Bank and non-bank home mortgage lending grew NZ$293 million in the month of February to NZ$162.379 billion, meaning the growth rate from the same month a year ago fell to a record low (since the series began in 1999) of 3.4%, RBNZ stats show. The fresh mortgage lending in February was roughly a fifth of that lent in February in each of the last 5 years. The growth in February from January was also significantly lower than that seen in the last five years. Growth in February 2004 was NZ$1.106 billion, while it was NZ$1.245 billion in February 2005, NZ$845 million in February 2006, NZ$1.480 billion in February 2007 and NZ$1.241 billion in February 2008. Some real estate market observers had pointed to a sharp rise in housing approvals in February and March and an apparent rebound in sales volumes as a sign lower interest rates were firing up bank lending again. Apparently not.