RBA hints more tightening to come in the housing market

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Despite indicating a sense of satisfaction with the moderation in house price growth and mortgage lending in its Financial Stability Review (FSR) released twice a year, the Reserve Bank of Australia emphasised the possibility of more tightening to come.

"Given that some ADIs have continued to phase in the tightening required by the regulators, some further falls in the share of high-LVR lending and interest-only lending in the period ahead could be expected," the FSR said.

RBA highlighted that it is still monitoring the housing market balance risks in some sub-markets. It also noted that while recent homebuyers are reaping the benefits of last year's lending changes as they are in a better position to withstand potential shocks, existing mortgage shareholders are in a better financial position because of low interest rates and solid employment growth.

"Mortgage buffers (are now) equivalent to more than 2 ½ years of scheduled repayments at current interest rates," the review said.

RBA also continues to monitor the impact of weaker economic conditions in some markets on mortgage delinquencies. According to its report, "Public disclosures by the major banks indicate that arrears on housing loans are higher in Queensland and Western Australia than in the rest of the country."

RBA's FSR also included a commentary about the risks to the strong release in Chinese buyer purchases of Australian housing, referring to the recent 2014 to 2015 update from the Foreign Investment Review Board. The Bank warned that the presence of these buyers in Sydney and Melbourne could increase the volatility of the property market in Australia.

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