The housing market continued to cool in June, according to just-released Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) data.

Banks issued 14,952 new mortgages, worth $6.1 billion, in June. This was 43 per cent fewer mortgages, worth 29 per cent less, than those issued in June 2021.

While the fall is significant, it's worth noting new mortgage lending surged from mid-2020 through 2021 on the back of record-low interest rates. So, the fall came from a very high base.

The value of new mortgage lending in June this year was 13 per cent higher than it was in June 2020, and 11 per cent higher than it was in June 2019.

As for the number of new mortgage commitments, 14,952 is the lowest for a June since the RBNZ started collecting this data in 2013. There have been fewer new commitments in other months on a handful of occasions.

At $405,029, the average size of new mortgages written in June was $77,711 above the same month the previous year.

As for who did the borrowing, 63 per cent of new lending went to owner-occupiers, 18 per cent to first-home buyers, 17 per cent to investors and the remainder to businesses.

This divide has been fairly consistent since around May 2021 when the RBNZ tightened loan-to-value ratio (LVR) restrictions for investors. These restrictions, which were temporarily removed in 2020, require most investors to have deposits of at least 40 per cent.

When the RBNZ tightened LVR restrictions for owner-occupiers in November 2021, there was some concern first-home buyers would be squeezed out of the market.

Indeed, new high-LVR lending (lending to people with small deposits) dropped off. It disproportionately affected first-home buyers to begin with, but first-home buyers secured a decent portion of new high-LVR lending in June (29 per cent).

Towards the end of June, the country's major banks announced they were either temporarily halting or curtailing new high-LVR lending.

The extent to which these moves are restricting mortgage lending is yet to be seen.

Higher mortgages rates and an update to consumer lending rules (the Credit Contracts and Consumer Finance Act) are the among the factors slowing the housing market.

Source:NZ Herald

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