Home mortgage lending falls to record low

Barack Obama has rejected requests by GM and Chrysler for more
bailout money and told them to come back with new plans within 2
months or go bankrupt. GM’s CEO was told to resign by Obama. GM owns
Holden here. It’s likely the Australian government would intervene to
ensure Holden doesn’t collapse.Don’t buy a Chrysler or a Holden any
time soon. The FTSE 100 fell 2% on fears about a GM bankruptcy.

2. Bank and non-bank home mortgage lending grew NZ3 million in the
month of February to NZ2.379 billion, meaning the growth rate from
the same month a year ago fell to a record low (since the series began
in 1999) of 3.4%, RBNZ stats show. The fresh mortgage lending in
February was roughly a fifth of that lent in February in each of the
last 5 years. The growth in February from January was also
significantly lower than that seen in the last five years. Growth in
February 2004 was NZ.106 billion, while it was NZ.245 billion in
February 2005, NZ5 million in February 2006, NZ.480 billion in
February 2007 and NZ.241 billion in February 2008. Some real estate
market observers had pointed to a sharp rise in housing approvals in
February and March and an apparent rebound in sales volumes as a sign
lower interest rates were firing up bank lending again. Apparently
not.

3. Banks and non-banks grew lending to farmers by NZ1 million in
February to NZ.069 billion, meaning growth from the same month a
year ago was a stonking 22.3%, figures from RBNZ show. Farm lending
has grown NZ.046 billion in the last year, which is 51% more than
the extra NZ.325 billion lent to home owners in the last year. This
will fuel fears of a bubble developing in farm property, although some
of this will be financing for dairy inventory being built up by
Fonterra at the peak of the season. Meanwhile lending to non-farm
businesses fell by NZ million in February to NZ.931 billion,
which dragged the annual growth rate down to 10.9%. These figures
suggest bank reassurances that their doors are open and they are
lending to small businesses, manufacturers and medium sized businesses
may be an exaggeration.