According to the latest data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, home loans to owner-occupiers in Australia fell 7.3% in January 2015 while those approved to investors increased by 1.6%.

The figures also showed the number of loans to owner-occupiers for new build homes fell by 5.3% and the number of loans to owner-occupiers buying re-sale homes (excluding refinancing) declined by 7.9%.

Housing Industry Association economist, Geordan Murray said: “Lending figures indicate that the investor market performed a little stronger. Lending to investors building or constructing new homes, however, was slightly weaker during the month but remained markedly stronger than this time a year ago.”

In December, the Australian Prudential Regulatory Authority (APRA) sent a letter to lending institutions announcing their intention to increase their supervision of mortgage lending, especially in the areas of high loan-to-value loans, lending to investors and mortgage affordability.

“It is too early to determine whether APRA’s communication has had an impact in January,” added Murray. “It will be interesting to observe the lending figures over the next few months to see how lenders respond.”