Master Builders Australia said new dwelling construction finance was a standout, up 2.1 per cent in April.QUEENSLAND is leading the charge when it comes to growth in owner-occupier loan numbers, logging a 6.5 per cent rise over the three months to April as investors begin backing off on housing.Latest Australian Bureau of Statistics housing finance figures found five of the eight states and territories had seen a lift in owner occupier loans numbers, but Queensland was by far the top performance.The result was stronger than the same period a year earlier, with Tasmania second strongest (+5.3 per cent), followed by Victoria (+3.7 per cent), South Australia (+2.6 per cent), and New South Wales (+2.2 per cent). The Northern Territory had the largest fall (-27.2 per cent), followed by the ACT (-18.8 per cent) and Western Australia (-11.9 per cent).HIA senior economist Geordan Murray said loans to owner-occupiers buying ready-built new homes declined by 3 per cent in April, but quarterly figures were 6 per cent higher than the same time last year.“This part of the home loan market is being affected by volatility due to the timing of apartment completions and settlements. This is likely to be a consistent theme over the remainder of the year.” More from newsMould, age, not enough to stop 17 bidders fighting for this home4 hours agoBuyers ‘crazy’ not to take govt freebies, says 28-yr-old investor4 hours agoHIA expects detached house building demand to remain robust.She said HIA’s view was that demand for detached house builders would likely “remain robust throughout the next phase of the cycle”.“The number of construction loans to owner-occupiers increased by 2.1 per cent in the month, and the number of such loans during the three months to April 2017 is 1.9 per cent higher than it was a year earlier.”Master Builders Australia national manager housing Matthew Pollock said finance commitments for construction of new dwellings was a standout, up 2.1 per cent in April nationally.He expected “growing volatility in the statistics as the housing sector passes the current peak”.ABS data showed investor lending fell 2.3 per cent in April seasonally adjusted, but the Reserve Bank was likely to wait and see if investors really did back off and stay off.RateCity’s money editor, Sally Tindall, said investors were getting the message to back off.“There’s good chance we’ll see a further reduction in investor activity in the coming months however the real question is whether it will stick,” Ms Tindall said. “Last time APRA cracked down on investor lending we saw an immediate drop in the figures but the numbers started climbing back up within six months.”She said refinancing had also dropped by 4.4 per cent in April and 17.8 per cent over the year.“We saw a rise in March when the banks all hiked their rates out of cycle but the numbers of refinancers have fallen away once again. The average mortgage holder could save over $2,500 a year by switching to one of the lowest lenders on the market and over $70,000 over the life of a 30 year loan. That’s not pocket change we’re talking about,” she said.