CHARTS: Most Australian investors are buying, not building, houses

In 2015 the value of new lending to Australian housing investors swelled to $154.8 billion, up from $140.9 billion in 2014.

It was the largest calendar year increase on record, following the previous record set just one year before.

As the chart below reveals, of the $154.8 billion lent to investors, some $143.7 billion, or 92.8%, was to purchase an existing property.

While lending to housing investors to construct new dwellings also hit a record high, at $11.1 billion, it represented just 7.2% of all new lending for housing investment.

In rolling annualised terms, lending to investors to purchase an existing dwelling has not fallen below 90% of the total amount lent to investors since October 2003.

Up until December 1987, over half of new lending to housing investors was for the construction of new dwellings. The change in the composition of lending to new and existing property investment, shown in the chart below, coincided with the decision by the then Hawke government to reinstate the use of negative gearing following its abolition in July 1985.

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