The Housing Industry Association (HIA), the voice of the residential building industry reports that lending for new homes to both investors and owner occupiers has eased.

According to ABS housing finance figures, there were 25,639 loans issued to owner occupiers purchasing or constructing a new home in the March 2015 quarter, representing a 4.9 per cent reduction from the level in the previous quarter and also a 4.9 per cent decline from the level in the March 2014 quarter.

ABS figures also indicate that the value of lending to investors in new housing declined during the March quarter (-3.5 per cent), but was still 16.4 per cent higher than a year previously.

According to HIA Economist Diwa Hopkins, the latest ABS figures could be an early sign that new home lending peaked in late 2014. She observes that lower lending rates have been a vital element to new home building activity and are playing a crucial role in supporting the broader domestic economy.

Ms Hopkins adds that a reduction in the excessive and inefficient taxation of new housing relative to existing property would complement this low interest rate environment and drive further growth in investment in new rental as well as owner occupier stock.

The total number of owner occupier loans for new housing in the March 2015 quarter compared with the March 2014 quarter increased in Tasmania (+49.7 per cent) and New South Wales (+2.7 per cent). Declines occurred in South Australia (-14.9 per cent); Western Australia (-10.5 per cent); Victoria (-3.2 per cent) and; Queensland (-0.7 per cent).