New figures show that property investors are leading the way when it comes to housing finance. According to the ABS, housing finance saw an increase of 4.7% in December.
Of that, $18 billion went to owner-occupiers, which was up 3.8 per cent during the month, whereas new lending for investors surged 6 per cent to $12.6 billion. Industry experts say they haven't seen this kind of demand for home loans since October 2009.
CommSec economist Savanth Sebastian said the great news about this data was the record $2.92 billion borrowed in December for the construction of new homes.
"Housing is always a function of demand and supply and the upcoming lift in the new supply of homes will lead to slower growth of home prices and reduced interest by investors," he wrote in a note on the figures.
These results also came before the RBA interest rate cut, so there is a good chance that the housing sector will see another lift in activity during 2015 due to the most recent rate cut. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, 6,258 home loans were taken out in December to build a new dwelling, which was up 0.8 per cent from November, while 2,750 were taken out to fund the purchase of a newly built residence.
Although these figures may be good news for some in the property industry, it is not great news for first home buyers. The Real Estate Industry of Australia finds these results disappointing for first home buyers. REIA CEO Amanda Lynch finds the lack of first home buyer activity concerning.
The figures shows first home buyer levels stand at 14.5 per cent for December. The figure is the lowest since May 2004 and shows a steady decline since May 2012."
Amanda Lynch also believes that the RBA rate cut was the right move for the current housing market: “The December 2014 lending figures indicate a moderating market. With moderating housing lending and GDP growth below trend, inflation well within the RBA’s decision to cut interest rates at the February meeting was appropriate."