Lending by National Australia Bank to first-home buyers has hit a new record high, although buyer enthusiasm for regional properties has slowed compared to last year’s rapid growth.

NAB says its lending to market newcomers in the first four months of the year surged 67% on 2020, with April being the peak.

It also says lending is up 9% on the final four months of 2020, when buyers started to re-enter the market in force, although lending for regional properties eased off by 4% as outer metro suburbs became the clear preference of more buyers.

Activity is also returning to inner-city apartments, where prices are relatively subdued following pandemic lockdowns last year.

NAB executive for home ownership Andy Kerr says the level of first-home buyer activity is uniquely high. But he says the demand, which has prompted the national median price to lift more than 10% in the past year, is causing problems for some aspiring home-owners.”