Investors drive record January

Investor levels are at a six-year high as activity reaches over 50 per cent in New South Wales, according to new data.

According to AFG's Monthly Mortgage Index, investor activity as a proportion of all home loans processed in NSW reached an all-time high in January.

At 53.4 per cent, investor levels in the state are the highest in the six years AFG has been running its index.

Overall, the home loan market was very strong in the first month of the year with AFG recording its best ever January, processing over $2.58 billion of home loans - an increase of 14 per cent on January 2013.

After a strong start to the year, AFG general manager of sales and operations Mark Hewitt said he expects volumes to increase in the next few months.

“With most people expecting the historically low rates to remain with us for much of the year, we’re preparing for even higher levels of activity now that people are getting back to work from the summer holidays,” he said.

The AFG data also shows a jump in the proportion of first home buyers - up from 10.2 per cent in December to 11.8 per cent in January.

This rise was mainly driven by a resurgence in Victoria, from 8.7 per cent in December to 11.2 per cent in January, as well as a rise in WA, where first home buyers grew from 21.8 per cent in December to 24.2 per cent of all new home loans in January.

The AFG data highlighted the division between states offering grants versus those that don’t, with South Australia first home buyers comprising 15.5 per cent of all buyers, while in Queensland this proportion was 6.5 per cent and in NSW 3.4 per cent.

Meanwhile, the major banks reclaimed some market share from the non-majors in January, writing 76 per cent of all loans in January compared to 73.6 per cent in December.

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