Victoria rose 3.1%, in New South Wales rose 2.0%, in Western Australia rose 5.2%, in South Australia rose 8.2%, in the Northern Territory (a smaller and typically more volatile series) rose 25.3%, in the Australian Capital Territory rose 3.0% and in Tasmania rose 4.6%

  

In March 2023 in seasonally adjusted terms for investor housing, the value of new loan commitments:

  • in Queensland rose 7.7%, in Victoria rose 3.7%, in the Australian Capital Territory (a smaller and typically more volatile series) rose 19.0%, in Western Australia rose 3.5%, in New South Wales rose 0.4% and in the Northern Territory rose 1.4%
  • in South Australia fell 3.8% and in Tasmania (a smaller and typically more volatile series) fell 10.9%

In March 2023, in original terms:

  • the value of new variable rate loan commitments funded in the month rose 24.5% ($9.4b)
  • the value of new variable rate loan commitments to first home buyers funded in the month rose 27.9% ($591m)
  • the value of new fixed rate loan commitments funded in the month rose 28.0% ($610m)
  • the value of new fixed rate loan commitments to first home buyers funded in the month rose 62.3% ($124m)
  1. A loan is considered funded once any portion of the funds is made available for the borrower to draw down according to the terms of the contract. This will occur after there is a borrower-accepted commitment to provide finance. Due to this timing difference, the value of loans funded in the month shown in this graph will generally not reconcile with the value of new borrower-accepted commitments for the month shown in the other graphs and download tables.
  2. Total fixed rate and total variable rate housing loans include their respective first home buyer loan components

In March 2023 in original terms, average loan sizes for owner-occupier dwellings (including construction, purchase of new dwellings and existing dwellings):

  • fell at the national level from $586k to $577k but was 20.2% higher compared to the pre-pandemic average seen in February 2020
  • fell in New South Wales from $727k to $711k and in Victoria from $618k to $591k
  1. Please note that while the series graphed above are joined between the available data points, there may be missing data points in between which are not available for publication

First home buyers

In March 2023 in seasonally adjusted terms for owner-occupier first home buyers, the number of new loan commitments:

  • at the national level rose 15.8% to 8,128, after a fall of 4.2% in February. It remained 21.8% lower compared to a year ago and 50.5% lower than the January 2021 high.
  • in New South Wales rose 18.0%, in Victoria rose 10.7%, in Queensland rose 13.7%, in Western Australia rose 12.4%, in South Australia rose 17.1%,  in Tasmania rose 9.0% and in the Northern Territory rose 2.9%
  • in the Australian Capital Territory (a smaller and typically more volatile series) fell 14.2%

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 (original), number

 First home buyer loan commitments
Number
First home buyer ratio
Dwellings (a)
First home buyer ratio
Housing (b)
Total Australia8 50731.8%27.0%
New South Wales2 03830.4%25.4%
Victoria2 35833.9%28.8%
Queensland1 87930.6%26.1%
South Australia54927.3%22.4%
Western Australia1 25935.5%31.6%
Tasmania15429.5%24.8%
Northern Territory7135.3%31.7%
Australian Capital Territory19929.1%26.9%
  1. Dwellings includes loan commitments for construction of dwellings, purchase of newly erected dwellings and purchase of existing dwellings.
  2. Housing includes loan commitments for dwellings, purchase of residential land and for alterations and additions.

  

Data downloads

Housing Finance - Total

Data files

   

Housing Finance - Owner-occupiers

Data files

   

Housing Finance - Investors

Data files

  

Housing Finance - First home buyers

Data files

    

Table 26. Households; Housing finance; Non-residents; New loan commitments; Numbers and values

Data files