Australia’s biggest home loan lender is confident the housing market will continue to strengthen despite an increase in borrowers asking for mortgage relief in recent months.

CBA says it is receiving almost 2000 calls a week from borrowers feeling the financial strain of the pandemic and lockdowns, and are seeking a reprieve from loan repayments.

Group executive retail banking Angus Sullivan says it has deferred almost 7,000 loans during the most recent lockdowns. About 60 % of the calls for help have been from NSW home-owners, particularly during the two weeks that constructions sites were shut down.

Sullivan says the recent short lockdown in Queensland resulted in a daily spike in calls of 200 per day.

Despite the difficulties faced by many homeowners, CBA predicts housing prices will continue to increase this year, buoyed by ongoing strong demand. It forecasts prices will lift another 3-4% this year and between 7% and 8% in 2022.