Dwelling value growth has slowed as demand from investor’s falls; is this just a coincidence or does it highlight just how reliant the housing market has become on demand from the investor segment?

Over the past five years, dwelling values nationally have increased by 39.3% largely driven by Sydney and Melbourne where values have increased by a much larger amount.  Similarly, over the most recent five years investors have committed to housing finance commitments totalling $695.6 billion.  

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At their peak in May 2015, investors accounted for 54.8% of new (excluding refinances) mortgage demand which was an historic high.  With investor demand now slowing, falling a further -6.2% in September 2017 and dwelling values falling in the most investor-centric city (Sydney), what impact is the investor slowdown going to have on the broader housing market?  To try and determine, we shall take a look at investor housing demand across each state and territory.

NSW 

At their peak in May 2015, investors accounted for 63.6% of new mortgage demand which has since fallen to 50.3% in September 2017, its lowest proportion since December 2015 and well below its five year average of 55.6% of new mortgage commitments.

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Vic

investors currently account for 43.2% of new mortgage demand which is well down from the May 2015 peak of 54.7% and below the five year average of 46.9%.

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Qld

Investor activity peaked all the way back in 2007 when investors comprised 49.3% of mortgage demand.  Investors currently account for 34.3% of new mortgage lending which is lower than the five year average of 40.8%.

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SA

Investor activity peaked at 47.5% of new mortgage lending in June 2015 and has reduced to 36.9% in September 2017.  Over the past five years, investors have accounted for an average of 39.8% of new mortgage lending each month.

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WA 

Investor participation peaked all the way back in December 2008 at 49.8% of new mortgage lending.  Over the past five years, investors have averaged 38.1% of new mortgage lending and were recorded at 33.6% in September 2017.

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Tas

Over the past five years, investors have averaged 30.3% of new mortgage demand in the state while in September 2017 investors accounted for a slightly higher 33.3% of new mortgage demand.

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NT

After peaking at 61.5% of new mortgage demand in June 2014, investors have slumped to just 34.1% of demand in September 2017 which is much lower than the five year average of 49.2%.

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ACT

Investors currently account for 38.2% of new mortgage demand which is lower than the five year average of 43.0% and much lower than the historic high of 50.4% all the way back in June 2000.

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The data shows that as mortgage demand from investors, particularly in NSW, has slowed, so too has the rate of value growth.  In fact, Sydney dwelling values are now falling as investor demand continues to fade. Melbourne has also seen value growth slow although not to the same magnitude as Sydney however, investor participation over recent years in Vic has not been as significant as in NSW.  Outside of NSW and Vic, investors have not been the most significant source of new mortgage housing demand over recent years.

A similar trend was evident when credit conditions were tightened after the first round of APRA’s macroprudential policy changes through 2015 and early 2016.

With investor demand continuing to reduce due to tighter credit conditions, low yields and affordability constraints, it is reasonable to expect that this will have the greatest impact on NSW housing markets followed by those in Vic.  Elsewhere, the changing landscape may slow markets a little but other states and territories have largely seen demand over recent years driven by owner occupiers.  If anything, the lack of value growth in these market, superior affordability and less demand from investors may make buying conditions slightly more favourable for owner occupiers.