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Commercial lending stabilises in January

 

Lending to businesses and property investors remained steady in January following a significant fall in December, while the value of new home loans to owner-occupiers lifted 0.5 per cent.

Commercial lending totalled $43 billion in January, in line with December's total, which was down almost six per cent from November, according to seasonally adjusted figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Home loan commitments to owner-occupiers rose 0.5 per cent in January to $21.2 billion, close to November's three year peak.

According to CommSec, all new lending commitments, which takes in housing, personal and commercial loans and lease finance, rose 0.5 per cent in January to $71.5 billion, and are up 6.1 per cent from a year earlier.

All housing finance was 4.4 per cent higher than a year earlier.

That reflects a consolidation of overall lending in the housing sector after the impact of the Australian Prudential Regulatory Authority's March intervention in the home loan market, directed largely at investors.

Personal loan commitments were 4.5 per cent higher in January at $6.1 billion, the strongest growth rate in 18 months, according to CommSec senior economist Ryan Felsman.

Fixed lending rose 2.3 per cent, and within that component, loans to buy blocks of land hit a fresh high of $8.1 billion for the year to January.

Lease financing commitments - where a financier buys an asset on behalf of the borrower and then leases it for a fixed monthly payment - fell 6.1 per cent to $553 million in January, after a jump of 8.7 per cent in December.