More than $14.5 billion worth of outstanding home loans were past due in the March quarter, which is up more than 10% in the previous quarter, and the highest since APRA's publication began five years ago.

More than $5.8 billion worth of mortgages became 'non performing' in the March quarter, up from $4.8 billion the previous quarter. 

The most material jump was seen with loans secured against units or apartments, at nearly $3 billion - nearly 9% higher than the previous quarter, and the highest since September 2021.

The ratio of non-performing loans to the wider mortgage market is still quite low, however, at 0.86% - the highest since June 2021, yet still line-ball with pre-Covid figures. 

Quarter-to-quarter, there was nearly $1 billion extra in interest-only loans outstanding, to hit $238.622 billion, which is the highest level since June 2021.

That said, the growth in outstanding interest-only loans was driven by investors, as there was a decline in outstanding IO loans for owner occupiers.

This reflects a general bounce back in new investment lending over the past few months. 

The weighted average mortgage rate with the 3% serviceability buffer applied was 9.3% - the highest since APRA's publication began in March 2019.

Consequently, lending to borrowers with debt-to-income ratios above six-times has come sharply off the boil, to $6.66 billion - the peak was $40.6 billion in December 2021.

Making sense of the conflicting data

Money parked in offset accounts continued to climb, reaching $271.7 billion in the March quarter - a new record. 

For every $9 in a loan, there is $1 in an offset account.

The ABS' household savings ratio is at 0.9%, which is a GFC-like level, but this does not encompass cash savings such as offsets - rather a measurement of income versus outgoings.

Despite the headwinds noted above, dwelling values continue to climb; CoreLogic had the national median dwelling value at nearly $786,000 in May 2024.

This is 0.8% higher over the month, and 8.3% higher than a year ago. 

The ABS pegged the total value of Australian dwelling stock at $10.72 trillion as of the March quarter - a new record.

SQM Research says renewed vendor confidence saw listings rise by 5.5% in May; asking prices also rose by 1.6%.

All up there were nearly 253,000 listings nationally in May, up from a touch less than 240,000 in April. 

Nationally, there has been an 11.7% rise in listings. However in the hottest property markets - Brisbane, Adelaide, and Perth - there have been declines in listings by 0.8%, 7.9%, and 23.4% respectively.

There could be cases of hot property markets masking the softness seen in other capital cities; weak construction levels are also unable to match the demand.

SQM Research managing director Louis Christopher said we are in a Goldilocks type of property environment.

"The market is simply back to more normal, historical listing levels, notwithstanding the deep shortages in Perth, Brisbane and Adelaide," he said.

"Asking prices also continue to rise, albeit at a moderate pace for our larger capital cities.

"Overall, this feels like very much like we have entered into a normal, unremarkable period for the national housing market. One that is not too hot, nor too cold."

CoreLogic listings data also points to a two-speed national housing market, with the firm's head of research Eliza Owen saying the buoyancy all comes down to supply and demand.

"On the demand side, lower price points across Perth, Adelaide and parts of Brisbane continue to drive buyers, even under high interest rates. Interstate migration remains particularly strong in Queensland and WA, and income relative to home values is also more reasonably matched in Perth," she said.

"On the supply side, there has been more of a build up in new listings than usual across Victoria, even where home value performance has been relatively soft. Victoria has also had more dwellings completed than any other state and territory in the past ten years, keeping a lid on price growth."

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