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Australia's housing loans continue recovering amid rate cuts, eased rules

The mortgage market in Australia continued with its modest recovery in November 2019, as recent policy rate cuts and easing measures attracted more owner-occupiers to the property market despite slow economic growth.

As of end-November 2019, housing loans to households totaled A$1.737 trillion, up from A$1.732 trillion as of end-October, according to data from the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority released Jan. 2. The November figure was also the highest since end-March 2019 when the current data series began.

The growth has been mainly driven by loans to owner-occupiers, which rose to A$1.094 trillion as of end-November from A$1.088 trillion as of end-October. Meanwhile, loans to property investors fell slightly to A$643.53 billion from A$643.60 billion during the same period.

While the recent bushfires may impact buyer sentiment, the Reserve Bank of Australia has signaled there may be further easing if the economy needs more boost. The central bank cut policy rates three times to a record low of 0.75% in 2019.

Also, the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority scrapped a floor lending rate of 7% in July 2019 for banks in assessing residential mortgage applications, which is seen as contributing to the recovery of mortgage demand.

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