The number of first-home buyers has continued to rise but investors have retreated from the property market, official home loan approvals figures show.

The total value of new home loan approvals rose 2.3 per cent to $33.5 billion in November. The market had expected a 0.2 per cent fall.

Home loans approved for owner-occupiers rose 2.7 per cent in value to $21.3 billion, the Australian Bureau of Statistics data shows, while the value in investor loans increased 1.5 per cent to $12.2 billion.

The number of first home buyer commitments as a percentage of total owner occupied housing finance commitments rose to 18.0 per cent, up from 17.6 per cent in October.

The ABS said the number of loans to first-home buyers has recorded strong growth in recent months thanks to changes to first home buyer incentives by the NSW and Victorian governments that came into effect in July.

ANZ senior economist Daniel Gradwell said tighter lender restrictions on loans to investors were also behind the increase in the number of mortgages to first-home buyers.

“The policy and regulatory changes of the last 12 months are still being felt, with investors accounting for a smaller share of the market, and first-home buyers increasingly able to enter the market,” he said.

“The data also continue to imply a positive outlook for new home building approvals and dwelling investment, rounding off a strong overall report.”

The number of dwelling commitments rose 2.1 per cent in November, seasonally adjusted, with those for new dwellings up 2.6 per cent.


By Petrina Berry