The number of mortgages granted to property investors and other lenders in the Australian market dropped to its lowest level for six months in October 2017, new data shows.
According to figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), the level of housing finance granted fell by 3.6 per cent over the last month to reach $32.5 billion, recording its lowest level since April.
The total value of loans awarded to owner-occupiers fell by 2.1 per cent during October. This placed growth in owner-occupier loans for the year as a whole at 13.3 per cent, down from the level of 17.1 per cent that it stood at in August 2017.
In addition, the value of owner-occupier refinancing also fell last month, by two per cent. This placed the monthly total at $5.89 billion and meant the overall decrease for the past year came in at 14.1 per cent.
A decline in the number of loans awarded to property investors was recorded for October as well, with these dropping by 6.2 per cent to settle at a total value of $11.837 billion.
However, it wasn't all bad news for Australian housing finance last month, as October saw 17.4 per cent more first-time buyers awarded owner-occupier loans.
The ABS attributed much of this increase to government measures introduced in New South Wales and Victoria to improve housing affordability for first-time buyers.
Westpac released a report analysing the data, in which it stated: "Overall, the update brings the financial approval data more in line with the clear slowing signal already evident from turnover, auction markets and prices.
"For investors, a further pullback is likely in the months ahead depending on the extent to which loan activity has been supported by refinancing."