Garry Shilson-Josling, AAP Economist
(Australian Associated Press)
The amount of money Australia’s home owners owe their banks rose above $1 trillion for the first time in April.
In percentage terms, the rise in the value of outstanding home loans since March was only a modest 0.5 per cent, but it lifted the annual growth rate to a five-year high of 7.4 per cent.
And it lifted the total of owner-occupier housing debt held by Australian lenders to $1.005 trillion in April from $998.8 billion in March.
The seasonally adjusted figures from the Reserve Bank of Australia on Tuesday showed the value of home-owner debt is now eight times its level of 21 years ago.
From $124 billion in January 1995 it doubled to $248 billion July 2001, then to a smidgin under $500 billion by March 2006, before topping $1 trillion in April this year.
While home loans are still growing strongly, lending to housing investors has slowed.
Investor housing loans totalled $551 million in April, a rise of 0.3 per cent, the RBA figures showed.
The last time a smaller increase in investor loans was recorded was in May 2009.
Annual growth in investor housing loans has now slowed to 6.5 per cent, from 10.9 per cent a year ago, against the background of stern warnings from the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority that lenders should restrict annual growth in their investor housing loan books to no more than 10 per cent.
The credit figures from the RBA also showed non-housing business loans posting a solid gain of 0.8 per cent in April.
Annual growth in business credit came in at 7.4 per cent, its fastest pace since January 2009, well up from the 5.0 per cent pace of a year earlier and three times the 2.8 per cent growth rate the year before that.