Household borrowing grows at slowest rate in five months

Household borrowing grows at slowest rate in five months

The level of household borrowing grew at its slowest rate in five months in December, according to new Reserve Bank figures.

The figures show that 'household claims', which couple together mortgage and consumer borrowing, grew at 0.4% on a seasonally-adjusted basis in the month.

That's down from the consistent 0.5% increases seen from August onwards. The rate of growth in borrowing had generally been increasing since the start of 2012, though was nothing like the monthly increases of as much as 1.5% seen in the early to mid-2000s as the housing boom took hold.

The Reserve Bank was known to have been concerned about the increasing rate of borrowing, however. And the latest dip in borrowing might be a reflection of the impact of the RBNZ's "speed limits" on high loan-to-value lending put in place from October onwards.

Interestingly, the separate figures for consumer borrowing show a sharp spike in December. These figures are not seasonally-adjusted so could reflect Christmas spending - though other recent years have not seen such a similar rise.

One perceived outcome from the LVR limits has been an anticipation that at least some would-be house buyers would attempt to get funds from sources other than bank mortgages.

Figures released by the RBNZ earlier in the week showed that in December banks' high-LVR lending had dropped to just 4.7% of their new commitments, a level well below the 10% they are required to meet.

Total household claims in December were $202.397 billion, up from $201.563 billion in November. The annualised rate of increase in the borrowing was 5.7%, a similar rate of increase to that seen in recent months.

The biggest part of the household claims figure is made up from mortgage borrowing, with the total figure rising to $188.279 billion in December from $187.675 billion in November. This give a year-on-year increase of 5.9%, the same as it was the previous month.

Consumer debt spiked to $14.118 billion from $13.888 billion. The year-on-year increase, at 3%, was the highest seen since September 2008.

Elsewhere, agricultural borrowing stood at $51.848 billion, little changed but slightly down from $51.872 billion in November. The annualised growth rate of agricultural borrowing slowed to 3.4% in December from 3.5% in November.

Business borrowing also eased slightly to $79.028 billion from $79.242 billion, with the year-on-year increase declining to 3.5% from 3.9%..

We welcome your help to improve our coverage of this issue. Any examples or experiences to relate? Any links to other news, data or research to shed more light on this? Any insight or views on what might happen next or what should happen next? Any errors to correct?

We welcome your comments below. If you are not already registered, please register to comment.

Remember we welcome robust, respectful and insightful debate. We don't welcome abusive or defamatory comments and will de-register those repeatedly making such comments. Our current comment policy is here.

4 Comments

Comment Filter

Highlight new comments in the last hr(s).

Interesting combination, slowing borrowing & rising interest rates. 

As you posted elsewhere.
" Oh well never mind tenants just have to pay more rent now. Its a tough life with all this scaremongering, someone always pays."
 
Here's to my total shareholder return courtesy of the banks.
Someone always pays.

Might be an indication on how much banks depend on high LVR borrowers to grow their loan books.

Firstly, the RBNZ data is the sum of the returns from regulated banks and regulated non-banks. It is for interest-bearing debt in the banking system. The RBNZ does not regulate government 'social' programs.
 
Secondly, I don't know of any 'regional' splits for lending in the RBNZ data. The RBNZ does not publish any and I actually doubt they collect such data. Each bank may have it but they probably define 'regions' differently between them - there will be a lot of institutional history involved. Apart from it being interesting to people like me, I doubt the regulatory purpose. Probably the Government would have more of an interest. And there may be better ways to assess that from the publicv policy point-of-view.
 
(the other 'David')