Household lending rises in February: ABS

New figures released by the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) have revealed the value of new lending commitments to households rose 2.6 per cent in February 2019.

The February rise followed on from a fall of 2.3 in January.

According to ABS Chief Economist, Bruce Hockman, despite the activity, the longer term story is largely unchanged with new lending to households remaining subdued and well down on levels seen over the past five years.

“Lending for owner occupier dwellings in New South Wales is a good example of this broader story, with the series still down over 20 per cent from the peak of lending in August 2017, even after recording an 8.2 per cent monthly rise in lending commitments in February,” he said.

At the national level, the value of lending for owner occupier dwellings rose 3.4 per cent in February, while lending for investment dwellings recorded a more modest rise of 0.9 per cent.

The number of loans to owner occupier first home buyers rose 1.8 per cent, slightly outpacing the rise in the number of loans to owner occupier non-first home buyers (up 1.6 per cent).

Both series though remain well below February 2018.

Lending to households for personal finance rose 0.4 per cent in February after a 1.2 per cent rise in January.

While this is the first back-to-back increase in lending for personal finance since late 2017, the components of this lending generally linked to household consumption remained relatively weak.

In trend terms, the value of new lending commitments to businesses fell 2.4 per cent in February with weakness across most business lending categories.

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