The value of new lending commitments to households fell 2.4 per cent in January 2019, seasonally adjusted, according to the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) figures on new lending to households and businesses.
The fall in lending to households in January follows a revised 3.6 per cent monthly fall in December 2018.
ABS Chief Economist, Bruce Hockman said: “Weaker lending for dwellings (-2.1 per cent) again drove much of the overall fall in lending to households, with further falls in lending for investment dwellings (-4.1 per cent) and for owner occupier dwellings (-1.3 per cent) in January.”
“Reflecting the impact of both supply and demand side factors, new lending for dwellings is down over 20 per cent from January 2018, the largest through the year decline since late 2008.”, he said.
This weaker lending activity was evident across the states and territories in January, with new lending for investment dwellings down in all states and territories. Only Queensland and the Northern Territory recorded rises in lending for owner occupier dwellings.
While there was also a fall in the number of loans to owner occupier first home buyers (-0.3 per cent) in January, this was more stable than the 3.2% fall in the number of loans to owner occupier non-first home buyers.
Lending to households for personal finance (up 1.2 per cent) was the only household lending category to record a rise in January, however new lending is down 16.0 per cent compared to January 2018, seasonally adjusted. The value of lending to households for refinancing fell 3.4 per cent.
In trend terms, the value of new lending commitments to businesses fell 1.3 per cent in January, but is up 2.5 per cent from January 2018.