New residential mortgage lending hit $4.9 billion last month, its highest level since last March and a 7.2 per cent increase on October last year, according to the Reserve Bank.

Mortgages with a loan-to-value ratio above 80 per cent made up 8.5 per cent of the total, or 7.1 per cent when those which are exempt from the Reserve Bank's LVR restrictions are excluded.

While that is down slightly from the 7.3 per cent recorded in September, it is the second-highest ratio this year but well within the Reserve Bank's requirement that no more than 10 per cent of new lending be at LVRs above 80 per cent.

Borrowing by first-home buyers, the group hardest hit by the LVR regime, made up just 9.5 per cent of the new lending, down from 10 per cent in September and 9.7 per cent in August.


However, three-quarters of the loans to first-home borrowers were at LVRs below the 80 per cent threshold.

Investors accounted for 29 per cent of the new lending, which is in line with the proportion of households who rent and unchanged from the previous two months. Almost all - 96 per cent - of the loans to investors were at LVRs below 80 per cent. Owner-occupiers not buying their first home accounted for the lion's share of the borrowing, 60 per cent, as in September, and 92 per cent of those loans fell below the 80 per cent LVR threshold.