Australia regulators set to tighten home lending standards

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australia's central bank on Thursday said regulators were considering new steps to rein in lending for housing investment and an initial announcement was likely by the end of the year.

Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) Assistant Governor Malcolm Edey said the aim would be to avoid a run-up in house prices that could potentially spill over into a bust that hurt household wealth and spending.

Edey said the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority, which oversees the banks, had already tightened its oversight of lending but was now considering "turning up the dial" with new measures aimed at borrowing for investment in buy-to-let housing.

"We are discussing with APRA steps that might be taken to reinforce sound lending practices, particularly for investor finance, though not necessarily limited to that," Edey told a Senate inquiry into affordable housing. A preliminary announcement on the steps was likely to come before the end of the year, he added.