Aussie investors engage in housing tug-of-war


On Thursday, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) released credit aggregates data for February, which revealed that the growth in the stock of mortgage credit grew by only 0.4% over the month to 1.1% higher over the quarter.

Owner-occupier credit (1.3%) continues to grow significantly faster than investor credit (0.7%).

In the year to February, overall mortgage credit outstanding grew by 4.2%, with owner-occupier debt (4.8%) growing significantly faster than outstanding investor debt (3.0%):


The next chart from Justin Fabo at Antipodean Macro presents the same data in monthly annualised terms and shows that investor mortgage credit growth has faded and is lagging way behind owner-occupier mortgage growth:


Interestingly, separate ABS data on new mortgage commitments shows that investor mortgages were growing at a 20% annual rate in January, easily eclipsing the growth in new owner-occupier mortgages:

New investor mortgages

Google searches for “investment property” have also boomed, hitting their highest level since 2017, according to Justin Fabo:

Google searches for investment properties

The above data suggests that existing investors leaving the market and paying off their mortgages are counteracting the strong growth in new property investors entering the market.

Put another way, investors’ retirement of existing mortgage debt is offsetting the creation of new mortgage debt.


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About the author
Leith van Onselen is Chief Economist at the MB Fund and MB Super. He is also a co-founder of MacroBusiness. Leith has previously worked at the Australian Treasury, Victorian Treasury and Goldman Sachs.