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Investors surging despite bank action

By Emma Smith

Article written by Dr Andrew Wilson and published on Domain.com 23/5/17

Residential investor activity continues to surge despite policy initiatives from APRA the financial regulator that have led to higher interest rates and restrictive lending from banks designed to curtail market share from this group.

Latest ABS data reports that national lending to residential investors soared over March, increasing sharply by 27.1 per cent to $13.87bn. All states recorded significantly higher levels of investor lending compared to the previous month with NSW clearly the top performer with a remarkable increase of 33.0 per cent.

NSW remains the national engine room for residential investment recording a new March record for lending of $6.91bn that accounted for 49.8 per cent of all lending nationally over the month.

Residential investment lending for all states remained higher over March than that recorded over March last year. The top growth performers over the past year have been Tasmania up by 30.6 per cent, followed by Victoria up by 29.5 per cent and NSW up 22.0 per cent.

Actions by policymakers to manipulate perceived imbalances in the housing market and designed to offset supposed risk can act to impede orderly market adjustments and create more problems than they solve.

Tight rental markets provide the clear opportunity for landlords to pass on higher lending costs to tenants already facing high and rising rents in most capitals. Fewer investors and reduced growth of rental properties is also grim news for tenants in undersupplied rental markets.

And one-size-fits- all policy solutions can restrict investment in underperforming markets and impact economic activity where it is most needed.

Andrew Wilson is Domain Group Chief Economist Twitter@DocAndrewWilson join on LinkedIn and Facebook at MyHousingMarket

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