The value of household lending excluding refinancing fell 5.9 per cent in December, dragged down by an 8.2 per cent plunge in the number of owner-occupier lending commitments.
The value of home loans to owner occupiers fell 6.4 per cent in the month and 16.2 per cent for the year to December to $12.495 billion, according to seasonally adjusted figures released on Tuesday by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
The number of owner-occupier commitments fell 8.2 per cent to 32,102, taking the annual decline to 14.4 per cent.
Including refinancing, total owner-occupier lending commitments still fell 6.1 per cent in the month to 48,690.
Investor appetite also continued to wane in the aftermath of regulator-led restrictions by banks on the availability of credit, with the value of investor lending dropping 4.6 per cent in the month and 27.8 per cent over the year.
BIS Oxford Economics managing director Robert Mellor said the total value of new investor lending for housing had plummeted 42 per cent since its early 2017 peak.
“Combined, the slowing in demand from both owner-occupiers and investors reinforces weaker consumer confidence in the property market and confirms the slowing is across the board – not just among investors but also upgraders and first-home buyers,” Mr Mellor said.
First-home buyers – regularly touted as potential beneficiaries of the ongoing property market correction in major east coast cities – were only marginally less afflicted by December’s malaise than other demographics.
The number of lending commitments to first-home buyers fell 9.6 per cent in the month to just 8,476, 12.6 per cent lower than a year earlier.